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Reader's test: VW Golf 1.4 TSI

2012-04-26 13:08

AND RED SPELLS DANGER...: Reader Tshepo has been pleasantly surprised by his 118kW 1.4 TSI Golf.


After owning a Golf 5 2.0 FSI Sport line for more than three years, I had reached that time of servicing the car from my own pocket as the motor plan had expired at 60 000km.
I decided to replace it at 90 000km with a Golf 5.5 (6) because I was used to the 110kW engine from the Golf 5. The 1.4 TSI (90kW) was not going to do for me, so I went for a demo 118kW supercharged/turbocharged TSI Highline. I bought it for R235 000 with 7000km on the clock as the new price was not making any sense to me.


The power delivery is very smooth. I love the early availability of torque at 1500rpm (240Nm); it’s way better than the high-revving FSI. Harsh acceleration from low revs make the engine sound very fragile, however the way this car delivers power is great - you can’t even feel when the turbo takes over from the supercharger.

Once the revs hit 1500rpm, you need not tamper with the gears; only concentrate on the accelerator as the torque will do the job. Overtaking is not a mission, either. All you need to do is to check that it’s safe to move and your right foot will make it possible. You don’t have to worry about changing down to fifth or fourth thanks, again, to the diesel-like torque availability. Fellow owners of cars using this engine agree that their passengers ask them if the car is a diesel.

I always feel the handling is a step backwards from my FSI (with sport suspension) on tight corners at high speed, but it's very comfortable in normal driving. Hill Assist is a notable improvement from the previous Golf and extends the lifespan of the clutch.

Fuel consumption is not even close to the 6. 2litres/100km VW claims. My average is 7.5 and 9.4 on heavy acceleration, which is almost the same as my 2.0 FSI it replaced.


There aren't many innovations on the Golf 6 because it carried over almost 80% from the Golf 5, but I would say it’s an elegant design with class-leading finishes. There are less rattles compared to the Golf 5, but the interior is not over-decorated – it’s clean and perfect.


I started to experience a funny engine sound on acceleration – across the gears – between 1500 and 2500rpm at 27 000km. I’ve researched the problem on the internet and noted lots of complaints about the same sounds. People suggested it was water pump-related, others even had their gearboxes and engines replaced, but still experienced problems after a few thousand kilometres.

I  took the car to VW Fourways and after two days the problem was resolved. The exhaust heat shield was identified as the problem. It was adjusted and tested several times and after 8000km without the noise/problem, I’m happy again.


The Golf 6 never got my full attention when it was introduced and I was expecting a high number of failures from both 1.4 TSIs.

But I love the smooth ride, the engine is a gem and, beside the heat shield problem, I must say it has - so far - proved me wrong. 

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