The seventh- generation Volkswagen Golf has opened for ordering, with prices starting below those of the previous model, at £16,285 (RRP OTR) and rising to £24,880.
The latest Golf is lighter, safer, more advanced, more spacious, more efficient and better equipped than previous generations.
From launch, the Golf is available in the UK in three trim levels: S, SE and GT (GTI and BlueMotion models join the line-up in 2013).
Four petrol engines and two diesel engines are available, in either three- or five-door form.
The petrol engine range starts with a four-cylinder 1.2-litre TSI unit producing 85 PS, rising via a 1.2-litre TSI 105 PS and a 1.4-litre TSI 122 PS motor to the 1.4-litre TSI 140 PS with Active Cylinder Technology, which is capable of 60.1 mpg (combined cycle) and 110 g/km (with DSG gearbox), thanks to the ability to deactivate two cylinders under light loads.
The diesel engines at launch are a 1.6-litre TDI 105 PS and a new 2.0-litre TDI 150 PS unit.
Both feature the latest common rail diesel technology for maximum efficiency.
All Golf models come with seven airbags, including a driver's knee airbag, five three-point seatbelts, ABS with ESP, XDS electronic differential lock and Isofix preparation for two rear child seats.
The entry-level Composition Media system includes a 5.8-inch colour touchscreen, DAB digital radio, a CD player, MDI interface (for connecting iPod or MP3 player), Bluetooth telephone preparation and audio streaming and eight speakers.
Also standard is 'Climatic' semi-automatic air conditioning, among a host of other features.
Moving from S to SE trim brings a range of features, including standard ADC Automatic Distance Control with Front Assist and City Emergency Braking, which can bring the car to a halt if necessary, a Driver Alert System, PreCrash preventative occupant protection, Driver Profile Selection, rain-sensitive wipers, an automatically dimming rear-view mirror and dusk sensor (automatic driving lights).
The GT model comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, 'Cherry Red' rear light clusters, heat-insulating dark-tinted rear glass, electrically foldable door mirrors with puddle lights, and front and rear parking sensors with visual display. Inside are gloss black inserts, Alcantara and cloth sports seats, LED reading lights, ambient lighting and the Discover Navigation media system with 5.8-inch touchscreen.