This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Volkswagen Golf Hatchback review.

Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

There's a huge choice of engines and they're all good. Petrol units range from the humble 1.4-litre to the sporty 1.8T and smooth V5 but the 1.6-litre should be fine for most people. Diesel and sporty versions get all the attention - the best are the 1.9 GT or GTI models - not monikers usually associated with diesels - that benefit from Pumpe Düse common rail technology.

They’re noisy but offer punchy performance and return upwards of 49 mpg - not bad for a car with sporty credentials.

This Golf lacks the edge that gave its predecessors such a fearsome reputation, but this doesn't mean that it's dull to drive. It's more refined than ever before and feels composed and safe. The steering is precise and gives decent feedback, the ride is smooth and the result is a competent and relaxing drive. Quiet on the motorway it's good in town too and easy to slot into a tight space in the supermarket car park.