Steering wheel controls
The leather trimmed steering wheel — standard throughout the Golf range — is a tactile delight and because it's not shiny and hard like many leather wheels, it's usable on even the coldest winter days.
Buttons for controlling the audio system's volume and the optional Bluetooth phone system are housed on the steering wheel's left spoke. The buttons for changing tracks or stations reside on the right spoke. However, because these buttons are also responsible for controlling the multifunction display, it's often easier to just fiddle with the audio head unit instead.
The standard grey interior has a rather bunker-like feel to it. The previous generation Golf brought us luxury-grade interiors at family hatch prices. Luxo features like the soft and squeezable dashboard, damped overhead grab-handles, slowly dimming interior lights and a lined glovebox remain, but there's now some hard, cheap-feeling plastic — some of which feature sharp mould lines — around the lower dashboard and centre console areas.
Although the rear bench is pretty flat, rolling around is kept to a minimum thanks to the car's suspension which keeps body roll in check. Head rests and ISOFIX mounting points for child seats are both standard and welcome.
It looks like an automatic transmission, but it's way more interesting than that. DSG stands for Direct Shift Gearbox and it combines the best parts of a normal automatic (namely, automatic gear shifting), a traditional manual (better responsiveness and fuel economy) and more (super-fast gear changes).
Danger, Will Robinson!
Depending on how the stars aligned, we would sometimes get a mysterious engine fault. When this gremlin was at play in the engine bay, throttle response was dulled and revs limited it to about 3,000rpm.
There's an engine somewhere
With the amount of plastic shrouding car makers put in modern engine bays it's sometimes hard to know what's lurking beneath. The GT Sport features a high power version (125kW of power and 350Nm of torque) of VW's 2.0-litre turbo diesel.
As part of the Golf's luxury pretensions, Volkswagen has lined the inside of the glovebox with imitation mouse hair. There's also a neat cubby (where the VW logo is) holding the car's instruction manual binder set.
The heat is on
The dual-zone climate control air-conditioning, which is a standard inclusion, successfully fought off winter, but the eight-speaker audio system was a disappointment with its flat sound. The audio system's large dot matrix display glows a pleasing shade of electric blue but is impossible to read with polarised sunnies.