The greenest of Golfs

We all need to do our bit to keep ourselves and this planet all in one piece, writes Matt Joy. And it is the little things that make the difference, because simply ceasing to use fossil fuels and powering everything by wind simply isn't feasible.

We all need to do our bit to keep ourselves and this planet all in one piece, writes Matt Joy. And it is the little things that make the difference, because simply ceasing to use fossil fuels and powering everything by wind simply isn't feasible.

So what are you going to do about it? Well choosing the right car could go a long way to helping out, especially as it could mean gains for you as well as the environment. Step forward then the Volkswagen Bluemotion. You've probably seen the Bluemotion tag before: it's worn by the most fuel-efficient vehicles in the VW range.

There was a Bluemotion version of the last generation Golf and now we're on to the Mark VI there's a new one to get excited about.

The Mark VI is slickly styled and understated in that typical VW way, and the minimal amount of flash makes for a classy appearance.


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The same goes for the cabin. Volkswagen engineers must dread having to create a new cabin, because it involves squeezing even more quality and attractive design into the layout than before and the Bluemotion is not lacking any of the equipment of its equivalents.

In fact, this time around there's the option of a 'Bluemotion Technology' version of the Match, SE and GT trims, but it is the proper Bluemotion model that offers the biggest savings. There's semi-auto climate control, heated electric door mirrors, a good quality stereo and the all-important trip computer - important because the fuel economy is something you'll want to be keeping an eye on.

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The Bluemotion uses a 103bhp version of the 1.6-litre common rail diesel you can get elsewhere in the Golf range, and even in standard form it offers some impressive numbers: 62.8mpg on the combined cycle if you're careful. But where the Bluemotion earns its badge is in the clever tech designed to extract every last mile from your litre of diesel. Firstly there's the exterior tweaks, smoothing the car's airflow and reducing drag. Lowering the suspension by 15mm is a part of this too, as are the low rolling resistance tyres.

Under the bonnet there are further tricks, including the stop-start system, which automatically switches the engine off in traffic when you are stationary with the car in neutral and the clutch out. Press the clutch again and it instantly fires up, which can save as much as 15pc in dense traffic. There is also regenerative braking, which maximises the battery charge through the alternator when braking and minimises it at other times, reducing drag on the engine. The gear ratios have also been tweaked, with longer third, fourth and fifth gears to reduce engine revs for a given speed. If you're in a hurry, the Golf Bluemotion will oblige. Its top speed of 118mph is actually 1mph quicker than the regular 1.6 diesel. It may be a miserly engine, but there's still 185lb.ft of torque available to get you where you're going.

But to drive the Bluemotion with your foot down is to miss the point, and ignore its true purpose. Instead, drive with efficiency in mind: smoothly, with small throttle inputs, good anticipation and without harsh braking. If that sounds a bit dull, it doesn't have to be: avoiding coming to a halt as if you're re-creating the movie Speed can be as much of a challenge as setting a quick lap around Silverstone, except the reward is sailing past the next filling station.

The Golf Bluemotion can travel almost 900 miles on a tank if you're careful, and the headline C02 figure of 99g/km means it costs nothing in road tax or the congestion charge. It does have all the bases covered.

VOLKSWAGEN GOLF BLUEMOTION 1.6 TDI

Vw Golf Bluemotion 1.6 TDI five-door: �18,685

Engine: 1.6-litre diesel engine producing 103bhp and 185lb.ft of torque

Transmission: Five-speed manual gearbox driving the front wheels

Performance: 0-62mph 11.3 seconds; top speed 118mph

Economy: 74.3mpg

Emissions: 99g/km

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