An Engine Small in Size, Big In Ability
The introduction of the Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk V and Mk VI marked the comeback of Volkswagen in Indonesia. However, the German carmaker also knew that there existed a more high-income market for potential buyers in the Rp 200 million to Rp 400 million ($21,000-$42,000) bracket.
For this purpose, VW introduced the Golf TSI, which features VW’s revolutionary engine, the TSI (Turbo Supercharged Injection), combining a Turbocharger and Supercharger. The reason for developing this type of engine was the recognition of a trend toward downsizing and developing more fuel-efficient engines without compromising performance.
The TSI engine on this Golf has a displacement of 1.4 liters that, if considering only the displacement, one might think is too small for a hatchback the size of the Golf. However, because VW has mated a Turbocharger and Supercharger, this small engine delivers performance equal to a 2-liter engine. The power output of this engine is 160HP/5,800 rpm with a maximum torque of 240Nm starting from 1500 rpm to 4500 rpm and a 7-speed automatic direct-shift gearbox, giving the car excellent acceleration. The DSG itself is a dual clutch gearbox, which provides excellent shifting without any lags when changing gears. Optimum performance can be achieved by this combination of engine and gearbox. Acceleration of the Golf TSI is 0-100 kph in 8 seconds, with a top speed of 220 kph. These figures are impressive, considering the vehicle’s small engine.
The downsizing trend is being embraced by nearly every carmaker, likely the product of an ongoing push to use less fuel while maintaining high-level performance.
Although the performance figures are impressive, the Golf TSI doesn’t have the same exterior aggression as its more powerful sibling, the VW Golf GTI. It could do with more assertive styling, instead of its blunt appearance.
However, because it’s a European hatchback, the car still has that premium look, boasting an aesthetic that is especially impressive considering its price tag, at only Rp 354 million. In comparison to any medium-sized sedan in this price bracket, this car boasts higher performance and a more premium look.
The size of the Golf TSI is very suitable for the Indonesian market, especially for young executives, and it has a compact yet roomy feel to it. With a length of 4.19 meters, width of 1.78 meters, height of 1.51 meters and wheelbase of 2.57 meters, it is as compact as it gets for a medium-sized hatchback. It can easily navigate traffic jams and you don’t feel any difficulties in weaving through town, especially with the power that terrific little engine packs.
However, the high power is sometimes jerky when you want to start from a standstill, and you need to be very subtle when pressing the accelerator. But once you put the pedal down, the sound of the TSI whistling is addicting.
Inside of the car you can really feel the build quality that the Volkswagen Group is known for. The Golf TSI is the cheapest in the Golf range, but is still equipped with leather seats. Even the front seats are body-hugging bucket seats, eliminating that tossed-around feeling that often detracts from a driving experience.
A leather-wrapped steering wheel has built-in audio controls, Bluetooth and other functions. The size of the steering wheel is also sporty and its weight is very good, making for an enjoyable ride during congested city driving or when speeding down toll roads.
The Golf TSI also has a number of safety features, including seven airbags, Isofix mounting points and electronic stability control, providing a reassuring driving experience. However, the brakes are sometimes a tad too sensitive. When driving the Golf, an equally sensitive foot is advisable.
The car’s handling is comfortable and like most European cars, it does have a firm feel on the road. However, there are times when the suspension can feel too harsh when driving on irregular terrain, but this is not likely to be problematic in day-to-day driving.
The versatility of the car, its capabilities and the pleasant daily driving experience it provides are all selling points for the Golf TSI. However, it could do with more unique accents and attention given to the exterior to give it a more aggressive look, or perhaps VW just needs to develop a sporty package for those customers who want a more energetic look without doing anything extreme to the car.
If you are looking for a practical hatchback with performance that surpasses most medium-sized and similarly priced sedans, the VW Golf TSI may be precisely what you’re looking for.