The nice scenario
It always fascinates me how divergent peoples’ opinions can be when it comes to cars. Take for instance a recent conversation in our office. There’s a good mix of petrolheads, disinterested owners and those dabbling in the market for a new vehicle and for the latter, everyone always has very different advice.
It makes for some fascinating debate around balancing purpose, appearance, budget, economy, brand loyalty and street credibility. Which got me thinking about the new Golf 7. I recently had the Golf 1.2l TSi Trendline on test and it was, well, nice I guess.
Which placed me in a bit of a quandry. You can’t write and say a car is, well, nice in a review. My opinion seems too ambivalent for a decent review. So, I’ve decided to introduce the Golf 7 1.2l TSi Trendline as a typical office scenario, and you the reader can decide based on the facts what you think about it.
Enter middle-income colleague considering a new car: “Ooooh, what are you driving today?”
Journo: “New Golf 7”
Colleague: “Really? I’ve heard they’re really great to drive. What’s it like?”
Journo: “Yup, it drives beautifully – light steering, fantastic 6-speed manual gear box with smooth transitions and the sweetest clutch action. It’s surprisingly responsive and comfortable.”
Colleague: “Wow, I should look into it. What’s its engine size? Do you think it will be good for a bit of longer distance driving? I’m looking for both a city runaround and the odd trip away.”
Journo: “I’m driving the 1.2l TSi Trendline. It’s got a 1.2l turbo-charged petrol engine. It’s pretty efficient – so far this week I’ve averaged 5 litres per 100km, 20kilometers to the litre, which is fantastic. I’ve had it for almost 5 days already and the needle hasn’t moved off full yet! I think as a city run-around it’s great and even the odd longer trip should be comfortable if that’s what you’re looking for. There’s also adequate space both in front and at the rear and the boot space is decent – enough for a few bags, a monthly shop etcetera. Obviously, with such impressive fuel consumption it would be great for the long road – you need only fill up every 600 kilometres or so!”
Colleague: “Wow, that sounds great – how much does it cost?”
Journo: “This model starts at N$242 700. I think it’s a bit steep considering everything it has and hasn’t got. I was surprised to see no Bluetooth functionality as standard, but it does have a touch screen infotainment centre, steering wheel controls, air-conditioning and electric windows. But for a basic entry level Golf, I think that Volkswagen have slapped on the price a bit too much. I mean, appointments are OK inside and out but it’s not exactly an inspiring car for that amount of money. I’d say you could get better value for money from some of your eastern manufacturers.”
Colleague: “Hmmm, that does sound a bit high end. But it IS a Volkswagen. I quite like Volkswagen. My mom always drove one and my first car was an old Jetta. It was great. We’ve never experienced problems with our Volkswagens and I’d definitely consider getting one again. A friend of mine will only ever buy and drive Volkswagen – he says he’ll never change. Can I come outside and see it?”
Journo: “Yes, I think that is possibly what keeps Volkswagen going at higher prices – they have engendered the most exceptional brand loyalty. Sure, let’s go take a look.”
Colleague and Journo go outside to look at car. Open and close doors, poke about, start engine, colleague sits in driver’s seat, fiddles around a bit.
Colleague: “I like the look and feel of the console around the driver’s side. It feels like an office – like everything is to hand. It’s plain but good quality. I also like the shape – the longer, flatter and sleek look suits it. I think this look will appeal more to not just young people.”
Journo: “Aye, it certainly looks good – if somewhat still keeping to the norm of what South Africans like to drive. I prefer a car a little more interesting but I can appreciate people wanting a car that blends in or doesn’t buck the trend. I think this would suit the market very well. And if Volkswagen has so much loyalty in old VW owners, I doubt they’ll struggle to sell these Golfs, even if the price is steeper than that of many of its competitors.”
Colleague: “Indeed. I’d certainly give it some thought.”
So there you have it, a normal car for the average Namibian at a price that is too high in my opinion, but what price can you place on brand loyalty? The Golf 1.2l TSi Trendline with Bluemotion technology is comfortable to drive, efficient, economical and good looking. It comes with a 5 year 90 000km service plan which is all rather, well, nice.
0-100m: 6.5s / 81.6km/h
0-200m: 10.3s / 102.1km/h
0-300m: 13.5s / 117.8km/h
0-400m: 16.3 / 128.9km/h
1/4mile: 16.4s @ 80.3mph (129.2km/h)
Climate Sunny, cool
Road Dry tarmac, level
Occupants Driver, no passengers
Fuel level Full