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#94288 - 19th Dec 2004 3:11pm Volkswagen: Golf 4Motion
AL Offline
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Registered: 26th Jan 2004
Posts: 1730
Loc: Wirral


If you're after a four-wheel-drive car, there are quite a few options these days. Most of them are SUVs, an ever-growing market segment, but the size, girth, blatancy and thirst of many off-roaders is not for everybody. Then there are Subarus of course, but cooking Imprezas suffer a poor ride and sub-par interior; and while the Legacy is better, it's also bigger and more expensive. Audi's A3 quattro models don't come cheap either, while falling short in the space race. Volkswagen offers the 4Motion all-wheel-drive system on its Passat. There's also the option on Volvo's V70, Audi's A4 and Jaguar's X-Type, but all are larger cars. So, if you're one of the small contingent who want a small family hatch with four-wheel-drive versatility, your choices really are limited.



Step forward, then, Volkswagen's Golf 4Motion, a car to fit that small niche. And make no mistake, it is a small niche: VW expects to sell only around 600 Golf 4Motions in Britain per year, with sales fairly evenly split between the two models it's going to offer, a 148bhp 2.0-litre FSI petrol model, and a 2.0-litre 138bhp turbodiesel, both in GT trim



We tested both in mixed conditions, mostly dry and wet roads, with some gravel and a spot of icy slush near a convenient glacier. Most of the time, the Golf 4Motion feels exactly like a Golf non-4Motion. Visually on both the outside and inside, and in the way it drives, you'd think it was a conventional car if it weren't for some subtle 4Motion badges. It has the same well-designed and built interior, while its 4WD drivetrain is smooth, without the shunt and obstruction that sometimes blights robust four-wheel-drive transmissions. The steering is linear, engines are refined, performance is strong and economy is good. All very Golf-ish, in fact. Even the rear suspension is unchanged, save for slotting in a drive-shaft, differential and rear axles. Honestly, you won't know the difference 99 percent of the time.



The 4WD system only makes its presence felt when the front wheels lose traction, which rarely happens in normal conditions. However, when the going does get slippery, you'll appreciate the 4Motion system. The Golf gets its four-wheel-drive via a Haldex clutch, located between the front and rear axles. Sensors detect slip between the front and rear wheels and apply power to the back pair if the powered front-wheels are spinning, until the two axles are moving at the same speed. It's possible to put almost 100 percent of power to the rear, but extremely unlikely, unless you've parked with your front wheels on Teflon and the rears on sandpaper.



It's a system which comes into its own on loose surfaces like snow and slush, where it limits power-understeer and gives good traction at low speeds. Wet grass, loose tracks and coastal slipways are also where the system's likely to see some action in the UK, and we expect it to prove really useful there, too, helping the 4Motion get out of places that a normal Golf would get stuck - which is all you can ask for, really, and certainly all that most owners would ask of an SUV. And if you do need a bit of extra ruggedness, a rough-road package will be offered, which raises ground clearance by 20mm and includes an engine protection plate.



The Golf 4Motion's regular-car advantages - decent economy, a low centre of gravity, decent ride and handling, not looking like a berk - mean that it'd be our choice over quite a few soft- or off-roaders. That the 4Motion can tow up to 1,800kg (braked), up by 200kg over the 2WD model is a boon, too, although we can understand why, if you regularly towed that much, you might want the extra weight of a proper off-roader for greater safety and stability.



So who's going to buy this Golf, then? Volkswagen sees two customer types: those who want a regular hatchback but with a bit more traction for when the going gets slippery, or keener driving enthusiasts who want the fun of a four-wheel-drive car. The 4Motion suits the first lot, but not really the second. The standard Golf isn't really a keen driver's car, and the 4Motion system doesn't turn it into an Impreza STi rival, even though it will be badged GT FSI or GT TDI when it arrives in the UK next May. Priced at around 18,500 (petrol) and 19,000 (diesel), it'll be around 1,000 more than the regular model. Not cheap, but neither as thirsty as a big off-roader and if it makes the difference between getting home and getting mired in mud, you probably just need to use the 4Motion system a couple of times to make it worthwhile.

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#94289 - 19th Dec 2004 5:49pm Re: Volkswagen: Golf 4Motion
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Registered: 10th Nov 2003
Posts: 3791
Loc: Home
I reguarly see the v6 4 motion on my way to work, we usually have a little play, fast though.

Nice cars.
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#94290 - 19th Dec 2004 7:12pm Re: Volkswagen: Golf 4Motion
Anonymous
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absolutely hate the new golf with a passion mad

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#94291 - 21st Dec 2004 10:58am Re: Volkswagen: Golf 4Motion
rossi-foci Offline
Smartchild

Registered: 4th Oct 2004
Posts: 467
Loc: Wirral
i'm not that into the stylin either! but then agen i didnt like the older one but it just started to grow on me and now i quite like them! bit feminine though! business women across the country are lining up a new golf 4motion company car! Lol! "soooo allll 4 wheels turn?!"

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