The PH Fleet Golf GTI is a hard-worked car. We might not have quite piled the miles on at the rate we did during last month's road trip to Wolfsburg and Hockenheim, but we've still run a good 2,000 beneath its wheels in the past few weeks.
In fact, the keys to the Golf have been so in-demand that the indicated time until service ticked away to zero before I managed to book it in to our local VW dealer in Twickenham. I even had to drive around for a couple of hundred miles with the display on the instrument cluster telling me to 'service now!' in a distinctly admonitory way - so sorry for that Golf and VW...
When we did finally get it to the dealer - squeezed in last thing on a Saturday morning - the service was courteous and efficient (the valeters didn't even blanche at the horrific bird crap and road dust-covered state of the car), if not quite the cheapest experience in the world at £270.Then again that did include £42 for changing the wiper blades, and were we 'real' owners, we would probably have picked the £329 fixed-price service plan that covers the first three years or 30,000 miles of ownership. Also, in comparison with our old Land Rover Defender, which cost over £400 to service at a similar point in its life, the VW actually seems quite good value...
Back to work
Following its service, the Ed 35 was pressed immediately back into service for a long slog up the M6 to Cheshire to meet up with Neill Briggs, co-creator of the fantastic BAC Mono.
Even though we were there to sample the wonderful single-seater machine on the road (about which you'll be able to read on PH soon), it was great to see the Golf playing camera car and watching it sing for its supper - and amazing how much effort I had to put into driving the theoretically super-quick Mono to keep up with the enthusiastically driven Golf when the road opened up.
After buzzing around in the BAC for the day it was with some relief that I climbed back into the Golf for the trek back down south to Surrey. However good it is at playing the hot hatch, the Golf also makes a surprisingly effective and cosseting mile-muncher, a reminder that the GTI is still a master of all trades.
It's this mix of flingability and liveability that makes the Golf such a stunning all-rounder, and with the car due to leave us at the end of June, I'm left sorely worried about what will replace it...
Car: 2011 VW Golf GTI Edition 35
Run by: Riggers
On fleet since: December 2011
Mileage: 16,540 miles
List price new: £31,030 (inc. £1,770 infotainment pack and £440 for parking sensors front and rear)
Last month at a glance: To Wolfsburg, to Hockenheim, too many miles, too little time!
It's a visit back home for the trusty PH Golf GTI. And the opportunity to play 'beatthe nav'
Low-ish fuel economy's been bugging us, so we decide to try out the GTI's dieselcousin
Paris road trip proves GTI's impeccable cruising credentials
Golf GTI Edition 35 arrives, complete with wintry rubber
Winter tyres go south; the Golf proves a popular choice at PH HQ