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The new VW Golf is a perfect evolution of the species

For decades the VW Golf has been the go-to car for those looking for an efficient hatchback. The new one? Well, Volkswagen's done it right for a seventh time.

Now playing: Watch this: The New Volkswagen Golf: An Icon Evolved.

The Volkswagen Golf is, without a doubt, one of the most iconic cars ever made. For nearly four decades it's been bimbling around our roads ferrying families, middle managers, new drivers, and pretty much anyone, actually, to their destinations.

It launched in 1974 as a successor to the Volkswagen Beetle. The Bug's rear-engine/RWD setup wasn't the most reliable of things, and consumers wanted something that was more likely to, erm, work. Using FWD know-how from recently acquired Audi, VW set to work designing its new do-all motor, the Golf.

It had to look good, carry things, and be fun to drive. You know, it had to be the best thing since sliced bread and not break. The car was an instant hit with pretty much everyone and swiftly became an icon.

The thing about the Golf, see, is that it's classless. It doesn't matter whether you're landed gentry or a knuckle-dragger; behind the wheel of a Golf everyone is the same. Being truly classless is a tricky thing to pull off, but the Volkswagen's tactic with the Golf is pretty clever.

The Golf is neither boring nor stunning; it's not flashy and it doesn't look like it'd be at home in a cork factory. It's not too expensive and not underwhelmingly underpriced. Like Goldilocks' breakfast it's just right and accessible to everyone.

At least that's classically been the case. What about the new Golf, the Mk VII?

Based on the VW Group's shiny new MQB platform, the new Golf offers everything you could hope for: tech, solid looks, efficiency, a fantastic drive, and, of course, a slinky VW badge to sit on your drive. Also, while it may be criticized for being a bit "boring," you have to admit that even before you see the "Golf" badge you knew exactly what car it is; its design DNA is very, very strong.

You don't have to drop that much cash on it, either; in the U.K. it starts at just £16,285 ($25,000 U.S.). In Stella Artois terms, it's reassuringly expensive -- not too much for the majority, not too little for the well-to-do.

That's what a Golf should be, though: not too much and not too little, the perfect balance of price and ability. The new Volkswagen Golf will do very well indeed and is a worthy successor to the car that launched nearly four decades ago. Ignore, dismiss, and mock at your peril.