Volkswagen Golf hatchback
Price £17,175 - £25,770
- High-quality interior
- Efficient engines
- Holds value well
- Unexciting looks
- Rivals better to drive
- Skoda Octavia more spacious
At a glance
"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.
The ultra-efficient BlueMotion model steals the headlines, but all Volkswagen Golf models are efficient relative to their performance
The Volkswagen Golf has turbocharged petrol engines ideal for low-mileage drivers, while its diesels are the best in the business
The Volkswagen Golf is supremely comfortable and quiet inside. Along with high quality, this is one of its most impressive features
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
Superb safety ratings and high build quality make the Volkswagen Golf a dependable choice for long-term ownership