Drove a Golf today, unlikely candidate as it is. The salesperson was a girl. Girl, not woman. She was new, and she didn't know anything.
Like what "chassis" or "platform" means. Deer in headlights.
The other sales staff I casually interacted with seemed disinterested, preoccupied, rude, or they weren't taught right at home by mom and pop.
The Golf...the Golf is a Golf. I think the backup cam pops down or up or out from somewhere. I took seconds to deploy, made a funny thunk noise, and took several seconds to re-deploy, again with a mechanical noise.
Seats firm, instruments clear, old school no surprise in a German car. The mill [iron block?!] is a 1.8t GDI intercooled:
(This is from a long-term 2015 Golf test):
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, iron block and aluminum head, direct fuel injection
110 cu in, 1798 cc
Power: 170 hp @ 4500 rpm
Torque: 199 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm
6-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
Wheelbase: 103.8 in
Length: 167.5 in
Width: 70.8 in Height: 57.2 in
Passenger volume: 93.5 cu ft
Cargo volume: 22.8 cu ft
Curb weight: 3122 lb
Zero to 60 mph: 7.5 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 21.2 sec
Zero to 120 mph: 41.9 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 8.0 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 3.8 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 5.2 sec
Standing Ľ-mile: 15.7 sec @ 89 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 126 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 173 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad*: 0.88 g** [2015 long-term test car with 18" wheels; mine had 15s}
Golf rides firmly and controlled, the seats feel OK, I can left foot brake with these pedals, the outside mirrors are on the small side, the passenger seat in all Golfs and Jettas is height-adjustable, and controls are straightforward without the space ship flavor of the Honda.
I tooled around to warm the car up, then I nailed it to enter the e-way. It just doesn't feel like a 7.5 second car. The engine sort of hums rather than make enginey-sounds [enginey McEngineface, reporting to the McEngine Room, sir!] it has the feel and sound of a diesel like the Civic did. Kickdown on the highway ditto does not produce amazing results. Cruise at 60 nets 1750 RPM.
The car gets blown around a good deal, surprising but hey that's life. We have a big Nor' Wester coming in, similar to but not as vigorous as the one we drove east in two years ago. The Golf definitely felt the winds a-blowin' and a-gustin'.
The car was riding on ContiProContact, probably 195.65.15 it was hard to see them without a flashlight. I could feel them start slipping as I approached fitty MPH on the entrance ramp, destination Dayton, the car was stable and did not heel over which seems typical of today's cars. Thank God.
Air temp was about 25 so these tires were not in their strength range.
Drive at 70 is reasonably quiet and composed. I pulled up that 2015 CD long-term test because it seems nobody wants to test a stock plebe Golf, so I'm guessing most date except cornering G are quite similar.
The brakes brake. I really don't see why the CD guys get all heated up about this car. Maybe it's a peer pressure/clique thing. It's a car, unremarkable, but ahh, German.
The hatch does NOT have a handle. Odd oversight for O/C Germans. What did that save, fitty cent? Sheesh. This car had a switchblade key like my Soul does.
An OK car, but it did not get me heated up, particularly.
I cruised on over to the nearby Hyundai dealer and got the Elantra Eco out for another drive. After feeling a few other cars, these doors feel a bit light and flimsy. Inside it's still nice, and after a warm-up and a punch-up to merge, this car feels a little slower than the 'dub. Down 40 HP and 43 TQ, perhaps it should. It DO have one extra gear, and the DCT was smooth and did its thing imperceptibly.
I ran the on-ramp to Dayton in Eco too, I got up to about the same speed and felt a similar beginning-to-slip, and these are some junk Korean tires. Little lean.
On the road, Eco did not blow around like the Golf did. It did respond to the gusts a bit more than my Soul did on the drive home. Weird, not what I'd expect. The Soul has a Coefficient of drag of .42 or .44, way over the high-20s to low-30s these other cars have (Eco is .27). Yet it's near-impervious to major wind effects.
So Cd and crosswind-effect are apparently unrelated. Or inversely related.
The Honda, with a middling 174 HP but hooked up to that fantastic CVT, has spoiled me, power-wise, for these other cars. That trannie is just leaps and bounds ahead of anything else I've driven.
And CD guys and their VWs? I remember, I think it was Pat Bedard who wrote it in the early 00s or late 90s, a bizarre and discomforting love piece for his favorite Honda Accord at the time. It was like a love letter. And it was weird. You know what gasoline fumes can do to you. Beware, kiddies, DO NOT HUFF GAS!