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Other Volkswagen Golf (2004 - 2009) models:

This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Volkswagen Golf GTI review.

View all Volkswagen Golf reviews
Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

Rivals

Ford Focus ST (06-10)

4.5 out of 5 4.5

If you want a hot hatch with character then there are few cars to rival the Focus ST. Ford has a great heritage in making affordable, fun to drive and fast small cars and it shows. Turn the key and the 2.5-litre turbocharged engine rumbles into life with a deep growl - while a quick blip of the throttle is accompanied by a satisfying burble from... read more

PROS

Superb handling, powerful and characterful engine, hugely enjoyable to drive, well priced

CONS

Thirsty engine, poor turning circle

Honda Civic Type-R (07-10)

4.5 out of 5 4.5

While many hot hatches are aiming for headline grabbing power figures, Honda has stuck to the basic principles of driver appeal for the Civic Type-R. It boasts 200bhp from a non-turbocharged engine, which is fairly modest when compared to rivals like the Ford Focus ST or SEAT Leon Cupra. However the Type-R is the most involving and rewarding... read more

PROS

Sporty engine note, sharp handling, spacious interior, striking looks

CONS

Firm ride, frantic driving experience, engine has to be worked hard

SEAT Leon Cupra (07-11)

4.5 out of 5 4.5

At the top of the Leon range is the performance Cupra model. Unlike the similarly sporty FR version, the Cupra only comes with a petrol engine, but the 2.0-litre turbocharged unit boasts 240bhp making it one of the most powerful hot hatches around. It's also quick with a 0-62mph time of 6.4 seconds while fuel economy is a reasonable 35mpg. It's... read more

PROS

Superb engine and performance, wonderful styling, precise handling, refined ride

CONS

Some hard interior plastics

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