- High quality feel throughout
- Smoothest ride quality in class
- Economical engines
- Not as fun to drive as Focus or A3
- More expensive than some of its rivals
- Looks are a little conservative
Volkswagen’s iconic best seller adds a touch of class to the hatchback market
The Volkswagen Golf, first introduced in 1974, is much of an icon in its native Germany, as it is in the UK. Since its first generation, the Golf has undergone many changes. The latest Golf incorporates a big range of engines and specs in its range, improving on a car that was already the leader in its class.
All in all the new Golf provides customers with a stylish package that rivals the more expensive BMW 1 Series, and Mercedes A-Class, at a more affordable price. One thing is for certain, with its famous German engineering, the Golf is a car that’s built to last.
Classy, spacious interior, that feels much more expensive than it is
One place of many where the Golf shows itself to be the leader of the pack, is in its cabin. It is a cut above most of its rivals. The dashboard incorporates soft-touch plastics, responsive buttons, and solid feeling joints, so this is an interior that is both sturdy and attractive. Whereas some of its rivals seem to forget about the passengers in the back, the Golf continues into the rear with exceptional quality fittings. All in all, the Golf is finished to an exceptionally high standard that is the envy of its rivals.
The boot, whilst not as big as some of the the other cars in its class, such as the Citroen C4, or the Honda Civic, is still very practical. With a capacity of 380 litres with the seats up, and 1,270 litres with the seats down, there should be plenty of space for whatever stuff you need to cart around. The boot is also, usefully, squared off, making awkward objects such as kids buggies easier to fit in.
On entry level models you pay for the quality elsewhere with quite a low standard of spec. The S-spec cars come without alloy wheels, and rear electric windows. If you go for anything Match-spec or above, however, you get pretty much everything you’re going to need. Alloy wheels, full-electric windows, automatic wipers and lights, parking sensors, and cruise control: that should be just about enough for most of us. For those wanting SatNav, it’s an option on cars throughout the range. Whilst standard kit might not stand up to some of its rivals, one thing you can be sure of is the quality of it. Everything is built to last, and that’s more than you can say for some rivals.
All in all, the interior of the Golf is pretty impressive. The design and quality stand out a mile, and while the standard spec isn’t as good as some of its rivals, it more than makes up for it with gear that you can guarantee will last.
By far the best car in its class - comfortable, supple and responsive
Another place where the Golf really stands out from some of its rivals, is its excellent handling. Whilst steering may not be quite as intuitive as the Ford Focus or Audi A3, the Golf still feels comfortable and solid in nearly any situation.
Suspension and Chassis
With lots of grip and very little understeer, steering is accurate, getting you through those tricky B road hairpins without any trouble at all. The ride quality is also fantastic. Smooth and quiet, the suspension handles bumps in the road like they didn’t exist. Throughout history the Golf has always been the most refined hatchback, and this latest model is no different. Volkswagen truly excel in chassis design at this level.
There are quite a few gearbox options throughout the Golf range, and most won’t leave you disappointed. Whilst the five-speed manual gearbox fitted to models at the very bottom of the options list is a little clunky, the six-speed manual on most options is smooth and efficient. There’s also, as on most VWs, the option of a DSG dual clutch automatic gearbox. Whilst this is usually excellent, it has been noted by some owners to be a bit jumpy at low speeds.
Whichever gearbox your car comes equipped with, you can be sure that it won’t affect the quality of the driving experience in the Golf. This, whatever the spec, is a seriously solid car to drive.
A wide range of engine choice, from high-powered petrols, and super-efficient diesels, to environmentally friendly all electric options
When it comes to deciding how you want your Golf to be powered, you’ve got the usual three options: petrol, diesel, or electric. The electric option in particular is a viable alternative to traditional fuel sources, and easily outperforms its Ford Focus rival.
The Golf has throughout its long history, always produced the best hot hatchback in its class. And the 2.0 TSI R in the current range is no different. With 300 hp and a 0-62 mph time of 4.9 seconds, this car is rapid. Compared to the yobbish Ford Focus RS, and even the much more expensive Mercedes A45 AMG, this Golf manages to be exceptionally fast, without making you look like a boy racer.
For those more environmentally minded among us, the e-Golf ticks all the boxes. With zero emissions, this option is going to do the planet no harm at all. It’s still fun to drive, its efficient, and it’s fast enough to challenge the best of the electric car scene. For those who don’t want to go all the way with electric, and would rather save money on their weekly fuel bill, the 1.6 TDI Bluemotion offers drivers up to 88.3 mpg. That’s sure to save you a whole lot of money on diesel.
Whichever option you go for in your Golf, you can be assured that all Volkswagen engines are engineered to provide you with a quality driving experience that few brands can match. They all have good eco-credentials, low running costs, and exceptional performance. Volkswagen really do know how to build an engine!
Full marks in NCAP safety tests, and good quality safety equipment as standard
Like most of the cars in its class, the Golf easily achieved the highest 5 star NCAP rating. Even in the top tier, it managed to be better than its rivals, the Vauxhall Astra and Ford Focus. With these credentials you’ll be safe and sound. Add in seven airbags, and on the Match-spec models, a City Emergency Brake System, and you’ve got one of the safest cars around.
Low running costs throughout the range, and excellent resale value, after the first couple of years at least
The Volkswagen Golf represents excellent value for money. Though it may cost a little more to buy than, say, a Ford Focus, road tax rates and fuel consumption are mostly low. This depends on which model you go for, obviously, but most models have relatively low C02 emissions (and none at all if you for the e-Golf). This means that road tax won’t cost you too much, and you can spend your hard-earned money on other essentials.
Insurance wise, the Golf falls into line with most cars that it’s in competition with. So whilst you won’t be saving thousands, you won’t be spending any more either. The cheapest model in the range is the 1.2 TSI, with group 7 insurance. For a car of this size that’s pretty reasonable, especially for the thrifty among us.
Depreciation after the first couple of years, is actually very positive for the Volkswagen Golf. Buyers understand the importance in purchasing a good solid car that will last, therefore the Golf seems to hold its value. Like most cars though, the first couple of years can see rapid depreciation from list price, and what with the Golf being so well built, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Volkswagen Golf is renowned as one of the best cars in its class, and understandably so. With the best interior, the best ride, and the best safety record, the Golf outplays all of its rivals. Add in a versatile range of engine options, catering from the eco-conscious to the speed addicts, you’re sure to find a Golf that’s perfect for you.
Buying a used Volkswagen Golf online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Volkswagen Golf for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Volkswagen Golf. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Volkswagen Golf online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Volkswagen Golf? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Golf, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Volkswagen Golf, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Volkswagen to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st year depreciation cost of 40%.