Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

The Golf Plus is available with two petrol and four diesel engines. The entry level model is the 1.4-litre petrol - only available in S trim - but it produces a modest 80bhp and as a result can struggle for pace, especially with a full load. It's adequate around town though and averages 43mpg. There's a second 1.4-litre engine which is a TSI and uses a turbocharger to boost power to 122bhp.

Despite its seemingly small size, it's an impressively quick and eager engine that accelerates well from low revs and feels very nippy, 0-62mph taking just 10.2 seconds. It's economical too, averaging 44mpg, while there's an optional DSG automatic gearbox available which uses two clutches to deliver super quick and smooth shifts. The three TDI engines are smoother and quieter than the diesels in the previous Golf Plus.

There's a 1.6 TDI available with either 90bhp (only in S trim) or 105bhp. The lower power version offers decent pace, but it's the economy which is most impressive, with an average of 60mpg achievable. The 105bhp version feels noticeably quicker and the 0-62mph sprint comes come from 13.5 seconds to 12.5 seconds. It also has more low down pulling power, which makes for easier overtaking.

Volkswagen Golf Plus performance is unlikely to be at the top of buyers' priorities but the top engine is the 2.0 TDI with 140bhp which is punchy yet smooth and will accelerate from 0-62mph in 9.8 seconds. It pulls very strongly from low revs and is ideal if you regularly have to carry a full complement of passengers and luggage. It's economical too with an average of 55mpg.

A cheaper 110bhp version of this 2.0 TDI is also available. In October 2009 a BlueMotion version was introduced which uses the 1.6-litre TDI engine with 105bhp. Thanks to revised gear ratios, low rolling resistance tyres and an engine start/stop function, this frugal unit averages an impressive 66mpg while CO2 emissions of 114g/km make it cheap to tax.

It may not be quite as sharp as the 2009 Golf, but the Golf Plus still drives very well with nicely weighted steering and a positive gear change. Despite being taller than a standard hatchback, body roll in corners is well controlled and it feels composed and reassuring on twisting roads. A forgiving ride plus good visibility make it easy to drive in town and it deals easily with speed bumps and potholed roads.