In cricket, the term all-rounder gets tossed around all too easily.
A proper batsman who has an odd good day with the ball and a bowler who shines with the bat once in a blue moon are often burdened with the all-rounder mantle, which is a gross overstatement or just plain unfair as the secondary skill is usually just an added bonus which will bear sporadic success.
Ask any cricket purist and the person will tell you that a true all-rounder has a very specific meaning.
Only if a player’s ability in both disciplines are that good to warrant him inclusion in the team on the strength of one of his skills only, can that cricketer be regarded as a true all-rounder.
A pretty damn tough criteria, maybe even a tad impossible.
Just to put that into perspective, even the great Jacques Kallis and Shaun Pollock might have been regular features in lesser teams if Kallis was only a bowler and Pollock only a batsman, but they would have had difficulty convincing the SA selectors.
But enough about balls, let’s move over to the wheels so I can prove that there is method in my madness of explaining cricket in a motoring story.
Over December, I had the opportunity of spending a good few weeks behind the wheel of the Golf 7.5 GTD which our Road Test Editor Mark Jones has been testing for a few months as a long term vehicle.
A first glance at this sexy number – sorry Mark, I meant the Golf – only invokes one idea: performance.
Sports suspension, GTI-like front and rear end styling, 18-inch alloys kitted with 225/40 rubber and plenty of pipes.
And as soon as you sit yourself down in the comfortable leather bucket seat, grip the leather-wrapped steering wheel and feast your eyes on the computerised instrumentation panel, all you want to do is put it to the test.
But before you put your foot down, do remember that this is not a GTI and nor does it inspire to be one.
It’s a performance diesel car with a four cylinder 2.0-litre TDI engine that produces 130kW of power at 3 600 to 4 000rpm and 350Nm of torque at 1 500 to 3 500rpm through it’s six speed DSG gearbox.
Numbers would indicate it can’t rival the GTI’s 169kW, but at R528 700 it does come R30 000 cheaper than the GTI and you get most of the creature comforts which are standard in the petrol version, although not with the iconic red finishing.
Should you still feel the urge for more oomph, a simple software upgrade will add more horses than you should probably need.
But if you are a daily commuter with no urge to go proper drag racing, you don’t have to shy away from a challenge between traffic lights.
And the purr you hear once you select the drive mode to Sport and pull away reminds you what fun it actually is to drive the GTD.
Now, this is where cricket meets car.
Although the GTD is a very capable racer, it has the fuel efficiency to boot.
Our indicated consumption might suggest 6.89-litre/100km over the course of our long term test, but take this baby out onto the open road and it will handsomely reward you if you behave.
I took the car on a 360km round trip to Swartruggens just north of Rustenburg before Christmas and the numbers returned an outstanding reading of 4.9l/100km.
By setting the Adaptive Cruise Control to 110km/h and setting the drive mode to Eco, I sat back and let the car do the driving for me, enjoying the superb sounds delivered through the eight-speaker system and the easy navigation on the eight-inch touchscreen media system.
And with plenty of legroom to go with comfortable rear seating and 380-litres of boot space on offer, fitting my daughters in the back and the whole family’s luggage in the boot wasn’t a problem.
The consumption might have been even better had I not engaged the cruise control as the DSG dropped the car out of gear when disengaging the accelerator, but with gammon and leg of lamb on my mind I wasn’t about to test my resolve to its outer limits.
Pretty much like there were better bowlers than Kallis out there and better batsmen than Pollock, the GTD might not top the list of performance or most economical cars, but it’s nonetheless a strong contender on both those lists.
That makes it a pretty damn classy all-rounder.
- Odo reading start: 1 046km
- Odo reading now: 15 969km
- Distance covered: 14 923km
- Fuel consumed: 1 027.92 litres
- Total fuel cost: R15 891.69
- Ave consumption: 6.89 litres/100km
- Ave cost/km: R1.06
For more information and the latest pricing visit vw.co.za