Last week after posting my review on the Lexus IS 350 I got a phone call from VW regarding the Golf since I had left a comment about how they don’t want me to drive their cars. Awhile back I had sent them a couple of emails requesting to test drive the car but no one had ever gotten back to me. Actually one person did the first time I sent an email and they told me they didn’t have the car available for a test drive, but they’d call me back once they did. The second email just never got through due it turns out to a technical glitch from their side. The marketing manager was fairly apologetic about that and told me they had a Golf GTI ready and that I could pass by and pick it up anytime I wanted to. So an hour later I was leaving the VW dealership in a hot red hatch for the weekend.
I have a personal connection with the Golf. My granddad in Lebanon had the original Golf MKI which my family used to use during our summer holidays. It was a great car, compact and really reliable. The car I believe was a 1977 model but stayed in the family up until the late 90s. When I moved to Lebanon for university my first car was also a Golf, the MKIII. It was the car I learned to drive on and in the two years I had it, I managed to get 14 flat tires (stupid potholes) and 7 accidents. Sounds bad but it’s because of the Golf I’m a much better driver today. The car then moved on to my sister who continued the tradition of carelessly driving into giant potholes as well as hitting other cars. Sadly though, she still sucks at driving today. The Golf took a lot of abuse before we finally sold it. I still miss the car and wish I still had it but it’s probably in a better place now. Since then the Golf has gone through four facelifts and the current model is the Golf MKVII.
So yeah I love Golfs and I was in love with the current model even before driving it. And now after spending the weekend with the car I’m seriously contemplating getting one. I tend to do this with every car I test drive which isn’t healthy obviously, I even did it with the Ferrari 458 Spider and the McLaren. You can just imagine the conversation I had in my head trying to convince myself how it’s possible the 458 could replace my FJ Cruiser as my daily driver. Most of the time though the itch wears off a few days later and I start looking for another car to test drive. This time, I’m not sure if the feeling is going to go away.
The new Golf GTI is just a blast to drive. The seating position is fantastic, the handling is ridiculous and it just takes a few minutes to feel super confident driving it. I was also driving like a douche, cutting people off and trying to squeeze between cars. Its how I used to drive my own Golf and I guess I was just reliving the old days. Because of the extremely accurate handling, Golfs are known to be great for “inbetweens” which is the art of trying to squeeze yourself between two cars by creating a new lane between them. Luckily, no sideview mirrors were lost in the making of this review. Seriously though the car is so much fun to drive and the more powerful Golf R is supposed to be even more fun which is insane.
One thing that surprised the hell out of me was the car’s AC. I wouldn’t usually mention the AC in a review but this past weekend the weather was really hot and the car spent a lot of time parked in the sun yet the AC was so powerful it would give Toyota a run for their money. On the other hand I found the sound system disappointing with really boomy bass, a small claustrophobic screen and no navigation. For those of you who’re interested in the back seats, there’s pretty good legroom and like all Golf’s the rear seats fold down turning the already large trunk into an IKEA friendly one.
There are two Golf’s available to purchase in Kuwait, the Golf GTI and the Golf R (they don’t get standard non GTI or R Golfs). The Golf GTI in Kuwait comes fully loaded with features such as the performance package, auto parking, rearview camera and sunroof and costs KD10,600. If I was getting the GTI I would custom order it (which is possible) and not have the auto parking option (because I can park myself) and instead get the upgraded sound system with navigation. The Golf R is the most powerful version of the Golf with more horsepower than the GTI, an all wheel drive system, upgraded sound system with navigation and leather seats. But the Golf R also costs KD14,800.
I’m having a real hard time trying to decide if I’d be willing to swap my FJ for the Golf. I’ve already been researching Golf bike mounts and roof bars that can hold wakeboards. But, I’ve also kinda gotten used to being able to drive over anything and on anything so thats going to be something hard to let go of. If you’re interested in test driving the Golf or if you’re looking for more information, then check out the dealers website [Here]