In-depth Reviews

Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet convertible (2011-2016)

“Good to drive and relatively spacious inside, the Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet offers many of the good points of the hatch but with the extra appeal of a fold-away roof.”

Carbuyer Rating

3.6 out of 5

Owners Rating

3.5 out of 5

Read owner reviews

Pros

  • Speedy roof mechanism
  • Good to drive
  • Build quality

Cons

  • Dated looks
  • Practicality concerns
  • Interior not as plush as the hatch

Small, four-seat convertibles like the Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet are something of a rare breed these days, so the convertible Golf has few direct rivals. You could argue that the Audi TT, Audi A3 Cabriolet and BMW 2 Series convertible are alternatives, but all three are much more expensive than the VW, while the DS 3 Cabrio is slightly smaller and not quite a full convertible like the Golf.

The Golf Cabriolet’s existence in a relatively small class has its advantages for Volkswagen, as it means the need to update the soft-top Golf isn’t quite as pressing. For instance, the Golf Cabriolet is still based on sixth-generation mechanicals, rather than the current seventh-generation used by the Golf hatchback. While this means it still drives nicely and gets the same engines as the current generation, the slightly outdated styling – both inside and out – is starting to show its age, especially when compared to the Audi A3 convertible.

That’s not to say that it feels in any way lacking in quality. All the materials used inside feel solid and well put together, while the exterior design is typically understated. While a convertible always offers compromises, whether its practicality or performance, the Golf offers fewer of these than some other drop tops.

The roof opens and closes impressively quickly – taking just 9.5 seconds to open and close – something which can be done at speeds of up to 19mph. Even with the roof folded away, the boot isn’t rendered useless, while space in the rear seats is reasonable too. The car always remains impressively quiet and refined, whether the roof is up or down.

There’s a good range of smooth, powerful and efficient petrol engines under the bonnet, with three petrols and two diesel engines on offer. Our favourites are the 123bhp 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol and the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel. They offer the best balance between running costs and performance.

In terms of running costs, these engines will manage 51 and 65mpg respectively, producing CO2 emissions of 128g/km and 112g/km. This means you’ll be liable for a tax bill of either £110 or £30, a difference that is offset by the fact that the diesels cost more to buy than the petrol models.

You can choose from three trim levels – S, SE and GT – and while standard equipment is ok, it’s starting to feel a little sparse compared to newer cars. For example, you have to upgrade to top-of-the-range (and rather expensive) GT versions until you get satellite-navigation as standard. All models get alloy wheels and a 6.5-inch touchscreen-controlled infotainment system, which features DAB radio, USB sockets and Bluetooth phone connectivity.

We’d recommend going for a mid-range SE model, as this adds dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, automatic wipers, cruise control, automatic headlights and a speed limiter. Top-spec GT models are expensive and the only significant addition to the kit list is sat-nav. GT models are also only available with the most powerful engines.

The Golf Cabriolet earned the full five-star award from the experts at Euro NCAP, managing an impressive 96% adult occupant safety rating. It manages this thanks to its impressive array of safety equipment, which includes airbags, pop-up rollover hoops, a tyre-pressure monitoring system and two ISOFIX child car seat mounting points in the back seats. Naturally, it also gets features like traction control, anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control.ileage should consider the reasonably efficient and decently priced 1.4-litre TSI SE petrol model.

Most Popular

Best new car deals 2021
Fiat 500 electric
Deals
24 Sep 2021

Best new car deals 2021

Electric Citroen Ami to launch in the UK next year
2022 Citroen Ami
Citroen Ami
21 Sep 2021

Electric Citroen Ami to launch in the UK next year

Top 10 best small estates 2021
Skoda Octavia Estate
Skoda Octavia Estate
22 Sep 2021

Top 10 best small estates 2021

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
10 Aug 2021

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
3 Jun 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
15 Jun 2021

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
23 Jul 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors 2021
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors 2021

Top 10 best electric cars 2021
Volkswagen ID.3
Best cars
12 Aug 2021

Top 10 best electric cars 2021

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2021
Toyota Prius front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
10 Jun 2021

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2021

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks
Mercedes AMG A45 - rear
Hot hatches
25 Jun 2021

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks