Steering Column 22.08.08

Making Golf sexy

THIRTY-FOUR years and 26 million vehicles after Volkswagen put its first Golf hatchback out on the road, the sixth generation is about to be launched – and from the first pictures it looks gorgeous.

It seems to take some of its frontal styling themes from the company’s new coupe, the Scirocco, but it has still, clearly, evolved from its predecessors.

It’s a simple, un-cluttered design, well wheeled and with a scowling look across the front. The tail, on the other hand, is a lot less fresh and looks like it’s been on the road for 10 years. Described as being the safest, most technically advanced and the most dynamic incarnation, VW promises it is great value and will set benchmarks in quality, style and cleanliness of running.

Very few details are yet available as it has really just been unveiled, but we’re told the sporty theme is continued indoors and the interior is the most hushed Golf ever because of new mountings and sound deadening design features.

There are going to be four diesel and four petrol engines feeding power through a six speed manual or DSG gearbox.

For me though, I think it’s time to drop the name Golf. I know it’s taken on its own meaning in the car world, but it’s a tired old Pringle-pattern name that needs pensioning off. We can only pray the seventh generation takes on a whole new moniker.

Making a big Insignia

Vauxhall is releasing the first details of the estate version of its new Vectra-replacement family car series known as the Insignia.

Full details will be revealed at the Paris Motor Show in October, but again, the early pictures show great promise.

It will be known as the Sports Tourer, it will have many of the design themes of the newly launched hatch and saloon and the wheelbase will also be the same. It will only be available in the UK next spring and will have two new engines – a more powerful turbo-diesel and a small capacity turbo-charged petrol engine. There are also plans to build an ecoFLEX version with very low emissions and fuel consumption.

The pictures show a long, sleek looking car carrying a lot of class in its rising flanks, big wheelarches, raked rear windscreen and power-ful-looking creases and sculptings.

The range will have economical mile-munchers and more powerful versions better worthy of the Sport part of the Sport Tourer name.

The quickest will have a 2.8-litre V6 petrol engine turning out 258bhp which is enough to take the car to the 60mph mark in 6.7 seconds. We’re also told there’ll be front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive systems available.

This year’s Bond Ka

Ford is very good at product placement in blockbuster movies.

It was proud of getting the new Mondeo into the last James Bond film, despite the fact it hadn’t yet gone into production and would not be available to buy in the place it was seen driving.

Well they’re doing it again, this time with the next generation of the diminutive Ka hatchback.

In the next Bond movie Quantum of Solace the little three-door, with its new gaping front grille and arrowhead lights, will sadly not be the weapons platform of 007 himself, but it will be the chosen car of the film’s “beautiful but feisty” (aren’t they all?) leading lady Olga Kuylenko.

The car will be launched on the market later this year – Daniel Craig takes to the screen for a second time as the iconic secret agent at the end of October. The biggest mystery of the films for me is not how he gets his licence to kill, but how he keeps his licence to drive.

Mike Grundon


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