£30,800 - £31,200 Price range
From the moment the order books for the Volkswagen Golf GTD hatchback opened, VW realised it had a pretty big hit on its hands. The car’s blend of warm performance and incredibly frugal fuel consumption was so popular, in fact, that the GTD outsold the petrol-powered GTI in the UK almost three-to-one!
It’s no surprise, then, that Volkswagen’s decided to expand the line-up with this Golf GTD estate model, which boasts competitive luggage capacity on top of the GTD hatchback’s already impressive repertoire.
However, it’s not the only diesel performance estate on the market, and it certainly isn’t the cheapest – rivals like the Ford Focus ST estate, Skoda Octavia vRS estate and SEAT Leon Cupra ST all undercut the Volkswagen Golf GTD estate, for instance, whilst also proving to be equally as economical and (in the Skoda’s case) more spacious.
So, does the Volkswagen Golf GTD estate do enough to justify that extra premium over a majority of its chief competitors?
With the cabin fixtures mostly being lifted straight from the hatchback version, the Volkswagen Golf GTD estate has one of the best-built interiors you’ll find in this class. All the materials are to the quality you’d expect from a nigh-on £30,000 car, and the extra sports trim pieces (like the ‘GTD’ branded, flat-bottomed steering wheel) add a bit of pizzazz to a predominantly function-over-form design.
That conservative approach, though, does lead to the main controls of the Volkswagen Golf GTD estate being quite easy to use on the go, with the main dials being clear to see and the touch screen interface helping to de-clutter the centre console (the latter being a problem that, even after the comprehensive facelift, is still a bugbear on the Ford Focus ST estate).
New for the 2017 model is the ability to spec up VW’s newest infotainment system that comes with a large 9.2-inch touchscreen. It’s the most colourful and responsive of it’s kind in this price bracket so it’s a highly recommended upgrade over the standard 8.0-inch system that, admittedly, is just as good but misses out on connected features such as live traffic alerts.
Also new for the 2017 model is the ability to replace the conventional dials with a 12.3-inch digital display that can show you the sat-nav map right in front of your eyes. It’s a costly option but one that should be prioritised just for the amount of functionality it brings to the humble instrument binnacle.
Volkswagen Golf GTD estate passenger space
Like every other Golf variant currently on the market, the Volkswagen Golf GTD estate offers plenty of space up front for the driver and the passenger riding shotgun. There’s plenty of adjustment in the steering wheel, for instance, and the sports seats (whether they’re in standard ‘Jacara’ cloth trim or in upholstered in the optional leather) are very comfortable whilst also being decently bolstered to provide support during the fast cornering the GTD is only too happy to provide.
Having a longer roofline over the hatchback also means headroom is marginally better in the estate (not that it’s a major problem in the hatchback to start with), so taller passengers shouldn’t feel too hemmed in the rear seats. Overall leg and shoulder room levels are pretty good, too.
Volkswagen Golf GTD estate boot space
As commodious as the Golf is for passengers, it’s the overall luggage capacity that really impresses. With 605 litres and 1,620 litres of space with the rear seat backs up and down respectively, the GTD’s boot is comfortably has one of the largest in this class, and even pips quite a few estates from the class above in terms of outright size.
The boot itself is also a very boxy shape, which means larger items should fit in the back with ease and there’s hardly any boot lip, so it’s also fairly simple to slide longer and heavier items in and out.
If you’re looking for the ultimate in diesel estate driving thrills, the Volkswagen Golf GTD estate may not be the car for you. Despite the sporty upgrades over the regular version, it isn’t the most engaging car you’ll find in this class – that accolade belongs to the Ford Focus ST estate.
That’s not to say the Golf isn’t enjoyable when you’re behind the wheel. Just like the hatchback version, the estate is still stable and planted in corners, with plenty of grip at your disposal. Loss of traction also doesn’t appear to be an issue, despite the engine’s meaty torque output.
Having a less focused set-up also means the GTD estate rides pretty well: whilst the lowered suspension does mean it’s a bit more fidgety than the regular models, overall body control is well-contained. Overall noise insulation levels are impressive as well.
Adaptive dampers are available as an optional extra. They can be configured in three driving modes – Sport, Normal and Comfort and they are pretty self-explanatory. We like Comfort the most for UK roads because Sport makes the car too nervous and also pumps an artificial sound in the cabin which can become bothersome.
Though the extra bodywork bulk has slowed the car down in comparison with the hatchback version, the Volkswagen Golf GTD estate is still fairly quick. 0-62mph, for instance, takes just 7.9 seconds (only half a second down on the hatch), and the claimed top speed of 142mph is a paltry 1mph slower.
Having that extra mass to lug around also hasn’t had a huge effect on the 184hp, 2-litre diesel engine’s efficiency. Even the least frugal model equipped with the DSG automatic gearbox can return 58mpg, with the headline 64mpg stat coming when the car’s fitted with the standard manual gearbox.
As impressive as those figures are, though, they’re not class-leading by any standards. The SEAT Leon ST with the same 184hp engine can (unsurprisingly) match the Golf, and the diesel-powered Ford Focus ST estate marginally trumps it with a claimed 67mpg.
Where the engine does make up some ground, though, is in its overall usability. Though it’s not quite as eager to rev as the petrol engines in the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Golf R models, the punchy low-down torque delivery means acceleration is still brisk enough in the higher gears. When combined with the impressive all-round refinement (bar a bit of diesel clatter), this makes the Volkswagen Golf GTD estate a pretty well-rounded cruiser.
Unlike most performance-orientated Golf variants, the Volkswagen Golf GTD estate doesn’t stand triumphant over its peers in this class. Whilst it is a well-rounded and enjoyable car to drive that’s relatively affordable to fill up, the Golf GTD estate’s steep pricing is a hurdle to overcome in the company of less expensive and equally-as-impressive rivals.
If you feel you must have the Volkswagen Golf GTD estate, then, by all means, go ahead – it’s a very accomplished piece of kit and you almost certainly won’t be disappointed with it. For everyone else, though, we’d recommend looking at the GTD estate’s more affordable competitors before committing to a purchase.
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