Pocketful Of Goodies | Volkswagen Golf 1.2 TSI

BY Joel Tam

Cheap road tax, zippy turbocharged engine and a robust build quality - with the Golf 1.2 TSI, you can have your cake and eat it!

Photos: Joel Tam

Who would have thought that a small 1.2-litre engine could produce both low emissions and a high (relatively) power output? Well Volkswagen has done it, and strapped to this sturdy Golf body, it is proving itself to be a real winner.

Mated to an efficient seven-speed DSG transmission, the 105bhp unit spins readily, producing 175Nm of torque from just 1,550rpm, making it a rather nippy hatchback. The zest can be felt from the lower revs all the way to the 5000 rpm mark, where the small displacement starts to show. Even then, with some enthusiastic driving, the century dash can be dispatched in 10.5 secs. I assure you though, it feels faster than the figures suggest. Handling is typical Golf - sure-footed and chuckable, while the ride quality on the standard 16" wheels is more than acceptable.

However, all is not rosy. Without the paddle shifters, the DSG transmission while silky smooth in changes, tends to hunt for the right gear at times. The engine too, lags a tad bit when you need to pick up speed from a cruising pace. That said, this is no GTi or Golf R, and it is not meant to be. It is a well-built family hatchback that happens to have a rather spirited engine - that in itself, is a real bonus.

That's not all, this Golf also comes with seven airbags, dual-zone climate control and steering-mounted hi-fi controls, all as standard! I'd swap the wheels for a set of OEM 17" Denver or Vision V wheels though. Other than that, the Volkswagen Golf 1.2 TSI has pretty much all you need in a premium hatch. Time to dig into that yummy cake!