Review

Volkswagen Golf hatchback

Price  £17,175 - £25,770

Volkswagen Golf hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • High-quality interior
  • Efficient engines
  • Holds value well
Cons
  • Unexciting looks
  • Rivals better to drive
  • Skoda Octavia more spacious

At a glance

The greenest
BlueMotion TDI 1.6 110 PS 5dr £21,670
The cheapest
S TSI 1.2 85 PS BMT 3dr £17,175
The fastest
GT 1.4 TSI ACT 150 PS DSG BMT 5dr £25,265
Top of the range
GT TDI 2.0 150 PS DSG BMT 5dr £25,770

"The Volkswagen Golf is one of the finest all-round cars on sale, combining classy looks and a high-quality interior with great efficiency and strong driver appeal."

The Volkswagen Golf has set the benchmark in the family-car class for years, and the latest seventh-generation model is the best yet. The hatchback model is the top seller – and the car against which rivals such as the Ford Focus, Renault Megane and Peugeot 308 will always be measured.

VW offers a broad choice of engines and trims. Petrol engines range from 84bhp and 104bhp versions of the 1.2-litre TSI and two versions of the 1.4-litre TSI, with 120bhp or 138bhp. The Golf GTD, Golf GTI and the Golf R performance model sit at the top of the range, and all are reviewed separately.

Diesel buyers can choose from no fewer than three 1.6-litre TDI engines, including the super-efficient 88mpg BlueMotion. But as cheap to run as it is, we prefer the 2.0-litre TDI engine. With 148bhp, it provides plenty of performance to go with its promise of 68mpg fuel economy.

Transmission options comprise five and six-speed manual gearboxes, as well as six and seven-speed DSG twin-clutch automatics. Not every gearbox is available with every trim and engine combination, but the slick six-speed manual and smooth seven-speed DSG are the best choices.

Equipment is a bit miserly in S spec, so aim for Match trim at least, and as the 1.2-litre petrol engine can feel a bit underpowered at motorway speeds, the 1.4-litre is a better bet. But no matter which Golf you choose, it's a safe way to travel, having scored the maximum five stars in Euro NCAP tests.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.7 / 5

The ultra-efficient BlueMotion model steals the headlines, but all Volkswagen Golf models are efficient relative to their performance

Engines, drive & performance

4.2 / 5

The Volkswagen Golf has turbocharged petrol engines ideal for low-mileage drivers, while its diesels are the best in the business

Interior & comfort

4.5 / 5

The Volkswagen Golf is supremely comfortable and quiet inside. Along with high quality, this is one of its most impressive features

Practicality & boot space

4.2 / 5

The Volkswagen Golf has improved passenger and boot space, so the latest model can hold plenty of stuff in either three or five-door form

Reliability & safety

4 / 5

Superb safety ratings and high build quality make the Volkswagen Golf a dependable choice for long-term ownership

What the others say

5 / 5
based on 2 reviews
5 / 5
In isolation, the new Golf is predictably fantastic. In many ways, it's the iPhone of the car world – it's well designed and built and does everything you could ask of it. Its biggest test will come when it faces its sister cars – the good-looking SEAT Leon and plush Audi A3 – and our class current class leader, the BMW 1 Series. But from where we’re sitting, the Golf looks like a good bet.
5 / 5
Despite the improved technology and efficiency, the new Golf will cost you about the same as an equivalent version of the current car. This means it will sit between the Ford Focus and Audi A3 on price, then, although it's likely to work out cheaper than the Focus in the long run, due to better resale values. The A3 will provide a sterner test, especially when Audi introduces the five-door Sportback version in spring 2013. Still, whichever turns out to have the edge, it's clear that Volkswagen has succeeded in producing a better Golf, and that makes it one of the very best small family cars around.

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What owners say

4.2227122381477
4.2 /5 based on 907 reviews
70%
 people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated
6 Oct 2014
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