Car: 2016 Volkswagen Golf GTE
Owned since: March 2016
Previously owned: 1988 Ford Escort 1.4 Ghia, 1998 Peugeot 206 1.6 XS, 1996 BMW 328i coupe, 2001 VW Golf GTI 1.8T x 2, 1998 BMW 318i saloon and convertible, 1992 Honda Civic hatch, 2007 Peugeot 207 GT, 2011 Ford Focus 1.6 TDCI, 2002 BMW 320d
Also own: 1996 Mazda MX-5 1.8i
"I didn't, my company got it for me! I do about 25k miles per year and most of those are company miles out visiting sites and clients as a project manager. If we opt for a car allowance the rules mean the cars have to be no more than four years old at any time, which makes the choice of what to buy and run very limiting.
"The Golf was the best car on my company car list, unless I paid for an upgrade. The rest of the list was a choice of Skodas, Audi A3s, the Mercedes A-Class and some other stuff too boring to think about. It is also (being a plug-in hybrid) very cheap on the company car tax which sealed the deal for me."
What I wish I'd known:
"That the BMW 330e would be added to the company car choices list a few months later and that the Car-Net app cannot be retrofitted to the car unless you have a certain stereo (which I don't have)."
"The amount of torque available, with the mixture of the turbo and the electric motors, means that on A- and B-roads I can make really good progress with the GTE button pressed. It was also the first brand new car I have ever had, so it was nice to choose colours and pick options, although I didn't choose many as I don't like the way we have to pay for them upfront and then get taxed on the value of them too! The e-diff or whatever it's called is also pretty effective, in faster or tighter corners it is noticeable, braking the inside wheel to help slingshot you through the corners. The standard adaptive cruise control is also a licence saver and makes the long trips to Scotland and the North for work so much better."
Things I hate:
"The stereo which keeps muting itself, requiring me either to turn it off and back on before it starts working again or restart the engine on some occasions. I've taken it to the main dealer three or four times now and they still can't sort it. VW UK has been rather unhelpful, having refused to replace the unit and not even responding to my emails beyond asking for my phone number. I would have liked the lower suspension from the GTI, other than that I thought some of the options were a bit too expensive to be justified (sat-nav and heated seats) and I was not paying for them myself."
"Zero... to me anyway (other than tax). But it has needed two sets of front tyres in 20K miles and two services, but nothing other than that."
Where I've been:
"The North Coast 500 with my friend in his MR2; we also did Skye on the same trip and had a great time, we both said the west coast is much better than the east as the scenery was stunning. I've also done a couple of trips to Wales with some friends with much more powerful cars but surprisingly they could not shake me due to the strong torque of the GTE. As I said I cover about 25K miles per year so I try to pick some interesting routes when I have time or choose a hotel which gives me access to nice roads on those summer evenings."
"Tough question; I bought an MX-5 in January which is a lot of fun and absorbing most of my funds, so the GTE has been relegated to everyday car duties only. If I buy my own car I would happily buy a Golf GTI as it's so competent, well judged in terms of size and quick enough to be fun. Having recently been fortunate enough to drive an M2 for the day I know that I personally don't feel the need for more power though... and that really surprised me!"