The rear exterior of a blue Volkswagen Golf

Volkswagen Golf review

The VW Golf is a popular hatchback that offers space and versatility. Featuring a modern design, it's safe and comfortable thanks to an excellent driving position and well designed interior.

Pros

  • The prestige of the VW badge
  • Superb build and interior trim quality
  • Comfortable, economical and a pleasure to drive

Cons

  • The styling can be a little basic
  • It's not the cheapest, but they do hold their value
  • Higher servicing costs than some rivals

Summary

“It’s fantastic to drive and there’s a big choice of engine sizes. There’s also loads of space for luggage.”

Golfs are genuinely practical, drive beautifully and are exceptionally well made. The Mk7 Golf has a great choice of engine sizes and, like many other manufacturers, Volkswagen has downsized with the latest 1.0 TSI engine. It sounds tiny, but it’s smooth and has more than enough power for any road or journey.

There are plenty of options including the five-door, the GTI, the estate and even an electric e-Golf.

The seventh generation of the Golf was introduced in 2012 and was given a makeover in 2017, making it even more desirable.

The exterior of a blue Volkswagen Golf

What's the interior like?

“It offers plenty of space and it's comfortable and quiet.”

Inside, there’s lots of space and everything is well laid out. It doesn’t have as much room as the Skoda Octavia for example, but the Golf is hugely practical for its size. The hatchback has plenty of boot space and there’s enough head and legroom for both the driver and passengers. Access through the four doors is also handy if you want to fit a child car seat.

During its 2017 update, the Golf was given an upgraded infotainment system and some interior style improvements. There’s a wide range of trims and specs, from the reliable Golf estate to the highly desirable high performance hatchbacks, such as the Golf GTI and the Golf R, which bring a blend of value and fun to the daily commute.

The interior of a Volkswagen Golf with steering wheel and dashboard in shot

What's it like to drive?

“It’s a pleasure to drive and feels strong and safe. Choose a sportier version and you’ll increase the amount of fun you have.”

The suspension in the Mk7 Golf is super supple, offering a smooth and very quiet drive, riding over bumps and potholes effortlessly. It’s a comfortable and easy ride that offers confidence-inspiring handling.

The frugal 1.0 TSI has more than enough performance. Choose the larger 110 hp (horsepower) version if you regularly have passengers or load your car for longer journeys.

If you drive more than the average mileage of 12,000 miles a year, you might want to look at the diesel options. They’re extremely economical, especially when driven carefully, although servicing might cost a little more. The 2.0 TDI is the quickest, but the 1.6 TDI is also a good performer.

Fascia shot of the Volkswagen Golf

Is it cost-efficient to buy and run?

“A used Golf might cost more than a Ford or a Renault, but it’s likely to hold its value better.”

The cost of ownership and the affordability of a Golf is competitive, although servicing costs might be higher than a budget-focused brand. Road tax will be the same for rivals of equivalent size and spec.

The latest versions of the 2.0 TDI and the 1.6 TDI offers 70 mpg fuel economy, according to official Golf figures, although you have to drive carefully.

However, the petrol options are so efficient. In particular, the 1.3 TSI has such great economy and low emissions that opting for a diesel isn’t so much of a consideration.

The front exterior of a blue Volkswagen Golf

How reliable and safe is it?

“The incidence of problems with a VW Golf is average for the sector.”

The VW is pretty robust. Any issues are likely to be electrical not mechanical and aren’t usually too expensive or difficult to fix.

The Golf’s Euro NCAP crash test results are extremely good so it’s reassuringly safe.

Engine shot of the Volkswagen Golf

Which one is best for you?

Best for economy - 1.6 TDI

Best for families - 1.0 TSI

Best for fun - GTI

The Mk7 Golf SE and Match Edition are popular models for new Golf buyers and are good ones to look out for on the used car market. They have cruise control, a Bluetooth connection and automatic lights and wipers.

The range-starting S model is more basic. Although it has an 8-inch colour touchscreen and all-round electric windows, you might be better off looking for a higher spec SE or the SE Nav spec which comes with sat nav as standard.

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