Volkswagen’s new Golf has been presented with the Auto Express Compact Family Car award, beating the previous winner, the Ford Focus, as well as the new Vauxhall Astra.

Oliver Marriage, road test editor at Auto Express, summed up the reasons for the Golf’s success: ‘With the Mk V, Volkswagen has taken all the strengths of the old car and wrapped them up in an even more desirable package. The new car isn’t just a great ownership prospect, but good to drive and practical too.’

The latest Golf is a completely new vehicle compared with its predecessor, with a new chassis, new engines and new technology such as FSI (direct injection petrol) engines and DSG (direct shift gearbox). The expert Auto Express judging panel was particularly impressed with the new generation’s dynamic behaviour: ‘The new car’s chassis is superb – it absorbs bumps well at speeds, yet corners with real confidence. There’s a compliance and maturity to this car not seen elsewhere in the class. Coupled with direct steering, it allows you to have fun but cruise in comfort.’

The magazine also praised the Golf’s spacious interior, commenting that ‘build quality is as good as ever and the cabin is still classically appointed, with a superbly laid out centre console’.