Photos by Adrian Wong
I have always fancied convertibles for how sleek and stylish they look, with some compromise on the practicality factor mostly due to limited backseat and boot space. But here comes along a practical and cute cabriolet that I was so reluctant to return at the end of the test drive.
Launched to the public last October, the Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet is pretty much as its name suggests –the signature Golf hatchback from the German carmaker but with a retractable soft roof. This soft top takes nine seconds to be brought down fully, 11 seconds to be brought back up and can be done driving at speeds up to 30km/h so you don’t have to rush to pull over by the road side completely in times of rain.
The Golf Cab was dropped in 2002, 23 years after it was brought onto the market in 1979. After its disappearance, Volkswagen’s next cabriolet product model was the EOS with its hard top for the coupe-cabriolet style. I’m glad the Golf Cab was revived and re-introduced back into Volkswagen’s line-up. I genuinely enjoyed the drive – if you are a fan of the Golf, then it is not difficult to like the Golf Cab.
It has proper space for four people and while most cabriolets are selfish cars for only two, the Golf Cab is a true family car with proper handling. At speed, there was no shakes or scuttles with the car in both situations with the roof up and the roof down. The rigidity of the Golf Cab is impressively solid, making tricky bends and turns easy to negotiate.
The 1,390cc twincharged Golf Cab and its seven-speed dual-clutch transmission shares the same performance figures as the Jetta 1.4 TSI that I test drove not too long ago – maximum power of 160bhp at 5,800rpm, maximum 240Nm of torque between 1,500 and 4,500rpm. Taking 8.4 seconds to hit 100km/h from a standstill, the Golf Cab can reach a top speed of 216km/h.
The Golf Cab’s predecessors had references to a “strawberry basket” but now it has no more roll bar and has a clean and simple design that would not make you frown and would not make jaws drop. Safety equipment is high for the Golf Cab with its anti-lock brakes with brakeforce distribution and emergency assist, stability and traction control.
There may be no more roll bar but in its place is a pop-up rollover protection system that springs up quickly from behind the rear head restraints. There are also five airbags – dual front, front side and even a driver’s knee bag. The usual bells and whistles of the Golf Cab include auto-dimming rear view mirror, automatic wipers and automatic headlights. Getting in and out of the Golf Cab is made simple with the standard Easy Entry function in the front seats.
If I daresay, the Golf Cab would be more of a ladies’ car, but I’m sure it is easy to score with the guys as well. After all, who can resist a car that’s fun to drive, practical and catered for all ages?
Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet 1.4 TSI (A)
At A Glance:
Engine: 1,390cc twincharged
Performance: 160bhp/5,800rpm, 240Nm/1,500-4,500rpm, 0-100 8.4 secs
Top Speed: 216km/h
Transmission: Seven-speed dual clutch transmission
Price with COE: S$149,800
Testdrive & Enquiries: Volkswagen Group Singapore
(+) Probably the most practical cabriolet I’ve ever driven
(-) Not of a stylish design that most convertibles usually are
Verdict: It’s the kind of car that everyone in the family will like.