The Volkswagen Golf's structure performed well in frontal- and side-impact tests. One of the child restraints tested was based on a new system (ISOFIX) but installation in the car was problematic. VW has told Euro NCAP that all problems have been resolved and ECE approval should be granted on May 20. Pedestrian protection, though, was rather unbalanced – it was above average for the head test sites but needed attention for the upper and lower legs or bonnet leading edge and bumper.
The passenger compartment remained stable during the impact, showing relatively low levels of intrusion. The driver's airbag worked well, providing stable contact for his head. Test results for the passenger's chest were worse than for the driver's, so these were used. Volkswagen has inserted a composite metal and foam pad within the steering column shroud which should prevent concentrated loading on the driver's knees. It was not capable of preventing high loads being transmitted to his upper legs.
The seat-mounted side airbag provided padding for the driver's chest and abdomen. Protection for his chest and abdomen was adequate and for his pelvis, good. His head lightly struck the central door pillar and seat belt loop. The door pillar trim cover contained energy-absorbing padding which should help to protect the head if the contact was more severe.
One conventional and one ISOFIX-type restraint were fitted. ISOFIX is designed to provide more rigid support for the restraint than a conventional design using the car's belts. Difficulties were experienced with this pre-production restraint, however. Its mountings were difficult to engage correctly and the indicator showing it was properly fitted was difficult to see and misleading. The rear belts had automatic locking for use on conventional restraints. However, there was no instruction label on the belt so this feature was not used. There was also a text label advising occupants that a passenger airbag was fitted, but it did not warn against using a rearward-facing child restraint in that seat location.
Head protection for child and adult pedestrians was better than average. Leg protection needs more work by the designers and was poor at all bumper and bonnet leading edge sites.