Volkswagen Golf Review

Gumtree Rating

4.5 rating

Little did Volkswagen know that their front-engine alternative to the Beetle would become a worldwide hit. The Golf, Volkswagen’s best-seller, boasts a legacy of five decades and eight generations. With over 35 million Golfs produced, this versatile model gives strong competition to mainstream hatchbacks like the Ford Focus and the Vauxhall Astra – as well as premium competitors like the BMW 1 Series, Audi A3 and Mercedes A-Class. A crafty combination of high-tech gadgetry, German engineering and timeless design, the Golf still reigns supreme in the family-car segment.

Visit the Volkswagen Golf hub to explore available cars.

What we think about the Volkswagen Golf

Enjoyable driving, a quality build, comfortable interior and badge appeal – the Volkswagen Golf is an all-rounder that leaves no stone unturned.

Pros

+

High-quality, refined interiors

+

Excellent handling

+

Efficient engines

Cons

A bit plain in the looks department

The infotainment system can be confusing

Some wind noise at 70 mph

The VW Golf design we know now reflects the Mk6 2008 release. The 1.5 TSI 150 petrol engine is impressive, climbing from 0-62 mph in 8.5 seconds. Meanwhile, the mild-hybrid version offers great fuel economy. With a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating on the 2019 model, you can rest assured you’re driving a reliable car.

Driving performance of the Volkswagen Golf

Our Driving Rating9 / 10

No matter what generation you choose, the Golf is particularly adept at switching from countryside cruising to zipping around town. While there’s an occasional hesitance when you want to overtake, it’s nothing that good gear switching can’t handle. The suspension is a work of art that almost seems specifically designed to handle the numerous potholes on UK roads. Overall it’s a smooth, quiet ride that gives you just enough control and feedback to let you enjoy the thrills on offer.

Safety and reliability of the Volkswagen Golf

Our Safety Rating9 / 10

For Volkswagen, safety is a top priority. This is apparent in the Golf with the number of standard safety features across the board. From 2008 onwards, seven airbags and the Electonic Stability Programme, which automatically adapts the car to road conditions, have been standard features. The latest 2020 release includes traffic sign recognition, autonomous emergency braking and adaptive cruise control – even in base-level variants. Having consistently scored highly on the Euro NCAP safety charts, the Golf is a reliable machine that will rarely have you scouting for a mechanic.

Under the bonnet of the Volkswagen Golf

Our Engine Rating8 / 10

With petrol, diesel, hybrid and plug-ins – ranging from 1.0-litre to 2.0-litre – there’s a huge choice of engines on offer with the Golf. The economical diesel variants are the preferred choice among UK drivers. However, the more powerful petrol GTI and diesel GTD versions have consistently given close competition to mid-range hatchback rivals when it comes to top speeds. The latest, and most dynamic, Golf R zips from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds. While automatics are more practical, keener drivers will prefer the 6-speed manuals available across generations.

What you'll find in the Volkswagen Golf

Our Design Rating8 / 10

Having maintained a consistent aesthetic for decades, there’s something iconic about the Golf’s simple looks. The design is a function of practicality rather than flair, with aerodynamics that are meant to boost fuel-efficiency rather than style. Top-of-the-line models come with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED lights and body-coloured side skirts. 2017 variants saw some noticeable design changes like newer headlights, restyled bumpers and front guards. Suffice to say that the Golf has enough hardcore fans to stop Volkswagen from risking a makeover – a bonus for used-car owners!

Comfort and interiors in the Volkswagen Golf

Our Comfort Rating8 / 10

Volkswagen’s attention to detail has resulted in an interior that looks like a classy cabin. So, it’s easy to feel comfortable as soon as you step into any Golf. Another plus is that it’s compact enough to fit in cramped parking spaces, yet roomy enough for four adults – even on long journeys. The boot space has remained standard across generations, offering plenty of room for family road trips. But if you do need more space, the rear seats fold almost completely flat.

Black Volkswagen Golf interior dashboard

What features you'll find in the Volkswagen Golf

Our Features Rating8 / 10

The Golf’s biggest USP has always been its high-tech interiors. Even older models come well-equipped with quality control panels and infotainment systems. For example, air-conditioning has been standard since the 2008 models, putting this hatchback ahead of the game in terms of interior specs. The latest eighth-generation model is completely digital, with a ten-inch driver’s display and control panel with touchscreen features. From the Style variant upwards, Golfs come with 30-colour ambient interior lighting and a sunroof.

What fuel efficiency to expect from the Volkswagen Golf

Our Fuel Consumption Rating8 / 10

Finding a Golf with low running costs is a piece of cake, thanks to a range of economical variants. The plug-in hybrid e-Golf performs at an average of 166.2 mpg and doesn’t produce any CO2, which is a big green win. The most expensive GTI runs at an average of 38.1 mpg, which is still quite decent in its segment. In terms of fuel-efficiency, the other top performer is the BlueMotion 1.6-litre TDI diesel with a claimed fuel economy of 83.1 mpg.

Running costs of the Volkswagen Golf

Our Cost Rating8 / 10

In this department, the BlueMotion 1.6-litre TDI diesel again takes the trophy with CO2 emissions of 89 g/km. For a company car, the GTE version with low CO2 emissions of 36 g/km is a good bet. As for servicing, Volkswagen offers several flexible options. Despite the name badge, insurance isn’t too expensive even for top-of-the-line models. In general, this car is a reliable machine that gets you where you need to go without breaking the bank along the way.

Our verdict of the Volkswagen Golf

4.5 rating

4.5 / 5 Gumtree rating

The epitome of stylish practicality, the Volkswagen Golf rightly deserves every accolade as the most popular hatch of all time.