Singapore - A mid-life refresh of everyone’s favourite European hatchback is in the books and while its higher powered variants like the GTI and R get subtle tweaks, its the base Golf that undergoes the biggest change.
Aesthetics wise, not much has changed other than new headlamps which incorporate LED daytime running lights and a slightly restyled front that gives the hatch a more pronounced facade.
It is under the bonnet that the biggest change takes place as a new 1.0-litre engine replaces the old 1.2 TSI.
In any case don’t let the downsizing fool you though, it might have lost 200cc and a cylinder but the new engine packs the same 110hp as the former and produces more torque - 200Nm to be exact over the previous 180Nm.
The new engine is even faster to 100km/h as well, hitting it in just under 10 seconds while the 1.2 got there in 10.6 seconds.
Moving off you would also notice the DSG gearbox shifting up very early, before the engine’s revs even hit the sweet spot - thus causing a split second of turbo lag - its normal though, all in the name of efficiency, so don’t be too alarmed - I got used to it pretty quickly.
Being a three-potter, its a little more harsh than what I am used to but its a trade off that I did gladly take as the engine has an off-beat burble (a characteristic) that is actually pretty satisfying when pushed hard.
That said though, the 1.0’s base level underpinnings rears its unwanted head when it comes to driving. In terms of comfort, refinement and dynamics, much like the 1.2, the 1.0 employs the use of a cheaper torsion beam rear setup that directly affects how the Golf handles as a whole.
Compared to the 1.4 and upwards, all of which come with multi-links, the 1.0 feels slightly more jittery at the edge while power delivery during acceleration is not as linear as that of an in-line four.