The Golf may be past its teenage years, having now reached its 7th generation, but it’s showing no signs of losing its edge. This enduringly popular compact car has just beaten off competition from numerous younger models to take the award for Car of the Year 2015 from the influential US magazine, Motor Trend.
The award of the ‘golden calipers’, an annual event since 1949, is closely watched by the industry in one of the world’s largest automobile marketplaces. Being bestowed only on new or heavily ‘refreshed’ models, it is different to many other Car of the Year competitions in assessing each car independently on design, engineering, efficiency, safety, value, and performance of intended function.
This means that cars of all prices and market divisions can be assessed on their own terms, rather than being compared directly with one another.
The 2015 award goes to the entire current Golf family: the Golf GTI, Golf TDI, e-Golf and Golf 1.8T. All models were deemed outstanding for performance on Californian desert highways and roads, scoring highly for engineering and build, safety, economy and efficiency.
Despite being larger than previous incarnations, the current Golf is showing increased fuel efficiency. Editor-in-Chief of Motor Trend, Ed Loh, reported that it nevertheless presents as a small luxury car – and one that has set a high benchmark in the industry. "It's a model of packaging efficiency," he reported, noting that it combines the desirable qualities of being fun to drive, but quiet and smooth.
Wanting for nothing in terms of engine and transmission performance, its aesthetics and construction qualities, styling and equipment also came in for praise, with high quality evident in even the lowest priced versions.
The Golf held its own against 23 other models, with the finalists including the Audi A3, BMW 2-series, Hyundai Genesis, Kia Sedona and Mercedes-Benz C-class. There’s no sign of it slowing in its market dominance, with two new models, the SportWagen and AWD Golf R, becoming available in 2015.
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