Golf driving range

Volkswagen Golf 2.0 TDI Comfortline

As our government refuses to sign the Kyoto Protocol and promises a nuclear future it looks like we’re all facing more global hypercapnia and ionizing radiation.

I personally receive more emails from doctors concerned about the environmental impact of cars than correspondence on any other topic.

So if we’re all so anxious about the planet that we live on are there any practical steps we can take right now for a cleaner and more sustainable future?

Leaving aside the obvious answer of walking or cycling everywhere, perhaps more of us should consider fuel efficiency as an important matter regardless of the current price of petrol at our local servo.

And if you’re not quite ready for a hybrid car and worried about the hidden environmental impact of farming ethanol it would be hard to go past one of those new high-tech diesel cars which just seem to run on the smell of an oily rag.

The Golf 2.0 TDI leads the bunch in this field for quite a few reasons.

For starters the trip computer will suggest a range of 1000 kilometres on a full tank and that means a trip from Sydney to Brisbane without a re-fill is very feasible.

The Golf’s engine management systems supply a miserly 4.5 litres for every 100 kilometres travelled or 63 mpg in non-SI units.

There is a 1.9 litre TDI for those that are even more frugal, but that 5% drop in displacement does lower power by 25% and torque by 22% so I’ll stick to my guns and insist that the 2.0 litre engine is the sweet spot in this range.

My test vehicle came equipped with a very clever 6 speed automatic and I really liked the intelligent dash-board display which lets you know what gear you’re in and the fuel gauge that doesn’t seem to move no matter how far you go.

On the down side this is a diesel car which sounds like a diesel, but once underway it feels like there are more horses under the bonnet and my wallet can easily get used to that fuel economy.

With maximum torque on tap from 1,750 rpm the diesel Golf gets away very nicely and pulls up hills like a train.

And it’s all very comforting to know that the diesel engine is producing 20% less CO2 than its petrol cousin with performance figures that are almost identical.

It looks as though Australian motorists are recognizing the benefits of diesel cars as three-quarters of all Golf’s sold here are oil-burners.

Australian Golf’s are made in South Africa and the laser welded bodies are put together perfectly.

VW claim that the body is strong enough that the Golf can be picked up by the door handles. I didn’t try this feature on my Golf, but this information may be comforting for doctors who’ll be loaning their Golf to their kids for schoolies week.

Golf’s also crash very well with a 5 star safety rating on Euro NCAP testing thanks to curtain air-bags, front and rear crumple zones and a high-tech passenger safety cell.

The cabin is surprisingly spacious and rear seat passengers also get ducted air vents.

For those doctors with small children the rear seats have steel backs for intrusion protection.

And the strength of those seats allows the baby capsule mounting points to be attached to the seats instead of having straps running across the floor of the boot where the pram should go.

The Golf is a very tidy package all round. There’s enough room in the back for three RMO’s and its environmental credentials are second to none.

Although it’s much more expensive than a Corolla it’s a far site cheaper than those other German cars and the engineering is just as good.

I want one!

Safe motoring,
Dr Clive Fraser

For: Well-engineered and practical.

Against: Much more expensive than a Corolla.

This car would suit: Byron Bay doctors who drive smokey Kombis.

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    Medical Motoring is an online record of the articles written by Dr Clive Fraser and published in the Australian Medicine magazine by the Australian Medical Association.