DRIVEN: Face-lifted Golf 7, impressive but plain

There is a reason why South Africans always buy VW Golf. It's the best. But at these prices, why not consider a Polo GTI?

South Africa's uncompromising loyalty to VW, specifically Golf, is part of the reason why Gusheshe test drove the face-lifted Golf 7 today. After all, we too share in the belief that if South Africa went to war, it should do so in tanks made by VW - with 19 inches and all bru! 

So, we hoped - in all of our objectivity - that we could bring some assurance to our readers who believe wholeheartedly that Golf is still the best in its segment, that indeed they are still right for believing so. Who would we be to deny the truth by needlessly picking at what is wrong with the face-lifted Golf 7, if what is wrong is nothing at all really? As it happened, and as was expected, there is little to fault in the brushed up Golf 7 and we're happy to confirm, as South African journalists have been doing since the beginning of time, that it - South Africa's favourite, the Golf - is still the best.

Various styling upgrades, subtle but there, are most noticeable at the lights as VW does its best to keep the Golf 7 relevant before its number upgrade in 2019. It is a very nice looking car but, like Audi, is becoming predictable and a tad bit boring. Of course, we're the wrong bunch to judge though: Gusheshe strongly believes in the 'soul of character' and the 'outrageous in design', so cars that are plain, well, are cars not really for us.

As it is so, the 1.4 litre with the DSG box that we drove today was smack bang in the middle of Plain Jane's backyard despite an expectedly cultured and fantastic drive full of the quality you would expect from the best in the segment. Of course, VW has always done quality well and as such, you feel a class below the Golf when in a Ford Focus, despite the fact that we prefer the American, especially when it comes to the sporty versions - that is, the fantastic pastel blue of the poisonous Focus RS, which makes the Golf R look silly.

What we did notice are the very sluggish gear changes that, mid-change, let you drift off to sleep and then frighten you awake with a jolt. This is not a sports car though it must be stressed and when driving normally the changes are quite fine. But still, it is not a very nice experience if you do get a little wint-gat, and we suggest a cheaper manual derivative if you'd still like to throw your Golf around a corner or two without being rocked to sleep by your moving debt. The manual box however, does come with a smaller engine, a single litre with less power, but you won't really be left wanting. It costs R70k less and what you save on it you can spoil yourself with a few extras.

This, the 1.4 with the DSG box starts at R365 000, but after you butter that up with all types of extras it will cost you the Gupta-side of 400k. If you're feeling rich though, do it. The version we drove was packed with extras and we love it that way. Then again, we are not signatories on your account and perhaps a sun roof is not the best choice for your pocket.

What is most interesting and worth mentioning here - and perhaps the most important point of all is this: The Golf we drove was, with extras, more expensive than the POLO GTI and Gusheshe, in all its immaturity, assures you that you will have way more fun in the GTI and will, despite apprehensions that the Polo GTI is "small" (which it isn't, the Golf is just big), you will actually get more car for your money. It starts at around R385 000 and looks real good and purposeful, and track ready for a few red-to-red dashes. What more do you want in a car?

If it's a Golf you really want though, a plain old good Golf, you can't go wrong with this one. You have Gusheshe's word.

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