Volkswagen Golf Hatchback (13 on) - Review

Review by Simon McBride on
Last Updated: 02 Sep 2014
5
This is the seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf that follows the original Mk1 launched back in 1976. It doesn’t look a whole lot different from the current Golf but Volkswagen claims it is completely new.

Volkswagen Golf Hatchback (13 on)
  • More kit as standard
  • New safety features
  • More fuel efficient
  • More room
  • New tech optional especially on entry level model
  • Very similar design to old one

New price range:

£16,975 - £30,869

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Used price range:

£9,656 - £23,809

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Summary

Parkers Rating:

5 out of 5

This is the seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf that follows the original Mk1 launched back in 1976. It doesn’t look a whole lot different from the current Golf but Volkswagen claims it is completely new.

The reason for the similar looks is deliberate. VW says the evolution of the Golf design, with the company continually refining, tweaking and enhancing the car over the years, makes the design timeless.

More room

Thanks to the new Golf growing in length and width (by 56mm and 13mm respectively) there is more interior space. Front passengers get 20mm more leg space and 31mm more shoulder space, while rear passengers are served 15mm more room to dangle legs and 30mm more space to waggle shoulders.

There is also more elbow room front and back. The boot has grown too, from 350 litres to 380 litres, and the boot sill sits lower at 685mm. Rear seats also split as before but a new feature is an optional folding front passenger seat that enables a long load space of 2,412mm – ideal for trips to the DIY shop.

Standard equipment

There are eight trim levels: S, BlueMotion, e-Golf, SE (replaced by Match from summer 2014), GT, GTD, GTE, GTI and R models to choose from, the latter two of which are reviewed separately. All Volkswagen Golfs will be fitted with touchscreens in the centre console that is angled towards the driver for better ergonomics.

Lower specification models come with a 5.8-inch colour display while the range-topping satellite navigation systems feature an 8.0-inch colour screen. Standard features include DAB digital radio, aux inputs including USB, Bluetooth preparation and trip computer.

All Golfs will come with an electronic parking brake with an auto-hold feature that automatically holds the car until the clutch engages. SE and Match models and up will also be fitted with adaptive cruise control that automatically maintains a set distance from the vehicle in front. Also available will be the optional Park Assist – the self-park system already available on other VW models such as Tiguan.

New safety features

Standard on all VW Golfs is a multi-collision brake system that automatically brakes the car after an initial impact if the car hasn't already stopped. All versions bar the entry-level S will also feature Front Assist and City Emergency Braking. Each system is designed to automatically brake the car to a standstill if the system detects an impending accident. Other systems include Driver Alert (monitors driver’s inputs to detect any signs of tiredness), Lane Assist (warns if the car strays out of its lane) and Dynamic Light Assist (controls the high beam so it doesn’t dazzle oncoming traffic).

Less weight and new engines

The new Golf has been on a diet and shed 100kg, plus it gets a new range of engines that are all fitted with stop/start and battery regeneration systems to boost fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.

There will be six petrol and five diesel engines to choose from. In terms of petrol there is a 1.2-litre TSI with a claimed average of 57.6mpg and 113g/km (road tax band C), a 1.4-litre TSI with Active Cylinder Technology (system can shut down two of the cylinders to reduce fuel consumption) that can return 58.9mpg and emits 112g/km of CO2 (also road tax band C) and three tunes of the 2.0-litre TSI in the GTI and R.

There are five diesels comprising 1.6 and 2.0-litre versions that return a claimed range of 60.1mpg and 88.3mpg depending on the version selected. The 1.6-litre emits 99g/km, or just 85g/km in BlueMotion form, so currently qualifies for zero road tax while the 2.0-litre emits between 106g/km (qualifying for road tax band B) and 122g/km (band D).

The GTD uses a 181 bhp diesel with 380Nm of pulling power. The result is a 0-62mph time of 7.5 seconds allied to impressive 67.3mpg and 109g/km CO2 output.

Joining the range in summer 2014 is the plug-in hybrid GTE. With 201bhp available, the GTE mates a 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine with an electric motor. A top speed of 135 and a sprint to 62mph in 7.6 seconds are even more impressive when you consider the claims of 188mpg and CO2 emissions of just 35g/km.

From late 2014 there will also be a fully-electric version for the first time, the e-Golf. With a range of 118 miles and powered by a 113bhp motor, the emissions-free car is distinguished with full LED lights front and rear.

Prices for the range start just under the outgoing model and come with more kit fitted as standard. So is this seventh heaven for VW?

Read the full Volkswagen Golf review to see if it can still top the class.

Parkers Ratings

Overall

5 out of 5

Performance

4 out of 5

Handling

4.5 out of 5

Comfort

5 out of 5

Practicality

4.5 out of 5

Behind the wheel

4.5 out of 5

Safety

5 out of 5

Reliability

5 out of 5

Running costs

4 out of 5

Green credentials

5 out of 5

Buying new

4 out of 5

Buying used

4 out of 5

Selling

4.5 out of 5

Equipment

4.5 out of 5

What owners say...

 Excellent space for my family including the two young children. I love the entertainment system that links in with iphone.  

5 out of 5

Daniel Piper ,   20 May 2014    ... read more

 Plenty of space and cubby holes with a good sized, very usable boot.  

5 out of 5

John Bradshaw ,   21 Apr 2014    ... read more

 Adaptive cruise control. I have radar and parking sensors and on motorway driving ACC is wonderful.  

2 out of 5

Keith Ginsburg ,   04 Mar 2014    ... read more

See all Owners' Reviews

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