08 January 2013 Last Updated: 28 October 2013

Full Volkswagen Golf Hatchback (13 on) Model Review

by Tim Bowdler, Deputy Editor

  • Punchy 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine
  • 0-62mph in 8.4s, top speed 131mph
  • 58.9mpg fuel economy, 112g/km CO2 emissions
Volkswagen Golf Hatchback (13 on) 1.4 TSI Bluemotion Tech GT 5d - Road Test
All the VW Golfs in the latest range are impressive on the road and if you consider rivals such as the Ford Focus, Audi A3, and Vauxhall Astra, it’s right up there among the best.

All the VW Golfs in the latest range are impressive on the road and if you consider rivals such as the Ford Focus, Audi A3, and Vauxhall Astra, it’s right up there among the best.

So what if handling is your absolute priority once have decided that a Golf is for you? Do you opt for a diesel model or do you go one of the petrol versions?

The choice of diesels in the Golf range comprises 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre turbocharged units. The best in terms of performance, predictably, is the 2.0-litre model that will get you from 0-62mph in just 8.6 seconds. That’s pretty good, but it is worth considering a petrol version since it is lighter and therefore, fractionally, better in the bends.

Petrol models Golfs in the line-up feature 1.2-litre and 1.4-litre engines. Both are turbocharged and both shift along nicely, but for absolute driving fun you have to go for the 1.4-litre model in the top-of-the-range GT trim.

The 1.4-litre TSI GT is fastest in the Golf range, completing the 0-62mph sprint in a quite impressive 8.4 seconds. Top speed is 131mph, but what is important is how it achieves all this. Acceleration is the same if you opt for the DSG semi-automatic gearbox that’ll cost you extra, so we reckon the best option is the six-speed. The manual does give you that old fashioned driving experience that the DSG doesn’t and it’s cheaper too.

Around corners the 1.4-litre GT is hard to beat. Turn-in feels precise and you are rewarded with plenty of grip when you are mid-corner. Press the throttle on exit and it’ll respond sweetly too and there’s hardly any body lean thanks in part to a more sporty suspension set-up which has been lowered by 10mm over the SE and S models.

Drivers can choose from four driving modes – Eco, Sport, Normal and Individual. This adjusts the throttle and steering response according to your preference. Most of the time you tend to leave in Normal mode, but Eco is particularly useful if you are trying keep your fuel use down and Sport, well, that’s when you want a bit more fun out on open road.

Standard kit includes 17-inch alloys which add to the grip levels – and they look very nice too.  Other equipment highlights on the GT include Automatic Distance Control (where the car slows if you get too close to the car in front), city emergency braking that automatically brakes the car if it thinks you are about to have a collision in traffic, climate control, sat nav, DAB radio and aux-in socket, iPod connectivity, front and rear parking sensors as well as extra interior and exterior detailing.

The GT also includes brake regeneration and cylinder deactivation that shuts the engine down from four cylinders to two when coasting or when little power is required. This helps to keep emissions and fuel consumption down.