There's no doubt that, if fuel economy is your top priority and you're a high-mileage driver, then the BlueMotion version of the Golf is the car for you. The official combined consumption figure is 3.8 litres/100km (74.3mpg) and it gets pretty close to that. We're consistently amazed by its ability to avoid fill-ups, even when confined to the environs of Dublin. On the motorway it's peerless.
Though it's not quite peerless, as Volkswagen offers the same 1.6-litre TDI engine in the rest of the Golf range. Sure, you do without a list of further fuel-saving measures that are standard in the BlueMotion model (and with the same engine it uses 4.5 litres/100km), but it means you have more options for personalisation and trim. One alternative is the Edition-R.
As mentioned in the previous update, a puncture in one of our winter tyres has meant we're without the BlueMotion for a while, so Volkswagen kindly provided this silver Edition-R instead. Under the bonnet is the same 105hp TDI engine as in our regular car. Yet park the two together and the Edition-R really stands out. That's thanks to subtle bodywork changes, including lower, sportier bumpers, side sills and a rear spoiler and 'diffuser'. The grille at the front is a little different too, while R-line badges and the 16-inch Pescara alloys further differentiate the car from other Golfs. Obviously it's no Golf R, but it does look sportier than regular variants.
Inside, the Edition-R isn't particularly sporty, but it is well equipped. Over and above the BlueMotion it boasts an attractive touch-screen infotainment system, plus Bluetooth, electric windows all-round and cruise control - and some other bits and pieces.
From behind the wheel there's virtually no difference between the two cars. The lack of stop-start in the Edition-R was noticed as we spend so much time in town, but otherwise the sportier looking Golf is just as comfortable, stable and composed. Its leather-bound steering wheel is good to hold and body control is excellent while cornering, though you couldn't call it a hot hatch.
We're finding little difference in terms of fuel economy either. So what's the damage? Well, comparing five-door versions, the BlueMotion car (not to be confused with those offering 'BlueMotion Technology') costs 25,025 on-the-road while this particular Edition-R retails at 25,990. Personally, I'd have the Edition-R.