4 out of 5 4.0
Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Performance diesel Golf has a lot to recommend it

Volkswagen Golf GTD (20 on) - rated 4 out of 5
Enlarge 5 photos

At a glance

New price £35,700 - £35,700
Lease from new From £426 p/m View lease deals
Used price £26,630 - £34,760
Used monthly cost From £665 per month
Fuel Economy 52.3 - 54.3 mpg
Road tax cost £165
Insurance group 27 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Swift and effortless performance
  • Excellent handling and steering
  • The 500+ mile fuel range

CONS

  • Issues with the infotainment system
  • Skoda Octavia vRS is cheaper and roomier
  • Adaptive dampers are an optional extra

Volkswagen Golf GTD rivals

Written by Keith Adams on

Is the Volkswagen Golf GTD any good?

If you’re in the market for a high-performance diesel family car, the Golf GTD has been your default choice for years. Combining the understated looks of the GTI with diesel economy has been a continuing winning formula for Volkswagen, although it’s now under attack from the plug-in hybrid Golf GTE, as the popularity of diesel falls back.

So, the GTD version of the eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf will probably be rarer than its predecessors, as sales fall back, but don’t think for a moment that Volkswagen hasn’t invested heavily into this model. As with previous GTDs, visually it’s very close to the Golf GTI, with the badges being the main giveaway. It’s not far off being GTI, either, thanks to the potent 200hp engine under its bonnet. 

Rivals are thin on the ground these days – the Skoda Octavia vRS is very similar under the skin, and powered by the same engine, while the Mercedes-Benz A 220 d and BMW 120d offer similar performance in less overtly-sporting looking packages.  

What’s it like inside?

The Golf GTD shares its interior with the Golf GTI, which means it’s a class act that’s well finished, trimmed in sober coloured and looks good. The driving position is solid, and the seats are supportive and multi-adjustable. Overall, the interior is roomy enough for four people to travel with their luggage in a degree of comfort. 

You get a chunky steering wheel that’s finished off with contrasting stitching – and it co-ordinates with the chequered sports seats very well indeed. At night, it looks good and can be personalised with 30 different hues of mood lighting.

The touchscreen-based infotainment system is the GTD’s weakest link – it might look good and is very well featured, but it also comes with a number of issues, not least in the test cars we’ve tried, it’s laggy and not 100% reliable. There’s nothing wrong with how the 8.0-inch infotainment system and 10.0-inch digital driver’s display look, but the over-reliance on touch-sensitive pads and a lack of physical buttons is a poor show.

Read more about the Volkswagen Golf’s interior here

What’s it like to drive?

If you’re looking for GTI-type performance combined with good fuel consumption and a 500-mile range, then the GTD shouldn’t disappoint too much. It’s 0-62mph time of 7.1 seconds gives hint to its muscular performance, but it’s the sledgehammer mid-range punch that really impresses, making this an excellent car for overtaking slower-moving traffic. 

The 2.0-litre TDI’s 200hp is 45hp down on the standard petrol GTI, but it doesn’t feel that much slower, and you can put that down to the 400Nm of torque it develops. The seven-speed DSG automatic is standard. And another advantage the diesel has is that it’s ticking over at less than 2,000rpm at the motorway limit.

Handling is good, too. The GTD shares its sophisticated independent rear suspension set-up that makes it agile in corners while producing less road noise than lower-powered Golfs with their standard suspension set-up. Adaptive dampers aren’t standard, and that’s disappointing.

Despite having all of that performance, it’s efficient, delivering an average of WLTP-ratified 54.3mpg, and produces a relatively low 137g/km of CO2 emissions – again, according to WLTP.

What models and trims are available?

There’s just one GTD these days, and how it looks on your drive will come down to what options you spec. As standard, it comes with 18-inch alloys, but you can option it with 19s, and spec it with adjustable dampers which bring a dizzying array of drive modes.

Otherwise it gets a similar equipment package to the GTI, which means LED headlights, a bodykit that makes it look like its petrol cousin, and that car’s illuminated grille and striking LED fog lights below. Those who know their Golfs will be able to tell this is a GTD, as it gets silver highlights instead of red ones, like the GTI.

What else should I know?

Volkswagen claims that the use of ‘twin-dosing’ – essentially using two exhaust gas treatment systems instead of just one – makes the GTD one of the cleanest diesel cars in the world. Only time will tell the effectiveness and, indeed, reliability of these emissions control systems, however. As it stands it’s a consummate all-rounder, proving that diesel is still a tempting option for long-distance drivers.

Click to find out whether we think the Volkswagen Golf GTD is worth going for

Volkswagen Golf GTD rivals

Other Volkswagen Golf models: