Car trim reviews

Volkswagen Golf R-Line review

"The Volkswagen Golf R-Line aims to bring some of the sports appeal seen in the Golf R into other versions of its hatch."

The Volkswagen Golf R-Line is the German brand's attempt to distil some of its sporting prowess found in the Volkswagen Golf R hatchback into a less powerful version that costs less to buy and to run. The R-Line trim is designed to be a cheaper alternative to the full-fat Golf R while still providing a decent amount of the R hatchback's design and performance appeal.

Every Golf R-Line has a decent amount of kit as standard, with the most notable features being a unique R-Line bodykit and sports seats. The infotainment system has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity and DAB radio and the R-Line also has adaptive cruise control as standard.

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The latest version of the R-Line trim is available with a choice of two engines. The 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol produces either 128 or 148bhp and 0-62mph times of 9.2 or 8.5 seconds. The latter is also available with an automatic gearbox, and this version also gains mild-hybrid technology to reduce fuel consumption. Every petrol version will manage around 50mpg.

The 2.0-litre diesel produces 148bhp and has a similar 0-62mph time of 8.4 seconds. It’s the most economical in the range, returning up to 62mpg. Now only available with an automatic gearbox, the diesel is around £1,200 more expensive than the automatic petrol, so only high-mileage drivers are likely to save money by choosing the diesel.

Good points

In R-Line trim, the Golf Mk8 certainly looks the part, with its large alloy wheels and racy bodykit taking centre stage. It will certainly take a seasoned car enthusiast to tell the difference at a first glance, especially as the badges are very similar.The Golf is fairly well-built and high-tech inside, like any contemporary Volkswagen. It's a wonder why anyone would go for the massive 2.0-litre TDI diesel when the smaller, lighter, quieter and almost as economical 1.5-litre TSI petrol is part of the R-Line's engine options.

Bad points

Volkswagen Golf R-Line interior

The previous Golf, the Mk7.5, is arguably even better built than this model and, while the technology looks impressive in the new one, it’s not as easy to use. Navigating through sub-menus and changing the air-conditioning temperature requires you to take your eyes off the road. Although the R-Line looks the part, if you ever see a Volkswagen Golf GTI or Volkswagen Golf R on the road, you may feel like you opted for second best.

What you get

  • Alloy wheels
  • Folding rear seats
  • Alarm
  • Parking sensors
  • Tyre pressure sensors
  • LED lights
  • Tinted rear windows
  • Heated sports steering wheel
  • Digital instrument cluster
  • Manual air conditioning
  • Front electric windows
  • Smartphone connectivity
  • Keyless start
  • DAB radio
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Sat nav
  • Stop/Start
  • Automatic wipers
  • Sports seats
  • Sports suspension
  • Rear electric windows
  • Autonomous emergency braking
  • Lane-keeping assist
  • Three ISOFIX child-seat points

Recommended optional extras

  • Reversing camera
  • Keyless entry
  • High-beam assist
  • Space-saver spare wheel

Our choice

We'd choose the 1.5-litre TSI petrol in a heartbeat. The fuel economy and emissions benefits of the diesel are marginal enough where road tax costs are no different. It's just as quick too, and cheaper to buy.

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