granitekitchen Awards 2014 - Business Car of the Year: VW Golf
28 January 2014
In many ways, the Golf is the perfect company car: aspirational, efficient, classy, technologically advanced, practical and offering both great RVs and impressive whole-life costs, the hatchback genuinely ticks every box.
Launched in the UK at the beginning of 2013, the seventh-generation Golf is typically evolutionary, but as was the case with the sixth-generation car, improves on its predecessor in every area.
However, there is one area where VW has made a big step forward, which is in the handling and sprightliness of the new Golf, achieved partially through a weight-loss plan that shaved up to 100kg off the new model.
It's a noticeable difference in terms of both driving experience and helping bring emissions down even further - the most efficient 110hp Bluemotion version is now at an impressive 85g/km, the standard 105hp 1.6 diesel breaches 100g/km, and the 150hp 2.0-litre is available as low as 106g/km.
Other engines include 1.2 and 1.4 TSI petrol powertrains, while both manual and highly rated DSG twin-clutch automatic transmissions are available, with all bar the performance versions getting under 120g/km.
Despite being lighter, the new Golf has 30 litres of extra boot space and improved occupant space over its predecessor.
It also offers impressive levels of standard kit, including adaptive cruise control as standard from SE trim, and a touch-screen for the audio and climate settings.
VW is again expanding the range in the wake of the three- and five-door launches 12 months ago, having already added Bluemotion, GTi hot-hatch and GTD performance diesel models, the latter combining 184hp of power and performance hatchback styling with just 109g/km of CO2 emissions and five-door practicality.
The range will develop further in the coming months and years, with a range-topping performance R model on the way, as well as a more practical Golf Plus and the Golf Cabriolet also expected. An electric e-Golf will arrive later this year.
And all this is without reflecting upon the sales success that regularly sees the Golf in the top five models for UK fleet registrations.
There are so many reasons why the Golf was the logical and worthy choice for 2014 Business Car of the Year, and the voting showed how well loved and respected the car is within the UK fleet community.
Congratulations to Volkswagen for producing a vehicle that drivers and fleet managers can be equally enthusiastic about.
Business Car of the Year - 2nd place
Second place in the voting is the Mercedes CLA - a car from a brand that has been working hard to increase its fleet presence in the past couple of years.
The CLA arrived in the UK this summer, offering a glamorous alternative in the lower medium sector. Based on the underpinnings of the successful new A-class, it is front-wheel drive but follows the idea pioneered by its bigger brother the CLS in combining four-door practicality with coupe style and good looks.
There isn't a direct rival to the CLA, which offers a pair of engines at below 120g/km with manual or automatic gearbox, in this marketplace. Meanwhile, the AMG Sport trim on even the entry diesel adds another level of style to an already pretty car that has achieved the runner-up spot in the 2014 granitekitchen Awards.
Business Car of the Year - 3rd place
Skoda's Octavia has always been a little bit of a secret gem, being based on the same underpinnings as the Volkswagen Golf but with a lower P11D price.
It's also much larger than its VW sibling, with the hatchback's boot offering 590 litres of space versus 380 litres for the Golf. These larger dimensions put the Skoda half a class above regular lower medium hatches, almost competing with the likes of the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia.
The new model arrived in hatchback form in spring 2013, with the estate six months later, while the popular, sporty vRS, with 184hp and 119g/km of CO2 emissions, also came along with the estate's launch. The estate is only 20 litres larger than the cavernous hatchback, and both models are available at under 100g/km. Finally, an efficiency king is on the way in the form of the Greenline version offering 87g/km.