I recently wrote a blog entitled 'Why Can't I Ever Make My Bloody Mind Up About Cars' in which I spoke about the car enthusiast's curse of never being able to make a decision and stick to it. Well, this time I think I have.
I've owned my Audi TT 3.2 V6 for 8 months. I said it was a keeper and, all things being equal, it should be.
But all things aren't equal. When I bought it I was freshly single and wanted to buy a coupe that looked good - a result of which was tiny rear seats but I didn't care back then. I only needed to transport my son and the dog.
But times change and now I increasingly have a need for four seats, which is difficult in the TT. My 12 year old son and his best friend, who I ferry about from time to time, will fit in the car but one has to squash in the back and the other has to pull the passenger seat as far forward as it'll go.
Were someone else to travel in the TT then I'd have to push my seat all the way forwards and that's just not possible for a journey longer than a few minutes. If you've sat in the back of a TT you'll know it's pretty claustrophobic.
Four of us recently drove to Germany and back in a Range Rover Sport but I can't rely on having a press car all the time. When we next need to travel four up I might have to use my own car and that won't be much fun in a 2+2 coupe.
I'm going to have to buy something more sensible.
But what? God I've been over and over this question in my mind for ever. Not an estate - too big, too sensible, too fuddy duddy. Not a saloon - I might need to put the dog in the boot. Not a convertible for the same reason. Not an MPV - I have a soul. Not an SUV - I don't want one if it isn't a Range Rover or Volvo and I can't afford either.
It'll have to be a hatchback. Damn.
There are some good hot hatches out there but I cannot see past a Golf. BMW 1-series - great dynamics, looks like a pig. Audi A3 - bit too dull. Seat - if I buy VAG I'll buy German rather than Spanish. Renault - hahahaha. Alfa - LOL.
Nope, a Golf it must be. My budget will be £6k and for that I can afford a 2006 Golf GTI. This is the Mk5 and has the 2.0 turbocharged engine. It'll sit four in comfort and five at a pinch, the boot is pretty big and at the time Jeremy Clarkson said of it, "As a driver’s car the new GTI is just fantastic."
The big man isn't always right but in this case I'm pretty sure he is. Paul Eldred's 'Living With VW Golf GTI MK5' article for Speedmonkey is a must read for anyone interested in the Mk5 GTI. In it he says, "...the car has pretty good handling and lived up to the hype that was around when the car was launched."
The big problem I have with the Golf is that it's front wheel drive. My last few cars have been Audi TT (4WD), Porsche 924S (RWD), BMW 323i (RWD), Audi S4 (4WD), Golf V6 4Motion (4WD), Mercedes 300TE (RWD), Subaru Outback (4WD).
See a pattern emerging?
However, I think I'll be able to cope with a Golf GTI because it has such a good reputation as a driver's car. Also, I've driven an Astra VXR, Renaultsport 265 Megane and enough others to know that when the ingredients are right the car can be a great one, never mind the driven wheels.
It's a terrible time of year to sell a car so I'll wait until February, and then put the TT on the market.
Wish me luck.
If you've experience of a Golf GTI Mk5 please let me know what you thought of it.
NB - The photo is of Paul Eldred driving his Golf.
By Matt Hubbard