Volkswagen Golf GTD hatchback (2013-2019)
“The Volkswagen Golf GTD has proved more popular than the GTI thanks to its pace, practicality and low running costs”
- Impressively quick
- Low running costs
- Good to drive
- Pricey to buy
- Conservative styling
- Rivals are more exciting to drive
The Volkswagen Golf GTD is a family hatchback that aims to blend the economy of a diesel engine with the sporting appeal of the petrol-powered GTI model. It’s a recipe that seems to work; despite not being as fast or as fun to drive as its iconic sibling, the GTD sells in much higher numbers.
The GTD has similar exterior styling to the GTI and so looks purposeful yet grown-up; there are three and five-door hatchback models to choose from, along with an estate, which we've reviewed separately. The GTD is certainly a looker, and it gets just as much kit inside as the GTI, too.
The medium-sized, higher-performance diesel hatchback market is pretty saturated, so the Golf GTD faces up to some stiff competition. Worthy contenders include the Ford Focus ST, Peugeot 308 GT, SEAT Leon FR, MINI Clubman Cooper SD and even the BMW 1 Series.
Much of the GTD’s popularity can be attributed to its decent fuel-economy figures; in BlueLine specification, it returns 64.2mpg on average, with CO2 emissions of 116g/km in three-door manual form. Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) rates start from 25%, which is good news for company-car drivers.The GTD BlueLine version was introduced in the car’s most recent facelift and has smaller 17-inch wheels to help it achieve these figures.
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Meanwhile, the standard GTD returns from 57.6 to 61.4mpg depending on bodystyle and wheel size. Yet even with the BlueLine treatment, the GTD isn’t quite class-leading: the Peugeot 308 GT is even more efficient, managing 70.6mpg with emissions of 105g/km.
The GTD offers fantastic performance that should be enough for most drivers in most real-world situations. There’s 182bhp on tap and it’s available low down in the car’s rev range, which means acceleration is punchy through the gears. Officially, 0-62mph takes 7.4 seconds with a DSG gearbox or 7.5 seconds with a manual, but the GTD feels faster. A top speed of 143mph is impressive, even if it’s not terribly relevant in the UK.
Coupled with composed handling, it’s possible to get from one place to another plenty fast enough, with the stiffer suspension, lowered ride height and powerful brakes of the GTD inspiring lots of confidence.
Interior space is exactly the same as any regular Golf, so you get a generous 380-litre boot and plenty of room to carry adults in the back. If you need it, there’s also an estate version, increasing boot space to 605 litres, or 1,620 litres when the rear seats are folded down.
The GTD is positioned towards the top of the Golf range and has lots of standard equipment. As well as unique styling touches – similar to the GTI but with a black honeycomb front air intake – LED headlamps are fitted, plus 18-inch alloy wheels. Inside, the GTD boasts a configurable 12.3-inch Active Info Display in place of traditional instruments – you can set it to display various combinations of information, including a full-colour 3D navigation map.
Keyless entry, sat nav, and parking sensors are also standard equipment. In fact, you shouldn’t have to add much from the options list, but we recommend the adaptive dampers (called Dynamic Chassis Control), which have three settings to stiffen or soften the suspension and make the car handle even better.
With sophisticated safety equipment that includes autonomous emergency braking, the the Golf boasts a five-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating. The Volkswagen Golf finished 18th out of the 75 cars ranked in our 2017 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey of cars currently on sale in the UK. Whether you’re a private owner or a company-car user, the Golf GTD is a pleasure to drive and painless to own.