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VW Golf GT 1.4 TSi (2014) review - first look

Tom Morgan
13 May 2014

Page 2 of 2VW Golf GT 1.4 TSi (2014) review - first look

So many toys and gadgets as standard, but there are plenty of options worth the extra too

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Optional Extras

Even with the comprehensive list of included features, there are still plenty of optional extras to choose from when speccing up a new Golf GT. VW fitted some of its most popular options to our test vehicle for us to see whether you should make the investment.

Discover Pro nav/radio system (£1,165)
Building on the basic Discover navigation system, the Discover Pro centre console replaces the 5.8in touchscreen with a larger 8in display. It has all of the features of the basic Discover Nav System, along with DVD disc support and a 64GB SSD for storing music, video and photos directly on the car's internal memory. The navigation system also includes 3D map navigation, as well as 2D/2.5D maps, and a graphics chip which helps make the animations and map rendering smooth.

VW Golf GT 1.4 TSi

Two extra diagonal inches doesn't seem like much, but in practice, the 8in display is sizeable - making it easy to read, bright enough to see clearly even in bright sunshine and quick to dim when driving through tunnels or at night, so it doesn't prove distracting when on the move. The 3D maps are a welcome, though my no means essential inclusion, that are clear and detailed with plenty of information. The computerised voiceover pronounces a few words rather strangely, and some instructions can be a little obtuse ("Take a half-right", for example) but are otherwise easy to follow, with the music volume automatically dropping for each instruction. Three years of updates are included when you buy the car, which are downloaded on a computer and transferred to the car manually.

VW Golf GT 1.4 TSi

The 64GB SSD jukebox is fantastic if you don't have a lot of room for songs on your smartphone, or refuse to give up on an old hard disk-based MP3 player that lacks Bluetooth; you can copy files from USB (if you buy the optional connection cable) or SD card, then access them through the Media tab on the touchscreen interface. All the standard file types are supported, so you won't need to convert your music before transferring it. It even uses the Gracenote database to correctly identify album art, but it's worth keeping in mind only 30GB of the 64GB disk is available for music storage.

VW Golf GT 1.4 TSi

Bluetooth music playback from a smartphone works brilliantly; once you've paired your handset, the car will automatically pick up where you left off before starting the engine, with no need to press play on your phone. You can select playlists through the touchscreen, but not individual albums, so you'll need to plan your driving music accordingly. Of course you can still play CDs through the disc drive in the glove box, which is also compatible with DVDs - although only when stationary, so you can't stick a film on for the kids and set off on a long journey.

Our test model was fitted with the standard speaker system, which includes eight 20w drivers positioned throughout the cabin. We listened to a range of musical genres throughout our weekend with the car, including our usual test tracks, and the Golf performed admirably; even at motorway speeds, we could make out details and clearly hear vocals. With no subwoofer fans of bass-heavy music will lament the lack of low-end rumble, but we certainly weren't left wanting for volume - at a little over half volume it's possible to hear music when stood outside the car.

VW Golf GT 1.4 TSi

The optional Dynaudio speaker pack (£530) adds a 10-channel, 400w stereo amplifier and uprates the speakers with Dynaudio-tuned drivers designed specifically for the Golf. Unfortunately our loan car wasn't fitted with this pack, but if you’re a serious music lover and don’t want to spoil the look and finish of your new car with third party speakers, the Dynaudio system could easily be worth the upgrade.

Park assist pack (150)
A £150 option, the Park Assist Pack takes control of the wheel when reverse or parallel parking. A button on the centre console activates the system, which uses a set of sensors to scan for parking spaces when driving along a row of parked cars - either at the side of the road lengthways or in a car park sideways.

VW Golf GT 1.4 TSi

Once the system has detected a space, the trip computer screen tells the driver to select reverse gear and to take their hands off the wheel. You then slowly reverse as the car steers, perfectly lining you up into a space or against the kerb. Once you reach a straight parking position, the screen changes again to tell you to take hold of the wheel again, before returning control to the driver.

The main display also changes to a top-down view of the car and activates the parking sensors, which beep audibly as you approach obstructions and show coloured proximity warnings changing from yellow to orange to red as you get closer. The proximity sensors had just the right level of sensitivity; there was none of the early warning we've experienced in other cars, so we were confident of approaching tight spots right up to the red warning line.

You can also specify a £165 rear view camera, which is useful if you prefer to do all of your parking yourself or frequently park in spots where the Park Assist pack can’t help, although this wasn't fitted to our test car so we can't judge its performance.

2Zone air conditioning (£410)
An upgrade over the basic air conditioning pack, the 2Zone climate control lets you set specific temperatures for the left and right sides of the cabin. The dials on the centre console show the temperature for their respective sides, with the option to synchronise both sides instantly to the driver's temperature or the ability to let the car automatically adjust the temperature.

VW Golf GT 1.4 TSi

When switching from automatic to manual control and raising the temperature several degrees on one side, the car was quick to adjust, warming the air coming out of the vents in just a few seconds. It might not be particularly economical, but it's handy if your passenger demands a particular temperature when on long journeys.

Verdict
The 1.4 TSi 7-speed DSG petrol car we drove for this review starts at £24,865, and with extras reaches north of £27,000 - undoubtedly a lot for a family hatchback. VW includes so many interior features as standard that even before adding optional extras you get plenty of kit for your cash, though. Compared to other cars in the same category, we felt that the interior is a cut above the rest, both in terms of quality and design. There might be a lot of plastic, but nothing feels cheap, and it all works exceptionally well.

We still think there are a few extras worth paying for, however. The Park Assist pack is easily worth £150, as it makes parking so much easier. Even if you've been driving for years, there's always that one parking space you aren't confident you have room to get into; with the Park Assist pack you might be able to make it in, saving you another loop around the car park.

VW Golf GT 1.4 TSi

The 2Zone climate control is expensive at £410, considering that for the most part you will probably end up having both sides of the cabin at the same temperature. Unless you insist on keeping at a certain temperature, the standard air con package is probably sufficient.

The most divisive extra will be the Discover Nav Pro. At £1,165 it's one of the most expensive options in the range, yet it only adds a few noteworthy features over the basic stereo. However, the larger screen and 3D map navigation system are easily the highlights; having driven cars based on the same platform with the smaller 5.8in screen since giving the Golf back, we've missed its large and easy-to-read display. DVD playback is a nice bonus, but unlikely to sway many buyers, and if you have an iPhone or Android smartphone with a large capacity you may not need the SSD for storing music. It's a huge amount for an uprated entertainment system, but ultimately it's one we would spring for were we going to buy a Golf ourselves.

Page 2 of 2VW Golf GT 1.4 TSi (2014) review - first look

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