So, what topic is our publishing editor dealing with this month with The Management Fleet Volkswagen Golf. USB slots? Has he gone raving mad?
|Engine||Power||Torque||0-100kph||Top speed||Weight||Basic price|
|Inline 4cyl,1398cc||170bhp @ 4500rpm||270Nm (199lb ft) @ 1600rpm||8.4secs||212kph||1343kg (127bhp/ton)||$25,500|
|Kilometres this month:||841|
|Costs this month:||$0|
|L/100km this month:||6.2|
I never thought that, as I grew older, I would have such strong opinions on a subject as asinine as ‘USBs’. Seriously, I never saw it coming. But in an industry replete with USB kits from one press event / new model launch or another, it’s a subject I’ve become worringly well versed in. Think flash drives are all ‘long and thin’? Think again…
Take Volkswagen for example, who today favours the ‘credit card shape’ with a USB chip that slides out the top. Then there’s Audi, ever the purveyor of ‘clever packaging’ who favour small, foldaway kits that, inevitably, get left in your pocket when the laundry is done: ‘Vorsprung Durch…bollocks, need another one…’ Lamborghini, in a neat touch, often shapes its USB kits like the flagship Aventador, a technique occasionally employed by Porsche, whose ‘911’ shaped USBs even have working headlights. All very cool and elegant in their own ways. But, motoring manufacturers, did you stop to think how difficult it would be to plug two of these, side-by-side, into the same MacBook? No, you chuffing did not.
All this brings me, in a roundabout and probably pointless fashion, to our long term Volkswagen Golf, and the USB slot harboured within. In principal, it’s very practical, positioned as it is in the dashboard compartment behind the gear lever. In practice though, if you’re ‘blessed’ with gorilla-like mitts as I am, you’ll find it’s actually quite difficult for your hairy knuckles to reach it unless the gear lever is already in Drive. That is to say, whilst you’re already moving. Given that you’re no longer allowed to change radio stations without one focus group or another decrying your ‘deplorable driving’, I can’t imagine that will go down well.
Even if you do manage to plug said USB slot without careening into oncoming traffic, the cable will likely hang down the side of the passenger seat and, unbeknownst to you, wrap itself around the handle for the seat slider. Lift your phone to turn on Elle King (steady now), and you’re back to square one.
Granted, many of you could reasonably argue that I can avoid all this just using the onboard Bluetooth, which in fairness is pretty straightforward to use. This also offers access to Apple CarPlay, a system used across the VW Group board to access messages, contact lists and even some Apps on your iPhone. Again, it’s very clever, even if – when sending a text message through voice activation – you need to en-un-ciate ev-er-y woooord to…make…sure…yooour…tex-t…mess-age…is…co-rrect-ly…wri-tt-en by the onboard computer. And more often than not, the smug git won’t get it right, and you’ll end up just calling the person you need to speak with instead: ‘call…Bass-am…Kron…fli…No…call…”
I sense a phone call from VW is imminent (“call…Ja-mes Gent…no…”), but fortunately the Golf has impressed as well as infuriated this month. The BlueMotion four-cylinder still regularly pulls 650km from a full tank, and while there is a slight granulated feel to the ride quality, it’s certainly not enough to put us off long distance journeys in the Golf: the supportive seats are truly superb. The fit and finish of the cabin is beyond anything but petulant criticism – ah, the glamour of those suede-lined door pockets – and we’ve also found that two full-sized adults can actually fit quite comfortably on the rear bench, an achievement too many small hatchbacks cannot match.
I know, I know, I’m sorry. USB slots, Bluetooth and cabin comfort. crankandpiston‘s regularly scheduled tyre-squealing antics will return next month.
Technical specifications available on page 2