Golf bits

The Car    Handbrake    Gear-lever    Lights    Wipers    Indicators    Mirrors, Windows and Locks    Steering Wheel    Adaptive Cruise Control    Instrument Cluster Menus   
Heat/Vent/Aircon    Infotainment System    Servicing   

After 12 very enjoyable years I take the difficult decision to sell the ZS 180. It's now a classic in its own right, with the increasing care and attention that involves, and whilst I continue to be happy to work on the car parts are getting more difficult to come by - a rebuilt rear caliper needed to pass the MOT had to come from Estonia! - and even something simple like exhaust parts took some tracking down. There would come a day when something essential would need replacement and she would be out of action for some time. And as a foul weather car for use when conditions aren't good enough for either Bee or Vee, i.e. predominantly the winter, and she is kept and worked on outside, that's really not on. So on 27th July 2020 I sell her to someone who proposes to bring her back close to as-new condition.

As soon as the ZS had passed her MOT and I could start to think about listing her I started seriously looking for a replacement although I had been pondering it for a while. I'd like a Jag XE, but at 71 out of 100 for reliability in one review I was wary of taking the risk. Reliability being key it had to be something German or Japanese, and I simply can't countenance anything of the latter for historical reasons. I know I had a Celica for a while but that was 'inherited' from our son so didn't count. Can't stand Audi or BMW which leaves Mercedes and VW. I hired a Golf many years ago and was very impressed with the ride quality as much as anything else, didn't want to go mad with engine spec, and diesel was out, so a 1.4 TSI was pencilled in, although Golf styling is pretty bland especially compared to some offerings these days. Mercedes wouldn't normally have been in the running as for many years they were either large and outrageous or large and dull, but I started noticing the A-Class around and about as having more interesting styling and a reasonable size, although the front grilles have been getting more 'in yer face' year by year. Found a Golf at Stratford on Avon and hopefully an A-Class in Solihull to look at on successive days.

The car

Irritations

First sight (you know what they looks like) of the Golf I was quite impressed - Limestone Grey which has a hint of brown in silver-grey, better than plain silver or grey and I wasn't keen on any other colour. Even more impressed inside with the main controls very well laid out - lighting switch with instrument dimming to the right of the steering wheel, the usual column stalks, steering wheel with horn push positioned much more conveniently than the ZS, and heater controls in the centre. Manual air-con i.e. no climate control like the ZS but I think I can live with that. It does have individually heated front seats although with cloth and not leather there won't be much call for it. The sort of layout that you could get in and drive off immediately - with the exception of the electric handbrake. However even that was just a matter of lifting up a flap to apply, and pressing it down to release, so not that different from a conventional lever ... or so I thought. 3 1/2 years old with average mileage and very good condition inside and out. Test drive started off finding the position of the steering wheel didn't suit, but soon found the up and down adjustment. Still not ideal but then found the fore and aft adjustment as well, which together with seat base and backrest adjustments got me perfectly comfortable. Navigator complained during the first decent run until I discovered her lumbar support full on and mine off, and with hers off she was happy. Some people must have strange backs, we've never had a problem in umpteen cars but I know others have to use different seats and modify then, or spend tens of k on a modern and have to stand up and walk around for a while after a longish drive. Pedal positions good. Picks up well, no sign of any accident damage in boot or bonnet, we get a good impression from JMC Stratford, and we are quite tempted. It's the first and only car we have looked at, but when you find something that seems to suit in every respect, and it's not like there is a shelf-full of identical items, what can you do? So we bought it there and then. Maybe an A-Class next time.

Got a good deal from Footman James with their Flex policy that will cover all three cars whereas they wouldn't include the ZS previously. 30 per year Road Tax - a bit of a change from the 325 of the ZS!, and pick it up a couple of days later. One of the first things I noticed is that unlike the ZS where the fuel gauge continued to register with the ignition off, this one drops to zero. But as it rises very quickly with the ignition on, unlike the MGBs, it's no hardship. The following week we have a few days planned in the Lake District, which would normally be a good opportunity to try it out and find any niggles, but as usual Vee gets the job and the Golf will just have to wait. One almost immediate drawback is that being relatively anonymous I have to remember exactly where I parked it, unlike any of the cars I've had over the past decades.

Irritations:

  • This started off as a rant about the useless screen demisting in cold/damp weather, but the main reason for that seems to be the huge amounts of condensation that develops inside all the windows. The carpets are dry all round with no sign of water in the car, not leaving damp dusters in there, but the screens particularly the front aren't just misting-up overnight but developing droplets so big they run down the screen and that after just two short trips in cold and damp weather, it wasn't even raining. There are loads of complaints about this on Golf 7 fora as well as the poor demisting.
  • Just like the ZS, if you park with the steering wheel straight ahead the steering lock and ignition switch is completely covered by the large right-hand steering wheel spoke and you have to peer over, under or round it or fumble to get the key in.
  • For some unknown reason - and only on the driver's side - there is an angled 'shelf' alongside the throttle pedal at the same angle and position when the pedal is released, and with my broad feet I find my self trying to press that down and wondering why the car is barely moving! When looking at the then new ZR/S/T I found that the ZR and even the ZT footwells were really cramped compared to the ZS, which was one of the reasons I had the ZS (the other being the six cylinders ...) The Golf footwell is certainly not cramped, but that 'shelf' is an additional piece on the drivers side, I have no idea what for, and it just gets in the way.
  • With six forward gears plus reverse there are four fore and aft slots with only a small space between them for gear lever movement, and it's all too easy to select 1st when you want reverse or 2nd when you want 1st. The first one is not so bad as the reversing system beeps, so that is what I have to look out for now. However the corollary of that is moving from reverse to 1st it's possible to go back into reverse again, and this time there is no audible warning. There seems to be a push-down detent that should prevent that, but it must offer a very light resistance - for someone having spent half a lifetime driving MGBs anyway.
  • The steering wheel has high-gloss surfaces on the upper parts of its main 'spokes' which reflect the wipers going across and back across the screen every time. Not too bad when they are running continuously but on intermittent which in very light rain can be very intermittent, it does distract me.
  • I've always logged the trip and total mileage at each refuelling, writing the numbers down before driving off if on my own, or reading them out to the Navigator otherwise. But you don't get the trip reading until the ignition is on, then a couple of seconds later the total mileage goes off, even though the two are in different parts of the display. So this old dog is going to have to learn the new trick of writing down the total mileage first, then switching on and writing down the trip. Also the trip reset button acts instantly so even catching it is enough, not after holding it down for a short period as it was on the ZS. The trip reset is used to cancel warnings and reminders such as for the service intervals by holding it down for longer. Whilst doing that the trip reading goes back to 0.0 which would be annoying if it stayed like that, but it returns to the correct value when released.
  • Which leads me on to resetting service reminders. The one for the Intermediate Inspection came on recently, which was done by the dealer who sold the car. According to the book you can reset them by holding down the trip reset button while turning on the ignition then you release the button. You are then asked if you want to reset the reminder and if you do you press the trip reset button again. That message went off ... but on turning off the ignition the same reminder came up again, ditto turning the ignition back on again. Checking three videos on YouTube and trying again it became apparent that you are asked if you want to reset the oil reminder first even though that wasn't coming up. You have to keep the trip reset button pressed until asked if you want to reset the intermediate service reminder, then release the trip button, then when asked again press it again, and that worked.
  • Then I started getting a warning to change the key fob battery (CR2025) ... until it stopped. Normally I use the same key fob and keep the spare further back in the drawer. Turning on the ignition with either key fob showed the warning, until I realised it's probably associated with unlocking the car, and that did show the warning with the one fob but not the other. However both fobs still worked from right at the back of the tandem garage with the car out of sight, so it's hardly on its last legs. The ZS only ever worked within a few feet of the car, personally I think long-distance working is a bit of a risk if you drop the keys, someone will soon find out which car they are for even in a large car park. You need a bit of a tool kit to change the battery, as although another key can be used to flip open the case, you need a very small screwdriver or similar to flip the cell out of its holder.
  • Finally (?) three with the sun visors, one of which is really annoying. Can only be pulled down with the left hand (in an RHD) whereas I've always been able to use my right hand on any other car. Part two of this irritation is that having pulled the visor down with the left hand, one then has to switch hands to swing it round to cover the driver's side window. And part three is that because of the width of the roof console which projects down behind the screen, the visors are significantly shorter than any other car I've had and don't cover enough of the side window against the strobing flicker that comes through trees when the sun is fully side-ways on!

500 pages in the main drivers handbook and almost another 80 for the Infotainment centre takes some wading through, so I opt to dip in as and when I need to find something out. One of the problems is that the books cover all possible options on that particular version of the Golf 7, so first you have to work out whether your car has that option before you can find out how to use it! Also there are so many different variants beyond what is in the manual that Googling even 'Golf 7 (function name)' can come up with things that simply don't apply. Sometimes despite the size of the manual you still can't work something out, one example was to do with shuffle mode and music files - I could see the screen and the option to select ... but there was no clue as to how one got to that screen! Another concerned the USB port, and is best summed-up by one person posting on a Golf 7 forum "OK, I give up, where is the USB port?" (in the cubby under the heater controls). Yet another concerned the sat nav SD card, lots of info on how to update it, but it didn't tell where it is (in the glovebox). One amusing feature is before almost every subject the statement "(subject name) cannot overcome the laws of physics" i.e. "if you prang it don't blame us".

Handbrake:

The electronic handbrake took some getting used to. I'd heard from others that these allow the car to roll back when trying to pull away on an incline, and it did. The problem is that as soon as you start lifting the clutch the handbrake comes off, but until you lift the pedal further to the biting point the car rolls if on a slope. I discover that if you hold the lever up it keeps the handbrake applied until you release it so much like a manual handbrake (a bit like a fly-off in fact) and OK as far as it goes, but being so small and having to get a couple of fingers under it just doesn't come to hand as easily and has to be consciously thought about, unlike a manual handbrake which is big enough to grab hold of without thinking about it. It's not helped by the handbrake coming on automatically - which is fine in itself, but removes half of the occasions you use it so doubling the familiarity time. I dare say I would get used to it but I don't like having to focus on something inside the car just as I'm about to pull away. Immediately aft of the handbrake switch is an Auto Hold button, which can be used in conjunction with the handbrake switch, and it wasn't immediately clear what that is for and exactly how it is to be used. After puzzling through the book, and reading and watching on-line info (of limited help), and experimenting, I discover that if you switch Auto Hold on, you don't have to touch either of them again - except perhaps on a very steep hill and we don't have any of those round here. When you come to a halt including with Stop/Start the handbrake comes on, and as you start to drive off it goes off. Where Auto Hold comes in is that it seems to prevent the roll-back between starting to lift the clutch pedal and reaching the biting point. And since then I haven't touched either control.

But subsequently trying various things on a hill I discovered it would still roll as you lift the clutch pedal ... unless you apply the footbrake when starting the car, or before attempting to drive off. It looks like Auto Hold then keeps the footbrake applied after the handbrake has come off, until the clutch has starts to bite, and you can pull away without rolling back, and it begs the question why isn't the handbrake like this anyway? Subsequently I discover that if creeping up a slope you have to apply the footbrake, if you just dip the clutch to come to a halt it will roll back. That's only to be expected but unlike a conventional handbrake where the lever comes to hand easily you would have to grab for the little switch lever. Even then, on a steepish slope whilst Auto Hold keeps the footbrake on until it feels the clutch is biting, it will still roll back a smidgen immediately before you start moving forwards. If you turn off the ignition with Auto Hold in effect you can hear the handbrake come on then Auto Hold goes off, with a little jolt. It does the same if opening a door with the engine running, and there are other occasions where the handbrake and Auto Hold interact ... best not to think about them and hope VW have done a good job on the software logic.

Gear lever:

Six buttons round the six-speed gear lever, but only three functions available here. 'MODE' selects the driving Profile between Comfort, Normal, Sport and Eco. I had a go switching between Normal and Sport but didn't notice any difference, so leave it in Sport. That's a relative term, while it picks up well initially it seems to run out of grunt quite quickly, a bit like a diesel, and the reverse of what I'd expect for a turbo in that there is no turbo-lag that I'm aware of. But then some time later it seems to be picking up well and keep going, even in 'Normal' mode. Maybe I've just forgotten what the ZS was like and haven't been driving the V8 enough.

Below that the button for Start/Stop which so far I always leave engaged. It won't activate until you have been driving for a certain length of time, and in heavy traffic eventually the function will be disabled, both to protect the battery, and in the latter case maybe the starter from overheating although restarting is pretty-well instantaneous. It's a bit random though, sometimes it doesn't seem to work at all even after several minutes, and at others starts working quite soon after pulling away.

Bottom right is for Park Pilot which gives audible and graphical indications of obstructions when manouvering. This manually turns it on and off, but it also comes on automatically when selecting reverse or when close to an obstacle. I haven't yet experimented but from reading the manual it may be that if the audible and visual warning are currently on because of an obstruction it turns them off, although if you move the car sufficiently to have turned them off automatically, but then approach an obstacle again, they will come back on again as if they had not been manually turned off.

Lights:

As 'driver aids' have proliferated I was of the opinion that motor manufacturers were desperate to come up with a USP (although they were all adopting them), and nannying people so they took less and less interest in actually controlling their car, reducing driver attention in the process, and I wouldn't use them as I'll be the judge of when to turn things on and off. Even VWs own video on adaptive cruise control states it "... helps busy drivers maintain distance and speed automatically." Busy drivers? Surely maintaining a safe speed and distance is the driver's primary role! But I find myself using them, and see no reason to turn Stop/Start off. As for the rest it has occurred to me that insurance companies might take a dim view in the event of a claim if they have found them to be turned off.

But I find myself leaving the lighting switch in the 'automatic' position! This turns the parking, headlights and instrument lighting on when external light levels drop, the 'parking light' symbol shows green when they have been turned on manually or automatically, and I still check that it does show green when I think they do need to be on. However they would still need to be turned on manually when driving in bright daylight fog or road spray, so Auto maybe not such a good idea as it means you may forget to turn them on having been lulled into a false sense of security by them going on and off automatically with changing light levels. Rear fogs available pulling the control out one click, adding front fogs with a second click, whenever the ignition is on. Headlight 'range control' on the left to set the beam range according to the load being carried. Some cars have the instrument lighting level control here, but with headlamp range control here instrument illumination can be set through the Infotainment system. Almost everything has detailed settings controlled via the Infotainment system as well as their primary controls, and a lot more besides, but my personal view is that such adjustments when underway are very distracting and potentially dangerous.

Wipers:

The automatic wipers were excellent in varying and torrential rain on the first decent trip. I've not found them coming on from being completely off yet, before I feel I need to clear the screen, but once positioned to the 'slowest' intermittent position they are then completely automatic, increasing the frequency of the sweeps in light rain, automatically increasing and reducing the frequency and speed as needed. Leaving them in the 'slowest' position keeps them off until some rain is detected, even on restarting the car after having been parked. The usual flick, off, intermittent, slow and fast settings using the stalk up and down, a slider button on the top to set the intermittent rate, pull the stalk for momentary front wash/wipe, push one position for rear wipe, a second push momentarily for rear wash/wipe.

Indicators:

The indicator/main/dip/flash stalk is pretty-well bog-standard with the addition of a parking light function, but thankfully stays in the selected position until cancelled, and not those awful push one way to indicate then you have to push the other way to cancel, quite often I see cars repeatedly indicating one way then the other while the driver is trying to cancel them but overdoing the movement. A partial movement of the stalk not enough to cause the stalk to latch flashes the indicators three times, which in my opinion is not sufficient for any manouvere these days when there is so much going on and driver attention being what it is.

By leaving the indicator stalk switched to the left or the right the parking lights will remain illuminated that side when you leave the car. Not so new, I remember a boss having a new Cortina in the 1970s where he complained that the ammeter showed a discharge while it was parked ... until the dealer pointed out just this feature! If the light switch is left in the parking light position then both sides will be illuminated when you leave the car, but there is a safety feature in that they will be switched off automatically to prevent the battery becoming discharged ... as long as there is enough power in the battery to keep them on for more than 2 hours in the first place. The automatic switch off can occur up to 16 hours if both sides are left on, or up to 32 hours if one side is left on.

Mirrors, Windows and Locks:

Door mirror and central locking controls by the driver's door handle. As well as being able to position the mirrors by turning the rotary control and moving it up, down and sideways like a joystick, there is a heating function available lower right, and a position at the lower left that manually tucks the mirrors in when squeezing through a narrow gap. There is an Infotainment setting to synchronise both mirrors - I suppose if someone has moved them it saves two lots of adjustment if you are already underway. Another setting dips the passenger mirror to look at the curb when reversing, and the position is stored with the key so two people using two keys can have different settings - however I discovered that is only if the switch is turned to the passenger mirror, otherwise it doesn't move. That gets over what would otherwise be an irritation if the mirror always dipped when reversing out of a 'perpendicular' parking space so you can't see what is behind you.

Automatic locking of the doors when underway, but unlike the ZS being in the centre console where the passenger could unlock them if being dropped off, the Golf buttons are at the front of the driver's armrest so the driver has to do it - or at least they would but the internal handles still open the doors, and with the first pull of the handle not with two as some marques need. However that seems to be only if the doors have been locked automatically i.e. when driving off. I keep getting a message about 'Safelock' which apparently disables the internal handles if the car was locked from the outside with the fob - a warning as anyone left inside won't be able to get out in an emergency, or from the inside using the manual button. Can be disabled with two quick presses of the key fob lock button. More playing needed.

All four windows are electric unlike the manual rears on the ZS, with a driver's on/off switch for the rears. Partial movement of the switches for stop-start down or up, full movement for 'all the way' or until the button is moved again. 'Convenience' closing in that when locking the car holding the lock button down will close any open windows.

Steering Wheel:

No less than 18 buttons on the steering wheel in addition to the horn buttons, eight each side. Adaptive Cruise Control and speaker volume on the left, Instrument Cluster Menus, phone and voice plus media track (and channel?) change on the right. One minor annoyance with the wheel is that it has high-gloss surfaces on the upper parts of its main 'spokes' which reflect the wipers going across and back every time.

The Adaptive Cruise Control is a bit complicated with seven buttons with differing functions on different models but once sussed out works well - better than basic cruise control which is also discussed and may be an alternative lower spec. It seems to need to think about it if someone pulls into your lane when they shouldn't and I've had to brake. There is an 'O/I' (on/off) button, a 'MODE' button that switches between ACC and speed limiter, a SET button to engage ACC once you have reached the speed you want to maintain, '+' and '-' buttons to increase or decrease the set speed in 5mph increments, and an RES button to resume the previously set speed e.g. after applying the brakes. That adds up to six, the seventh being between the two increment/decrement buttons. On mine this shows a logo of a car with some dashed lines under it and is the 'distance' setting for when ACC slows the vehicle in response to vehicles in front - Front Assist. Five settings from 'Very Small to 'Very Large' set by the use of the '+' and '-' buttons immediately after using the 'distance' button, but I don't know yet whether it applies to all driving or just ACC. Hence why I say it's a bit complicated. I have wondered if ACC applies the brakes when slowing you down, and whether that is the cause of so many cars where the brake lights keep coming on in what is largely steadily flowing traffic ... or whether it's just crap drivers. So many people these days seem to jump straight from a cruising throttle to the brake when they are approaching a stop or a give way, instead of lifting off in advance and only braking at the end so saving fuel, brakes and tyres. But then I'm sure there are people who would say braking early gives advance warning to following drivers - gawd help us. Audio system volume buttons are under the ACC buttons.

It doesn't seem to have Lane Assist as even when using ACC there were no steering effects when I changed lanes without indicating.

There is a lot of data available via the Instrument Cluster Menus in front of the driver largely controlled by nine buttons on the right-hand spoke of the steering wheel, two of which replicate functions on the Infotainment panel - top left Phone, bottom left Voice. In the centre are 'left-arrow', 'OK' and 'right-arrow' buttons to display various menus in the driver's display panel (below), the up and down arrows navigating up and down in each menu list, with 'OK' (or a delay in doing anything else) selecting an option - a bit safer than fiddling with the Infotainment buttons and display.

All the main manual says about the lower 'left' and 'right' buttons is the cryptic 'audio, nav' and I can't find them in the Infotainment manual. One thing I discovered they do is to move on or back a track when playing music files, even when the Sat Nav is in navigation mode.

Radio/media
Phone
Navigation
Assist
Car warnings
Driving data

  • When in Radio/media the up and down buttons advance or retract the track the same as the left and right buttons.
  • In Phone the up and down buttons scroll the through the contact list, OK making a call, if that feature is supported in your phone's bluetooth.
  • In Navigation information about the next instruction is displayed.
  • In Assist you can turn Lane Assist, Front Assist, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Traffic Alert - where provided - on and off.
  • Car Warnings displays information in addition to the many warning lights in the instrument cluster, for things like service reminders and to change the key fob battery. Service reminders can be reset by holding the trip reset button down while you turn on the ignition (the trip reading will go to zero but will come back when you release the button). The oil service reminder comes up first even though it may not have been displaying a warning, for the Intermediate Service reminder keep the reset button down until that one is displayed, when you release the button you will be asked if you want to reset it and if you do press the button again.
  • In Driving data the up and down buttons scroll through the following screens:
Current speed
Instantaneous fuel
consumption
Oil temperature
Range
Speed warning

And the following can be displayed over one of three time periods:

Distance travelled
Travelling time
Average speed
Average fuel
consumption

For example by repeatedly pressing the OK button fuel consumption can be displayed as:

Since start
Since refuel
Long term

'Since Start' is the current journey. If the ignition has been turned on but the engine not started, or has only been turned off for a relatively short period, then it displays the previous journey.
'Since refuel' is self-explanatory and is reset when refuelling is detected (somehow, gauge having gone up?).
'Long Term' continually increments up to 20 hours or 1,999 (9,999?) km then resets to zero.

Come the clock change in Autumn and I was expecting the time to change automatically, but no, even though the central heating clock we have had for nearly 10 years does. There is nothing in either manual index for 'Clock', 'Date', 'Time' or anything else I could think of so had to go through the menus on the infotainment system looking for where it might be, selecting settings, time and date, then selecting 'Summer Time' and turning the checkbox on or off. No way is it safe for the driver to do that while under way, and an irritation. I was comparing that with simply pushing a single button (OK, maybe multiple times in Autumn) on the ZS, or twiddling a knob on Vee and Bee but I had forgotten what the menu item with the Summer Time checkbox was called so had to revert to Google and YouTube videos as with other features, to discover that it can be done with the Trip Reset button: Press and hold until the Time is displayed, release and hours will be highlit, then use one or multiple presses to change the hour. Release the button and after a pause minutes are highlit so do the same, and after another pause the driver's display panel will return to 'normal'. Whilst less fiddling about than with menus it's still arguably not safe to be done by the driver while under way, and neither can it be done by the Navigator as it usually was with the ZS and is with Vee as the clock is her side.

Heat/Vent/Aircon:

Clear and easy to use with three rotary controls for temperature, fan speed and direction which is better than the ZS which was all buttons which needed multiple presses for temperature and fan speed. Buttons for individually heated seats (multiple presses on those for the level), HRW, recirculation or fresh-air, and 'A/C' and 'OFF'. From what I can tell so far the chiller comes on if you turn the heat control down, so maybe the 'A/C' button can be used to turn it off to save energy, it's not mentioned in the manual that I have found so far.

However! Come the autumn and some cold weather, the heater doesn't warm up very quickly which I suppose could be a factor of the thermal efficiency of the engine. Understandable, but the demisting performance is abysmal - it takes absolutely ages to even start clearing the bottom of the screen, and doesn't fully clear it even after half an hour of driving, and that's after having stopped to wipe it. This is worst car I have ever had for screen clearing and no mistake. But it looks like the main cause of this problem is the masses of condensation that develops inside - droplets so big they run down which I have never seen before. Googling both complaints are very common, with the condensation even more so than the screen clearing which can take five to 10 minutes, with no one having any real idea (after checking the carpets) as to why it happens, and the rear screen clearing isn't much better. The only suggestions being switch to recirculation mode before switch-off which might stop damp-laden air coming in - something I've never had to do before, or buying dehumidifying pads. I'm surprised that (a) in this day and age it hadn't been sorted years ago, and (b) a company like Volkswagen would market a car with it this poor. The next car I buy will be in winter!

Trying to work out why demisting is so bad I turned on the ignition, switched to demist and used a piece of paper to try and judge the air-flow and discovered that fan speeds 5 and 6 didn't increase the speed over 4 - aha! Knowing that fan resistor packs failing is not uncommon on many cars I Googled it but whilst I could find info on changing the pack on the Golf 5 and similar, and 2nd-hand resistor packs for the Golf 7 at 30 upwards, there was no info on accessing the Golf 7 packs. But using the earlier info there seems to be the same flimsy undertray under the glovebox, with push-to fasten trim pegs instead on some that unscrew, and there was the resistor pack on the side of the motor. The curious thing was that despite being six speeds (five plus off) there were only five wires ... and two of those were to the motor! The remaining three were two pretty thick ones so almost certainly the 12v and earth, and a very thin one probably the control. I didn't want to splash out on a resistor pack if it was the switch or the wiring that was faulty, so tested all five wires with a voltmeter while I turned the control up and down. One of the thick wires shows 12v all the time, and one of the output wires showed voltage increasing as I turned up the control except for the last two positions, but no change on the other wires. Pondering that over lunch I wondered if the link between the control and the resistor pack was computer controlled as so much stuff is, and whether the electronics prevented the motor running at 5 and 6 to save the battery if the engine wasn't running. Went back out and started the engine this time, and now I get all six speeds, so nothing to do with the poor demisting, which is probably down to the heavy condensation more than anything else.

Whilst the ZS could get condensed if we had used it in heavy rain and brought it in on our clothes, shoes umbrella etc. one wipe or dry use was enough to clear it, but not the Golf. The ZS would start clearing a patch up from the bottom and the central area of the rear almost straight away, but there was no sign of the Golf starting to clear. I had to wipe my half so I could carry on driving but I left the passenger half so I could see how that progressed, and it took several minutes to get half-way up the glass. On a dry-ish day with some sunshine I had to wipe all the windows with a damp chamois leather to absorb as much as I could then leave all the windows down about an inch for most of the day. That kept it clear for the next three days (not being used) even though one was damp and drizzling all day, so it's not water getting in. Recirculation mode turned off so it's not that either. Then using it on another cold damp day instead of the glass instantly misting when starting off which is normal and the demister clearing it, all the windows started to mist up slowly as we were driving along. The direction control was set to foot/face which is our normal setting, setting it to 50:50 screen/foot with the fan on 2 nothing happened, but setting it fully to screen cleared it. Setting it back to 75/25 screen/foot and it slowly started building up again. Normally I wouldn't rush into things but I bought a 2-pack of Pingi demister cushions as there are reports that helps, and if it looks like it is misting up again while parked I'll put them on the dashboard to see what they do.

Another significant difference with the colder weather is fuel consumption! I have the display set to 'Since Start' which up to now had always rapidly increased within a short distance and had been 40+ after just a few miles. With the temperatures below 10C it's only creeping up, and barely reaching 30 over the same journey.

Infotainment:

The Infotainment system and nearly 100 pages in its own right (or 'write', as John Lennon said)!
Radio    Media    Phone    Voice    Nav    Traffic    Car    Menu   

Bottom left is a simple rotary and push control for volume and turning the display off, bottom right ditto for scrolling through the menus and selecting options. The strip below the display screen is a proximity sensor that brings up relevant function buttons at the bottom of the screen when your hand is brought near.

'RADIO' - self-explanatory.
'MEDIA' - relates to sound files on CD, SD cards and USB sticks. With umpteen different ways of playing tracks when they are in files and folders it took some time in the manual and online working out how to set up the 'randomise' function to pick from the whole list.
'PHONE' - wasn't sure I'd bother with it but a read of the manual, and confirming my ageing Nokia Windows phone had bluetooth, it was worth a go. Self-explanatory how to search for your phone, and with the phone bluetooth section open and following the on-screen prompts, got them connected easily. Phoning in and out using the 'phone' button on the right of the steering wheel was fine. Couldn't see the SMS menu option to send a text from the car, and when one was received the phone's Cortana came on over the car's audio system asking if I wanted to read it, but couldn't see how to confirm - voice command? As far as sending a text goes it looks like the car will only display that option if the phone bluetooth has Message Access Profile capability.
'VOICE' - selecting Infotainment button or steering wheel button tells me to get some kind of key from my dealer, so presumably not available.
'NAV' - sat-nav is quite good, although I cannot understand why cars do not have full the post-code function when a little thing like a mobile phone does, especially when you can program in the full address. My sat-nav version seems to be original to the car, and I eventually found out how to get a later version. But whilst the downloaded files have a later date the in-car system still displays the same version, although trying it on a local junction that had changed from a roundabout to a crossroads the correct instructions are given. It was amusing when driving on a new bypass to see the screen show me ploughing across a field and making my own road. You can get updates from VW as here.
'TRAFFIC' - allied to sat-nav and radio, not looked at that yet.
'CAR' - allows you to control a number of settings, one of them being able to display 'race' information such as instantaneous inlet manifold pressure, horsepower and G-forces, and the ability to record lap times - I ask you!
'MENU' - probably gives access to everything and deeper functions of some that exist elsewhere.