This is especially true with the Mk5 Golf (pictured below). Park it beside its cousins the Audi A3, the Skoda Octavia or even the supposedly larger B7 Audi A4 sedan and you'd notice that the Golf Mk5 was at least 3 inches taller than all of the cars mentioned above. I know the Golf was meant to be a practical hatchback, but somehow being so much taller than even the bigger Audi A4 is a bit too much. Then when you add the fact that the overall styling of the Golf is pretty subdued, slabsided and understated without any overt aggression or signs of sportiness the minivan argument somehow makes some sense. Even in the GTI form it looked more like a bubbly loaf of bread than a hot hatch. Of course some may like the fact that the GTI only had red trimmings around the grille for some sign of power but I actually like my hot hatches fiery.
The new MK7 Golf is scheduled for 2012 and will also have distinct models - the three door will be sportier than the five door and the five door hatch will look totally distinct from the taller Golf Plus mini MPV (now this makes more sense as the current Golf hatch does not really differ from the Golf Plus), much like the current Vauxhall/Opel Astra range where the three and five door models are pretty distinct from one another.
This little bit of news makes me feel that there is still hope that Volkswagen intends to go back to the days of the Mk1 and Mk2 Golf (pictured below). The Golf in those days were proper hatchbacks – small, nippy and truly sporting.