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Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

Still so good, despite being so close to replacement

Volkswagen Golf Hatchback (13 on) - rated 4.5 out of 5
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PROS

  • Spacious and high-quality interior
  • Large range of engines available
  • GTI and R provide thrills

CONS

  • Styling is a little dull on some models
  • Optional extras can be pricey
  • Growing range of strong competition

At a glance

New price £20,955 - £37,665
Used price £4,025 - £30,520
Used monthly cost £99 - £753
Fuel economy 35 - 83 mpg
Road tax cost £0 - £260
Insurance group 7 - 39 How much is it to insure?

PROS

  • Spacious and high-quality interior
  • Large range of engines available
  • GTI and R provide thrills

CONS

  • Styling is a little dull on some models
  • Optional extras can be pricey
  • Growing range of strong competition

Volkswagen Golf Hatchback rivals

Volkswagen Golf is is one of the best-known model names of any car on sale having been part of the motoring landscape in the UK since 1974. We're currently on the seventh generation, with a major facelift carried out in 2017 to keep the design and technology right up-to-date, but an all-new Mk8 Golf is imminent. But despite that, and as you'll see from our overall star rating, we still rate it very highly indeed.

Sure, it’s more expensive to buy than most of its rivals, but given the range of equipment on offer, the breadth of the petrol, diesel, hybrid and electric range of powertrains, plus the sporty Golf GTI and Golf R, it’s difficult to find a version of the Volkswagen that won’t suit you.

The Golf faces competition from the Ford Focus and the Vauxhall Astra primarily, but also the Honda Civic, Hyundai i30, Kia Ceed, Mazda 3, Toyota Corolla, Peugeot 308 and Renault Megane.

Red Volkswagen Golf Match side elevation

Additionally, there are in-house rivals in the forms of the SEAT Leon and Skoda Octavia, while those pricier Golfs will also find themselves being compared with their Audi A3 Sportback sister cars, as well as the more premium BMW 1 Series, Lexus CT and Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

Conservative, evolutionary styling

Golfs have tended to be safe choices with some of the styling cues remaining present across all seven generations. This version is larger than the model it replaced, but it’s still a compact hatchback compared with many rivals, thanks to its near-vertical tail. That hasn’t hampered either cabin space or practicality, with one of the roomiest interiors, along with a 380-litre boot – that’s not the largest in this segment, but the 60:40 split-folding rear seat does tumble flat for added flexibility. If you need more space there’s always the MPV-like Volkswagen Golf SV, or the Golf Estate.

Inside the Golf you’ll find the high quality VW has become famous for, with an amazing level of fit and finish, with premium-grade squidgy plastics employed for the main planes of the dashboard.

VW Golf dashboard

Expansive TSI petrol and TDI diesel engine range

There's a massive range of engines, so you’ll struggle to not find a version of the VW Golf that satisfies your requirements. Every petrol- and diesel-engined version is turbocharged for both power and efficiency and all feature Volkswagen’s BlueMotion Technology fuel-saving measures, including stop-start.

Petrol engines start with a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder TSI with 85hp and 115hp, while the rest of the mainstream range is fleshed out with four-cylinder 1.5 TSI Evos in 130hp and 150hp outputs. For those seeking the efficiency of diesel power, the 1.6-litre TDI comes in 110hp form, while the 2.0-litre version is available in outputs of 150hp or 184hp if you opt for the sportier Golf GTD. 

Volkswagen e-Golf and Golf GTE

If you want an electrified car, then there are two choices: the plug-in hybrid Golf GTE is a sportier take, while the e-Golf is a pure EV (Electric Vehicle) with no conventional engine at all – the claimed range is 186 miles between recharges but as you'll read in our real-world review, that's nearer 120 in actuality.

For the GTE the electrical system is paired with a 1.4-litre petrol engine developing 204hp. Despite its sporty appearance it's actually a very easy-going daily drive that happens to have a sub-8.0 second 0-62mph time. But you can't buy one new. It proved so popular that orders were suspended in 2018, as Volkswagen struggled to meet demand. That's strengthened the values of secondhand examples considerably.

The Volkswagen e-Golf has also proven popular, with long lead times for customers who have placed an order – again, as VW struggles to ramp up battery production. But you'll have to act quickly if you want one, as there won't be an e-Golf version of the next-generation car.

The hot ones: Golf GTI Performance and Golf R

Both the Golf GTI Performance and R versions feature 2.0-litre TSI turbo petrol engines producing between 245hp and 300hp depending upon the version chosen – good enough for a top speed of 155mph and a sub-5.0 second 0-62mph time for the quickest.

Blue Volkswagen Golf R Hatchback front three-quarters

Additionally, VW offers a Performance derivative of the R, with extra go-faster bits for an even more engaging drive. The GTI Performance gets a limited-slip differential on the front axle and better brakes, while the R gets larger brakes and 19-inch alloy wheels. A titanium sports exhaust is optionally available on the latter.

Limited-run performance Golfs

VW upped the ante even further with a stripped-out, two-seater limited edition Golf GTI Clubsport S in 2016 boasting 310hp, and a top speed of 164mph. More recently, at the beginning of 2019, the GTI TCR was introduced, which stood for Touring Car Racing. This took the GTI Performance and upped the engine’s power to 290hp, added a bespoke bodykit, honeycomb-pattern graphics along the bodysides and uprated the brakes.

Run-out models introduced September 2019

To mark the beginning of the end of the Golf Mk7.5, Volkswagen has announced a number of value-added models. The Golf Match Edition, GT Edition and R-Line Design have been added to the range, all with around £1,900-worth of extra equipment as standard.

All models come with dual-zone climate control, LED headlights and the Winter Pack, which includes heated front seats, headlight washers and windscreen washer jets. They replace old non-Edition models, and each costs around £400 more than the cars they replace.

The Match Edition comes with a turbocharged 1.0-litre 115hp petrol or 2.0-litre diesel engine. The GT Edition is available with a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine or 2.0-litre diesel, and the R-Line Edition is offered with the same engine and transmission options as the GT Edition. Visit the specs page for the latest price and model information.

Volkswagen Golf Hatchback rivals

Other Volkswagen Golf models: