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Our Editors of sgCarMart and Torque take out both the all new Volkswagen Golf and the GTI just to argue which is the better choice.

21 May 2021


The VW Golf is meant to be a family-friendly car that will not cost an arm or a leg to maintain, Julian thinks


Of course I want to have a Volkswagen GTI. Why wouldn't I? It's like the epitome of a proper hatchback that every boy racer and fathers who are losing their minds with their kids want. It's mighty quick, looks good, handles well and rides comfortably! Perhaps that's why the car is such an icon and a cult car even after so many decades.

Julian will be proud and happy to own the new Volkswagen Golf - just look at his smirk!
But... and there's always a but... the car is going to set you back $205,900 (as of time of writing). Do you have any idea, in this time of pandemic, what such an amount can do for you? This isn't about saving the money to get you out of trouble if you're being filmed multiple times not wearing your mask. And it's also not about asking someone for their 'badge of authority' at a shopping mall

Oh no, boys... it's a lot more than that. I could well secure a down-payment for a house with this, or better yet, spoil my kids silly with the god-knows-how-many overrated indoor and outdoor parks, good food and throat-soaring snacks that they'll be begging me to put their masks on like every other law-abiding citizen who are doing their part to contain the mutated coronavirus.

Then again, even if I had that kind of money lying around in my bank account, not only would I be wearing a mask and stop making a fool of myself, I would get myself the all new Volkswagen Golf. Not the GTI, mind you, simply because there are repercussions that I may not be able to manage and handle. Yes, there are always repercussions.

The Golf holds its own around bends and offers a comfortable and assuring drive
Road tax, for example, will be a pain in the pocket for me. A 2.0-litre engine will burn through almost $1,200 a year, but a 1.5-litre engine like the regular Golf will only set me back almost $700. That's 58% worth of savings every year on what is already a liability.

However, that's just me. Of course I love cars and I completely adore my own, but I'm also a pragmatist and I'm particular when it comes down to 'dollar and sense'. The Golf GTI may have over 240bhp, which is all fine and dandy, but the regular Golf's 148bhp is more than sufficient for me to get from point to point without any drama and fuss.

And on that note of drama and fuss, there's the fuel consumption between these two cars. While I didn't have enough time with the cars to make my case, I'm sure the difference in fuel economy between the regular Golf with its 48V mild-hybrid engine and the GTI will be enough for me to put on my mask so that my smirk of dollar savings wouldn't be that obvious.

The new cabin is minimalistic and tech-heavy
By now, if you're already on my side about the regular Golf and wearing a mask and not embarrassing yourself about challenging citizens without badges, then things are going to get even better.

The Golf 8 is about as spacious and tech-savvy as the GTI. Since both the cars are based on the MQB platform, they are both pretty much similar, barring the engine. Of course, the steering wheel, the wheels, the colours and even the exhaust note are also different, but you'll get the same car shape, car brand, buttons, controls, knobs, and even space.

To me, that's good enough. You're in Singapore. If difference is what you're after, order a Toyota Century. If not, put on a mask like everyone else.

The Golf may be good enough for Julian, but Jeremy wants the GTI, which is great

The Golf and Golf GTI may look similar, mostly have the same equipment and offer the practicality of a five-door hatchback, but that is where their similarities end.

Jeremy loves the GTI and would love to buy one
Yes, the Golf GTI can also get you from one point to another. But how it goes about it - now that is the point here.

The Golf does it without fuss or drama, but I want my drive to be dramatic. There should be anticipation as I walk to the carpark and as I eagerly await the moment I can fire up the engine and drive off.

I love hearing the deeper and rortier exhaust notes. But more importantly, I am more compelled by how the car handles. With stiffer damping, quicker steering and stronger brakes, the Golf GTI can be tremendous fun to drive.

With 241bhp and 370Nm of twisting force, the GTI is just the better car to have, Jeremy reckons
And, of course, I also love having more power under my right foot. Julian says 148bhp is enough and that is true. But it is also a fact that for an enthusiast, 241bhp is just way better.

More power makes it easier - and safer - to overtake meandering traffic. Accompanied by an exciting soundtrack, every drive is almost guaranteed to be an entertaining one. In a Golf, I would need to rely more on my Spotify playlists for that.

And as we all know, an entertaining drive is priceless. If I had the money for a hot hatch today, the Golf GTI would be it because it is still the best all-rounder in its segment.

Cabin of the GTI is similar to the Golf, but way sportier... and cooler
Even if the Golf GTI's road tax costs 58% more than a Golf's, I say it is money well spent.

And yes, I agree that the Golf's fuel economy is going to trump the GTI's. But to me, all cars are designed to burn fuel anyway. If I was so concerned about consumption, then I might as well not drive.

Julian can smirk all he likes because of the money he will save. It's okay, he will be wearing a mask anyway. Anyway, after all the fun I will have in a GTI, I will be smirking under my mask, too.

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