VW Golf 7 is launched in SA

2013-02-03 19:53

PORT ELIZABETH – Ride quality, performance, versatility... the qualities needed to set the benchmark in creating a great hatchback. VW not only sets the bar for premium hatches but raises it with each generation of its Golf.  

Since its launch in 1974 more than 29-million have been sold globally; South Africa has been home to 323 100 sold since its local introduction in 1978. The seventh-generation, first shown at the Paris auto show in 2012, is now here.


The Golf remains instantly recognisable, though discerning which generation you’re viewing is best left to VW aficionados, and the newest version comes, in SA, with a choice of three engines: 1.2 and 1.4 TSI petrol with varying outputs and a two-litre TDI turbodiesel. Each will be offered in three spec levels: Trendline (base), Comfortline and Highline.

In short, the new Golf ticks all the right boxes so it’s sad when you’re left criticising a superb car and struggling to form an opinion another than “it's great but at that price...?”.

The arguably expensive prices and the Volkswagen/Audi group's often repetitive designs (by their own admission) are elephants in the room and before the barrage of comments along the lines of “it’s just a re-badged 6” begins, let’s just settle this once and for all:

a)    Yes, the Golf 7 bears a strong resemblance to the outgoing model. You may (me included) mistake the two from a distance.
b)    No, it is not a “re-badged 6” – far from it, as VW’s popular hatch brings new levels of luxury and refinement usually found in higher market segments.

Image gallery

The new Golf is built on VW’s MCB platform (seen in the 2012 Audi A3) and as a result has grown by 56mm in length (4.2m) over its predecessor with a 59mm longer wheelbase at 2.6m.


The front wheels are 43mm forward, the new model is 13mm wider (1.7m) and 28mm lower at 1.452m. It's shed the wedge shape of the Golf 6 and becomes more elegant with a longer bonnet. I’m not sold on the rear; the angular lines running from the rear lights to the roof give it a trapezoidal shape. The sides sport lines splitting the car into two segments “light and dark” making it appear lower.

Unsurprisingly VW has aimed for evolutionary over revolutionary design. To the undiscerning eye it might appear that not much has changed – and you would be right as design changes are subtle in most areas. As one Wheels24 reader put it “it’s a VW with Audi headlights and front end”.

The trouble is even minor design tweaks here and there require a lot of effort from designers and engineers. As VW designer Andreas Mindt explained: “Many people say we at VW are lazy with design elements. The truth is a lot of work goes into each element to make it ‘new’ yet recognisable as one of our models.

“There’s so much precision and connectivity in the design. Every line is connected. Technology and design work hand-in-hand. To do all this is incredibly hard and the product is really special.”


The entry-level 1.2 TSI, which replaces the 1.6 MPI 75kW, produces 77kW at 5600rpm and 175Nm from 1550-4100rpm. The engine is mated to a six-speed manual and fuel consumption is given as 4.9 litres/100km with CO2 emission of 114g/km. The 1.2, compared to the outgoing 1.6, uses of 2.2 litres/100km less yet will accelerate to 100km/h in 10.2sec and reach 192km/h.

Judging from the comments in the launch preview in January 2013, the numerals 1.2 seem to anger many readers, especially when saddled with a R233 000 price tag. Viewing the engine as a fuel-efficient 77kW unit makes more sense, considering the advancement in engine technology. Judging an engine purely by its displacement is becoming an outdated principle (e.g Ford’s 1.0 eco-boost).

The 1.4 TSI is capable of 90kW at 5000rpm and 200Nm from 1500-4000rpm, drives through a six-speed manual and consumes 5.2 litres/100km with a CO2 emission rating of 120g/km. Fuel consumption is 1.0 litres/100km less than the previous model.

The basic turbocharged version can sprint to 100km/h in 9.3sec and reach 203km/h. A seven-speed DSG gearbox is available as an option which reduces fuel consumption, VW says, to five litres/100km with a CO2 emissions rating of 116g/km CO2.

The 1.4 TSI is, however, also available as a twin-charged that's capable of 103kW and 250Nm (from 1500-3500rpm) which take it to 100km/h in 8.4sec and on to 212km/h. It replaces the 118kW 1.4 TSI and has a combined fuel consumption of 5.3 litres/100 km and CO2 emissions of 121 g/km.

The 2.0 TDI is available in two states of tune: 81kW and 110kW. Peak torque figures are 250Nm and 320Nm respectively.

The 81kW version can manage 4.5 litres/100km (119g/km) and is offered with a five-speed manual, the 110kW 4.5 litres/100km and 119g/km of CO2 with a . six-speed DSG gearbox. The 110kW 2.0 TDI has a top speed of 212 km/h and accelerates to 100 in 8.6sec.

All engines bar the 2.0 TDI 81kW are equipped with stop/start and a battery regeneration mode.


The new model claims a major improvement is ride quality not just in terms of its predecessor but also compared to rivals. It’s far more comfortable and agile courtesy of its wheelbase being stretched by 50mm. There’s a noticeable amount of lean through corners but still the Golf hugs the road superbly. There’s not much driver feedback from the steering.

The Golf doesn’t exactly blow you away but the combination of sprightly engines, superb handling and driver comfort, means the new model will find many happy owners.


Differential lock from the Golf 6 GTI (Standard), high beam light assist from the CC, auto parking assist (now with alley docking) from the Tiguan... VW has filtered its tech down to the Golf.

Standard kit includes aircon, 12.7cm touchscreen, electronic parking brake (with hill-holder), tyre pressure monitor, front power windows, power side mirrors, multifunction leather-wrapped steering wheel, seven airbags and 15” alloy rims.

The Comfortline adds cruise control, under-seat trays, auto headlights and 16” alloy rims. The Highline adds ambient lighting, heatable sport seats, 13.9cm touch screen, eight-speaker audio system, cornering lights, heatable windscreen and 17” alloys.

As you'd expect from VW, there's a host of optional kit, including park assist with rear camera, sunroof, xenon headlights, satnav and leather upholstery.

The new Golf introduces touch-screen displays with proximity sensors (available on the 14.7cm and 20cm displays). When the system detects a finger near the touchscreen, it automatically switches from display to input mode.

It’s not surprising that the interior of the new Golf is conservative despite the upgraded tech and metallic finishes to the controls. Despite its utilitarian feel it is superbly put together. VW targeted the premium hatchback market with its quality and updated interior and they’ve managed to hit the bulls-eye with the new Golf.

The longer wheelbase provides plenty of legroom and overall the cabin is a great space to be in. The Golf retains it practical hatch reputation and builds on this with a larger boot rated at 380 litres.

One minor gripe about the interior is the cumbersome way one has to remove cables from the tiny stowage area in the centre console. After struggling for a few minutes, it wasn’t until another journo with lithe fingers managed to pry the cable out.

Volkswagen’s eco-friendly Blue Motion tech is featured in the Golf in the form of start/stop and brake energy re-cooperation.


Like the outgoing model and the one before that, bar pricing, it’s very difficult fault the new Golf. It handles superbly well, the engines are great, DSG box seamless and it feels like a premium vehicle. The Golf takes on rival such as the BMW 1 Series, Audi A3, Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra and i30. Another alternative to consider would be Volvo’s V40.

Judging from our launch preview, there's been quite a bit of grumbling about the Golf’s price. Yes, it could be perceived as being expensive against rivals. The fact is you’re receiving more kit, new tech and a refined vehicle for marginally LESS than the outgoing model.

Take the base 1.2: the outgoing 1.6 75kW retailed for R240 600, the new 1.2 costs R233 800.

Volkswagen is so confident that you’ll love the Golf 7 that its ad campaign reads: “Is this the one?” and asks customers “If you could drive one car for the rest of your life what would it be?” to which some joker at back screams out “Aston Martin DB9, Maserati GranTurismo, Fiat Multipla”...

Of course it goes without saying if a manufacturer created the “perfect” car I'd be redundant. As for the customer, I think VW has created yet another special product and that those who buy one will be smitten - it will be "the one” for them.

1.2 TSI BlueMotion Trendline - R233 800
1.4 TSI BlueMotion Trendline - R246 700
1.4 TSI BlueMotion Comfortline - R264 900
1.4 TSI BlueMotion Comfortline seven-speed DSG - R279 400
2.0 TDI Comfortline - R282 300
1.4 TSI BlueMotion Highline - R293 600
2.0 TDI BlueMotion Highline six-speed DSG - R334 800

All models are sold with a five-year or 90 000km service plan, a three-year or 120 000km warranty and a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty. Service intervals  15 000km.

  • adam.wood.146 - 2013-02-04 08:07

    GTi money for a TDi? What the f*ck

      thando.gqabaza - 2013-02-04 08:23

      New GTI will probably be 400k + .... get ready to bend over.

      Dev.Oli4 - 2013-02-04 10:31

      Focus 2.0l TDCi. Powershift. R285 000!!! That's R50 000!!!!!

      raath - 2013-02-04 10:33

      @Dev - fair enough - now go and compare the specs and equipment levels.

      Dev.Oli4 - 2013-02-04 10:34

      Audi A3 2.0TDi S tronic same price!!!

      xolisa.boqwana - 2013-02-04 14:57

      Even in Golf 6 my friend it was like that. Surely the diesel people will appreciate the DSG being available/standard. Some wise guy on this blog once said "buying a diesel car is an expensive way of saving fuel" and I fully agree with him.

      michael.smit.73997 - 2013-02-05 12:19

      3 year warrantly, clearly vw arent confindent in their products

      naolifant - 2013-02-05 17:14

      ...and the R will be 700k

  • sabelo.mzuku - 2013-02-04 08:16

    Those who can afford it will buy it and those who can't will buy something else cheaper. Simple.

      jarques.cloete - 2013-02-04 14:16

      true! Those that can afford it will probably be able to pay the additional 10k or so and rather get the equivalent Audi with motorplan and even better resale and brandimage. Golf too expensive for its own good.

      Muhammed Omarjee - 2013-04-30 14:45

      Brand Image is just one letter away from brain damage

  • guy.fowle - 2013-02-04 08:58

    ALL the engines are turbo-charged! The 1.4TSi Highline has a twin-scroll turbo and not a twin-turbo - there's a difference actually. Even the VW website has it wrong saying that it has a supercharger - it doesn't.

      raath - 2013-02-04 10:28

      The VW website (VW.co.za) hasn't been updated with the new models' information. But yes, they are all turbo-charged. The Golf VI 1.4TSI Highline has both turbo and supercharger.

  • vickers.vermeulen - 2013-02-04 09:16

    Once again the benchmark in the class. A pity about the price tag though.

      raath - 2013-02-04 10:29

      For what you are getting I won't say they are too badly priced. There are things standard on the Golf which are not even available as options on the Focus or Astra.

      paul.gertzen - 2013-02-04 17:24

      Rather get a Megane. Satnav, bluetooth, 5 year warranty and service plan, drl's, cruise control etc all standard and still cheaper than the golf without options. Is this a golf 5, 6 or 7? can't tell the difference

      lourensenchrisna - 2013-02-05 06:59

      @Paul, and no resale value after 3 years of ownership, try comparing a golf's resale after three years with a Renault Megane. I am by no means a Golf fan, but the new golfs since the Golf 5 has really shaped up into good cars, just pitty the prices have also increased so much. Bu if you don't like it then don't buy it. Easy!!!

      paul.gertzen - 2013-02-05 09:31

      aah yes, but after spending 60k to spec your golf up to the Megane's level, try getting that money back when you trade it in. Golf is a good car, just a rip

      brak.jan - 2013-02-05 10:40

      @paul - a renault megane loses +/- 50% of it's value in 12 months (Mead & Mcgrouther stats, aka 'The Book Value'), so your R280k megane will be worth R140k after 12 months, you will be lucky if someone want's to buy it after 36. Also, the Golf 7 has higher spec than the Megane, not the other way around. The Golf has standard spec that is not even an option in the Renault. Sorry Paul.

      zathris.voulge - 2013-02-05 10:54

      @Paul: Really, if the megane was that fantastic, I seriously doubt they would have place stone last in this year's Auto Brand customer satisfaction survey. Pretty much where they tend to place every year. Now I know I have ragged VW for having below par quality in the past (and I still think that given their premium pricing they should be doing better in this regard), but Renault really make it easy for VW to dominate them in spite of the massive price advantage Renault has, simply because Renault cannot back up their product once it is off the shop floor. Sad, but true.

      paul.gertzen - 2013-02-05 12:59

      I've had good reliability on VW's & Renault's I've owned but I'll never go back to German cars as they come with nothing and all look the same (sorry but your standard spec level argument fails, check out the specs & pricing yourself). If all you want is to get from A to B then take the bus, it'll probably be more exciting than this car. This nation of lemmings will keep VW selling well though. At least we now know what the golf 8 will look like. zzzzzz.

  • de.stig.9 - 2013-02-04 09:45

    Wheels24 must start investing on a camera man; you keep on posting the links of images that were taken in Europe, how boring. It’s easy to tell that this article was written and edited by VW group marketing gurus

      zathris.voulge - 2013-02-04 10:08

      I am pretty certain this article was NOT written or edited by VW group marketing gurus. The author here very clearly read the user commentary on the previous Golf 7 article on news24 - as seen by the way he answers a lot of the points raised there. Of course he would have used the VW marketing material to pull a lot of info, but that is hardly a crime...

  • sindyntsako.mathebula - 2013-02-04 11:33

    The comfortline and the Highline should have at least leather seats as standard!

      raath - 2013-02-04 12:33

      There are many people who don't like leather (for whatever insane reason), and they wouldn't like the price being adjusted (which it will) to cover the cost of the leather. The current prices for the leather options (for Golf 6, ranging from about R9k to R12k, depending on model), are sport seats, and include electric lumbar support and seat heating. If you price that on Audi or BMW you would easily pay R20k-R25k for it.

      thando.gqabaza - 2013-02-04 13:26

      I'm sorry that's a lame excuse. You are already paying 290k for a 1.4 highline , performance is nothing special , so at least give us leather ( sport seats or not ).

      mthiks - 2013-02-05 13:37

      Especially for the highline model leather should be standard

      phillip.havenga - 2013-02-06 08:02

      I'd rather have cloth sports seats, leather seats really are over rated. My current car has leather seats and leather trimmed everything and it really isn't that great.

  • ltjvrensburg - 2013-02-04 13:34

    It is weird that no one mentioned the car's rear. One word: ugly! I think the golf 6 has a better rear end. Otherwise a very solid buy second hand with 40 000 k's on the clock. Let someone else take the initial punch and pay 40 000 less second hand.

      de.stig.9 - 2013-02-04 14:29

      zathris.voulge came with guns blazing when i asked why is news24 posting photoshop European pictures instead of the actual images if they claim to have tested the car. then everyone would have seen that awful rear

      zathris.voulge - 2013-02-05 10:42

      Stig De is putting words in my mouth. I was specifically addressing your assertion that: "It’s easy to tell that this article was written and edited by VW group marketing gurus". Stop looking for a fight where there is none.

  • jarques.cloete - 2013-02-04 14:21

    Although it being a very good car the Golf is so expensive that it (at least price wise) now competes with A3, 1-series, V40 and the upcoming Merc A-class. I think it is ultimately outclassed in the area it now competes. I would rather pay the extra 10K or and get the A3 or the BMW 1 series.

  • MuhammadSheikOumar - 2013-02-04 16:31

    Looks like a Polo with a bigger backside. I am sure its a good car but it doesn't really look all that smart. However, I would like to drive it and see how it compares with the Focus.

  • shermanm.amos.9 - 2013-02-04 19:10

    No matter what the price it's a VW I have ordered the 2.0 TDI DSG for my wife cant wait for Saturday to collect it.

  • matthews.bantsijang - 2013-02-04 22:33

    Some changes....

  • brak.jan - 2013-02-05 10:43

    Interesting that articles on the Golf 7 attracts the most comments by far. A question of the tallest trees catching the most wind?

      paul.gertzen - 2013-02-05 13:07

      only when needing to defend other brands like Astra & Focus when commenting about german cars and their standard spec levels which consists of a body & 4 wheels. I just enjoy reading the VW nuts defending such a boring styled car every time a "new" model comes out. It really riles them up.

  • jarques.cloete - 2013-02-05 12:52

    Also add to that the CRAP service you get from VW. This alone almost makes it worthwhile to fork out the additional money and buy an Audi or BMW! I tried to book in my current 2012 Polo for its first service . Firstly I tried no less than 6 numbers for the dealership without ANYONE answering. it just kept on ringing... Eventually on number 7 I got through to this lady who took all my details and the cars details but then INSISTED I give her the VIN number in order to make a simple service booking. Who the heck walks around with their VIN numbers in their heads??? So she insisted I get the VIN number and call back! At this stage I was fuming!!! So I had to go out of my office and walk to my car to get the VIN number and then AGAIN try and get someone on the phone and hope to get someone on the phone. I asked to be put through to the Dealer Principal and after four mis-tries eventually got to the dealer receptionist which was an oasis in this desert of service! She was very simpathetic to my plight and took my details for the DP. Hopefully he calls me back. I previously had an Audi and booking my vehicle in for a service was a quick breeze of efficiency.. VW is losing me as a client and doing great damage to themselves regarding their customer care...

      Mandy Casey - 2013-02-08 02:40

      Use a different VW dealer, this one is full of beans.

  • jarques.cloete - 2013-02-05 13:47

    Following on from my earlier comment... The DP did call abck and was very nice. But unfortunately I still need the VIN number to make the booking... Why oh why can they not get the VIN number on the day when I bring the car in for its service???

  • bistoh - 2013-02-05 20:48

    Awesome article Sergio! Glad you noted the things most sceptics say about the VW Golf actually VW in general. The bar has been raised again. Lets see them catch-up again.

  • nrogerson777 - 2013-02-06 06:35

    I have always driven Golfs and I love them. But a change is as good as holiday. I have ordered the new A class. It comes with a full motorplan and at least the design is fresh. The new golf looks like all of the others since five.

  • waylon.payne - 2013-02-07 08:45

    If you've never owned a golf, you wont get it. I think a lot of people commenting here are polo drivers.

  • stanley.tshungwane - 2013-02-07 11:53

    I can't wait for G7 R, now I am enjoying my last days with a G6 GTI. Thank you VW for a wonderful Golf again

  • ralf.klomann.1 - 2013-02-08 10:27

    Sad that VW SA does not have the need to do a proper full launch of the Golf 7! Tomorrow only a dealer Golf 7 launch! I will be going to Hatfield Bryanston, hope to drive different models! VW SA needs to become more customer friendly and focused, the opposition can teach VW a lesson with this!

  • Deena Kistasami - 2013-05-27 12:06

    Well priced for so many features. Deena www.driveza.net

  • Deena Kistasami - 2013-11-09 14:54

    I tested the 1.2 TSi, what an awesome car. Fuel economy and power is amazing! DriveZA

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