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View all Volkswagen Golf reviews
Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5
  • Efficient BlueMotion petrols and diesels
  • Plug-in hybrid GTE reduces costs further
  • Electric e-Golf cheapest of the lot to run

With so many efficient powerplant options, finding a Volkswagen Golf with low running costs is a straightforward process. Of the conventional options, the BlueMotion 1.6-litre TDI diesel is best with a claimed fuel economy of 83.1mpg – though this wasn't directly replaced as part of the 2017 facelift.

BlueMotion is the way to go with the petrol line-up, too, with up to 47.9mpg claimed for the 1.5-litre TSI Evo under the WLTP test regime, thanks to its ability to completely shut down the engine when you’re backing off the throttle.

What are the hybrid and electric Golfs like?

With its plug-in hybrid petrol-electric drivetrain, the Golf GTE has a combined average of 166.2mpg while the pure-electric e-Golf uses no petrol or diesel at all, but requires charging every 144 miles according to the claimed range.

Blue Volkswagen Golf GTE front three-quarter

With five levels of regenerative braking available on the e-Golf, the driver can adjust the severity of the brakes that return charge to the battery by nudging the gearlever left or right in D mode. This automatically applies the brakes when lifting off the accelerator pedal, slowing you down gradually to walking pace.

Charging time, as before, stands at nine hours from a regular three-pin socket, or six hours from the optional wallbox installed at your home. Find a fast-charging DC supply and it’ll take 30 minutes to reach 80% charge.

Performance versions relatively cheap to run

Most expensive in terms of its thirst for fuel is the limited edition GTI Clubsport S – it can only average 38.1mpg, and presumably that’s when it’s being driven incredibly gently on the older NEDC test cycle.

For the mainstream Golf range, other running costs are fairly modest, although the sportier GTI and R models will get through their tyres and brakes at a more frequent rate on examples that have been driven hard.

Blue Volkswagen Golf R Hatchback rear three-quarter

Only one conventionally-engined Volkswagen Golf has emissions below the 100g/km of CO2 benchmark and that’s the discontinued BlueMotion edition of the 1.6-litre TDI, with a claim of 89g/km.

Even better still is the plug-in hybrid GTE which pumps out just 39g/km of CO2 while the fully electric e-Golf doesn’t produce any CO2 at all.

Worst-polluting of the range? That'll be the R in five-door form, at 162-164g/km of CO2. Higher than most, but then this is the fastest Golf produced to date.

The GTI Performance ranges between 140-155g/km depending on the type of gearbox fitted, while the DSG-only TCR produces around 151-153g/km.

Which VW Golf is best as a company car?

The cheapest entry point into a Volkswagen Golf as a company car is the S 1.0-litre TSI in three-door form, but in reality the SE Navigation trim with a five-door body is likely to be most popular, with the 1.6-litre diesel just edging it in terms of cost, although the 1.5-litre TSI Evo is a more attractive proposition to live with.

Is the Golf a paragon of reliability?

  • Only one recall so far
  • Largely tried and trusted mechanicals
  • Owners are generally satisfied

'If only everything in life was as reliable as a Volkswagen'; a phrase dreamed-up by marketing executives decades ago that has stuck ever since. And the good news is that Volkswagen Golf reliability should live up to its legendary reputation.

All of the major mechanical components for the petrol and diesel ranges are shared across the entire Volkswagen Group range with a few maladies reported, but nothing major. It’s mainly the relative infancy of the plug-in hybrid and electrical drivetrains where there are a few question marks.

Much of the electronic software for safety and driver assistance is shared, too, although DVSA does cite one recall centred around the steering – this only affected a small number of 2015 cars. The Parkers’ Owners’ Reviews section suggests customers of this-generation Golf are on the whole broadly positive about their Volkswagen experience, although there are one or two tales of woe in there.

Estimated fuel cost per year

Fuel type Pence per litre Estimated cost per year *
Unleaded 128p £895 - £1,663 *
Diesel 131p £718 - £1,027 *

* The estimated fuel cost figure is based on an annual mileage of 10,000 miles and is a guide to how much this model will cost in fuel each year. It's calculated using the model's average MPG (calculated from both town centre and motorway driving) and the average fuel price from around the country. Actual fuel costs will vary based on driving style and road conditions.

Highest and lowest CO2 emissions

Engine CO2 emissions Road tax (12 months)
Petrol/PlugIn Elec Hybrid 38 g/km (Min) £0 - £135
2.0 TSi (310ps) Petrol 180 g/km (Max) £145 - £260

Ongoing running costs

Road tax (12 months) £0 - £260
See tax rates for all versions
Insurance group 7 - 39
How much is it to insure?

Vehicle excise duty (VED) varies according to the CO2 emissions and the fuel type of the vehicle. For cars registered before 01 March 2001 it is based on engine size. For cars registered on or after 01 March 2001 the VED or road tax is based on the car's CO2 emissions.