Volkswagens Crossgolf

by : Natalie Anderson

Volkswagen doesn't like gaps in its range so if it has one you can bet that it will fill it in. Just take for instance Golf. The automaker was not content just by having three and five-door Golfs such as the Golf-based Touran, a forthcoming Golf Estate and a Golf-based Tiguan 4x4. The German automaker didn't stop there but continued until it was able to launch its CrossGolf.

The CrossGolf is given the "Plus" which is based on another niche variant and a lifestyle model that answers the needs of buyers who want the fancy looks of an off-roader but not its mud-plugging ability.

The CrossGolf was built by Volkswagen to compete with other sector spanning cars like Dodge's Caliber and Nissan's Qashqai. The CrossGolf is a cross breed of MPV and SUV. It was given chunky plastic bumpers all-round, a neat silver air intake at the front, bordered by fog lights and silver roof rails that are added to the Plus' bland shape to perk things up. The vehicle is also given a 20mm increase in ride height. Its 17-inch alloy rounds up the sporty, off-roader looks that it projects.

The interior provides a contrast to the colors in the rest of the cabin. The air vents and pedals are given silver finished. It also has a three-spoke leather steering wheel plus a hide gaiter and trims on the gearlever. In terms of practicality it is just as good as any regular Golf Plus with plenty of headroom whenever you're sitting. Its sliding rear bench also provides some useful versatility.

Unfortunately because of the extra ride height added to the CrossGolf it's not as swift as Golf or even a Plus. The suspension set-up is also quite firm probably to control body roll caused by the vehicle's higher centre of gravity.

Another comment on the CrossGolf is in terms of riding comfort especially on rough surfaces or potholed urban streets-it's not very comfortable. But in fairness to this vehicle its steering is very accurate aided by decent brakes and disregarding the negatives it can be concluded that the overall driving experience is alright.

In terms of off-roading it will be limited to grassy lanes since there's no four-wheel-drive syste, to haul the car if ever it got into a sticky situation. The CrossGolf is much suitable on runway than on softer surfaces.

The CrossGolf is offered in three familiar Volkswagen motors: the 100bhp 1.6-litre petrol or 104bhp 1.9 and 138 bhp 2.0 diesel options. Add to it a 138bhpversionof the firm's new turbocharged and supercharged 1.4 liter TSI unit. Delivers a revving 220Nm of torque it feels exactly the same as a deep-chested diesel at low engine speeds. And as the turbocharger seamlessly takes over above 3,000 rpm there's even more punch for overtaking.

And of course since it's from Volkswagen it will be hooked up with superb twin-clutch DSG semi-automatic gearbox. It is also equipped with top-of-the-line auto parts like plus safety features that include new ESP stability control that provides counter steering if ever the car detects that it's going to skid, six airbags and a brake assist.

The German automaker is still considering whether to bring the CrossGolf to the UK. If in case it does reach the American shores it will have a base price of ?16,500 which is about ?1,500 higher than the equivalent Golf Plus.