20-07-2005, 08:47 PM

Volkswagen today (20 July) scooped three top awards in Auto Express magazine’s annual New Car Honours – one for the new Passat and two for the Golf GTI. These important awards from Britain’s best-selling motoring weekly are chosen by its experienced road test team, which assesses hundreds of new cars each year.

The new Passat, launched last month in the UK, won the Family Car category. In both petrol and diesel guise, the new car impressed Auto Express in many areas: dynamics; cabin space; interior style; build quality; refinement; and technology were all highlighted among the new car’s attributes.

Available from just £14,995 RRP on the road, the latest Passat is a completely new vehicle compared with its predecessor, with a new chassis, new engines and advanced new technology such as an electronic parking brake, plus optional high-end 600 watt Dynaudio hi-fi system and Bluetooth telephone unit. There’s also more interior space thanks to increased exterior dimensions.

‘Enjoyable to drive, beautifully built, roomy, packed with technology and strong on safety the Passat is a great all rounder, brilliantly well suited to family or company car life.’ summarised Auto Express in its awards issue.

The Golf GTI is no stranger to awards – since its arrival at the start of this year, it has won outright Car of the Year awards from BBC Top Gear, Fifth Gear, The Mail on Sunday and The Sun. It has also taken the ‘Best Hot Hatch’ title in What Car? magazine’s Car of the Year 2005 awards.

Now Auto Express has added to the growing list by presenting the Golf GTI with not just one, but two category wins. The GTI scooped the Hot Hatch trophy, and also triumphed over a wide range of performance cars – some costing significantly more than the GTI – to take the Sporting Car category.

‘How highly do we rate the Golf GTI? Well, since the German hot hatch is picking up its second award, it’s safe to say that since its arrival, everyone on our test team who’s driven it, has loved it.’ enthused the magazine in its awards issue.

The Golf GTI, which starts at £19,995 (RRP on the road), features a sophisticated 2.0-litre FSI petrol engine using homogenous direct injection and turbocharging to achieve highly flexible power delivery – peak torque of 207 lbs ft is produced between 1,800 and 5,100 rpm. Yet despite this flexible quality, the new GTI is still exciting to take to the red line, where it produces virile performance.

Summing up the car’s twin triumph, Auto Express wrote: ‘Put simply the Golf GTI is a driver’s delight.’