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In-depth reviews

Volkswagen Golf review - MPG, running costs & CO2

Engines are new or upgraded and a plug-in hybrid is available

Carbuyer Rating

4.1 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews
MPG, running costs & CO2 Rating

4.0 out of 5

The Volkswagen Golf has long faced competition not only from ‘external’ rivals, but from models within the VW Group, namely the SEAT Leon and Skoda Octavia. The competition has taken a new twist in the form of the all-electric ID.3 from Volkswagen's emissions-free electric-only range.

To remain competitive for those buyers not quite ready to make the switch to an EV, Volkswagen has made its legendary Golf more efficient than ever. Its engines have been revised, VW has ditched the 1.6-litre diesel in favour of the larger but more efficient 2.0-litre TDI, 1.5-litre TSI and eTSI mild-hybrid petrol models are available along with a 1.0-litre entry-level model and a GTE plug-in hybrid.

Volkswagen Golf MPG & CO2

The range starts with Volkswagen's 108bhp three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol engine. This can return up to 52.3mpg in the manual Golf and emits 122g/km of CO2, but the automatic eTSI performs slightly better, placing it in a reasonably low Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) band for company-car drivers. It’s also well-suited to buyers driving mainly in urban areas.

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We’ve driven the 148bhp eTSI mild-hybrid petrol, which combines a conventional 1.5-litre engine with a powerful 48-volt starter generator paired with a small lithium-ion battery. It assists the engine, helping to return up to 51.4mpg and CO2 emissions of just over 120g/km depending on the size of the alloy wheels.

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The eTSI engine is only available with a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox, allowing the car to coast with the engine off thanks to the mild-hybrid system. The starter generator also gives the car a small electric power boost when accelerating to further improve fuel economy, making it the best all-rounder in the line-up. The same 1.5-litre TSI petrol engine without the mild-hybrid tech is also available in 129bhp or 148bhp power outputs, with a six-speed manual gearbox.

Meanwhile, the new 2.0-litre TDI diesel is available in two power outputs. The more powerful 148bhp version is now only offered with a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox, and is likely to appeal to higher-mileage drivers with claimed fuel economy figures of up to 62.8mpg and CO2 emissions from 119g/km. The engine features 'twin dosing', where AdBlue is injected into the exhaust in two places to cut NOx emissions by up to 17%, helping to make this the cleanest diesel engine ever fitted in a Golf.

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The 113bhp diesel engine can only be specced in the lower trim levels with a six-speed manual gearbox. It’s the most frugal engine in the Golf range with claimed economy of up to 67.3mpg and CO2 emissions from 110g/km.

While it does have a high price tag, the Golf GTE is desirable. The new plug-in hybrid combines a 1.4-litre TSI petrol and electric motor to produce 242bhp, while its 13kWh battery pack enables an electric range of around 40 miles. It emits from just 21g/km of CO2, slotting it into a very low Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) band for business drivers. Charging the GTE's battery pack takes just over 3.5 hours using a home wallbox, or around five hours from a standard socket.

Insurance groups

Insurance groups for the Mk8 Golf start from group 14 for the base 1.0-litre Life spec car, going up to group 23 for the sporty 148bhp R-Line 2.0-litre diesel.

Warranty

We'd be surprised if Volkswagen deviated from the three-year/60,000-mile warranty it offers across its model range. This equals rivals like the Ford Focus, but can't compare to the more generous five-year warranty for the Hyundai i30, or the seven-year warranty the Kia Ceed is sold with. Keep the Toyota Corolla serviced at the dealership and its warranty can last for up to a decade.

Servicing

Volkswagen has traditionally offered variable servicing intervals for the Golf, and customers can help budget for maintenance costs by paying monthly.

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Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.5 TSI Life 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £27,035

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.5 TSI Life 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £27,035

Fastest

  • Name
    2.0 TSI 265 GTI 5dr DSG
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £38,900

Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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