The Volkswagen Golf has one of the success stories of the year.
Over 50,000 units had been registered by the end of September, with the manufacturer announcing that pre-orders are now open for the anticipated seventh-generation model.
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The new Volkswagen Golf will be available from £16,285, rising to £24,880 for the top-level trim.
Volkswagen claims that the latest Golf will be 'lighter, safer, more advanced, more spacious, more efficient and better equipped' than ever before. It'll be available in three trims: S, SE and GT. BlueMotion and GTI units will appear later in 2013.
According to industry figures though the Ford Focus and others are well ahead in terms of sales for 2012. So, what additions is Volkswagen adding to the Golf to break those models' grip on the UK market, and perform even better for 2013?
Fun and frugal
Available in both three- and five-door versions, the hatchback will be available with four petrol and two diesel engines, which enhances the range currently available.
The Golf's engine range is more fuel-efficient than ever before. It was a factor Volkswagen was heavily highlighting at Paris when it showcased the new Golf next to the BlueMotion model at its stand. The BlueMotion, according to the manufacturer, can hit 88.3mpg.
Small, economic cars have proved to be best-sellers this year as buyers feel the pinch, so it's not hard to see why Volkswagen is jumping on the bandwagon. The new Golf's range of engines should help the range get a sales boost when the car's released during the first week of January.
The petrol range includes a four-cylinder 1.2-litre TSI unit (85 PS), a 1.2-litre TSI (105 PS) and a 1.4-litre TSI (122 PS) motor to the 1.4-litre TSI (140 PS) with Active Cylinder Technology.
Diesel units include a 1.6-litre TDI (105 PS) and a new 2.0-litre TDI (150 PS). All new versions of the Golf will be come with Stop/Start technology and battery regeneration as standard.
The MDI life
Volkswagen must also have noticed how its rivals are utilising touchscreen tech, most notably Vauxhall with its upcoming Adam.
The new Golf is hoping to steal a march on the Adam's impressive-looking IntelliLink tech, though. Released a full month before the Adam appears in showrooms, new entry-level Golfs come complete with a 5.8-inch colour touchscreen, DAB digital radio, a CD player and an MDI interface.
The point of the latter is to connect iPods and MP3 players to the car, and though there's no word so far about phone connectivity as is much lauded with the Adam, it's still a sign that Volkswagen recognises the importance of similar features when trying to attract a younger market with a frugal car.
The new Golf is also incredibly safe, featuring seven airbags, five three-point seatbelts, ABS with ESP, an XDS electronic differential lock and more.
The higher-level trims are also impressive. SE trim comes with ADC Automatic Distance Control with Front Assist and City Emergency Braking, which is able to bring the car to a complete stop should it be required. Features such as driver profile selection and rain-sensitive wipers are also available.
Top-level GT trim comes with heat-insulating dark-tinted rear glass, 17-inch alloys, visual front and rear parking sensors and more. Options also include an eight-inch colour touchscreen panoramic sunroof and more.
Available from 7th January, Volkswagen hope that its new Golf will give it a very happy new year.
Written by John Meadowcroft