Forget hybrids - today's diesels use as little fuel thanks to increasingly refined modern tech. Even their emissions are eco-friendly thanks to particulate filters fitted to the likes of this generation six Volkswagen Golf.
Its 2.0-litre common rail diesel engine delivers 103kW and a grunty 320Nm of torque, with power to the front wheels via VW's clever DSG double-clutch transmission. The seven-speeder fitted to the smaller engine can't cope with these torque numbers so this one gets six cogs. The combination works well, delivering an average 5.5l/100km on my hilly commute despite very little highway driving. Not bad given VW's claim is 5.4.
Punchy and frugal it may be, but it's not a petrol-head's delight and the handling is tuned to match. It's competent, confidence-inspiring, and with comfort optimised over hard-core at-the-limit skill.
So it comes as no surprise to discover the car's cabin and features list are also designed for easy living.
The interior's as restrained if smart as we expect from Golf, with nice detailing (a steering wheel filched from the up-market CC for example) and a generous specification list that includes stability control, ABS brakes, seven airbags, climate control air, fingertip-operated cruise control - there's even an underseat storage tray and a cooled glovebox.
Combine that with a 350-litre boot and you have practical motoring with an elegant edge, albeit at the upper end of this size bracket's price range. If nearly 50 grand is too rich for your blood, try the smart Hyundai i30 diesel instead.
See new and used Volkswagen Golf for sale here.