Volkswagen Golf review

Our Rating: 
2013 model
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

The latest Volkswagen Golf is irritatingly good in all of the key areas. In fact, it may be the only car you will ever need

High quality interior, efficient diesel and petrol engines, very refined
Dull styling, remote handling, not as spacious as some rivals

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If you asked your average car buyer to name one family car, the chances are they'd opt for the Volkswagen Golf. It has been setting the standard for forty years, with rival manufacturers consistently benchmarking their models . Rivals such as the SEAT Leon, Skoda Octavia and Ford Focus narrowly beat the VW for style, practicality and driving fun, but none can quite match the Golf’s blend of talents and upmarket image.

Best hatchbacks to buy now

Now in its seventh generation, the evergreen Golf is better than ever. Underpinned by VW’s new lightweight MQB chassis, the latest version is around 100kg lighter than its predecessor, yet also more refined and sharper to drive. It also comes packed with the sort of cutting edge kit that wouldn’t look out of place on an executive saloon.

Of course, the VW isn’t exactly cheap to buy when compared to the opposition, but if offsets its higher price tag with a high quality cabin, sophisticated driving experience and upmarket image.

The range starts with the entry-level S, which gets desirable kit such as Bluetooth phone connection, a DAB radio and air conditioning. Move up to the Match model and you benefit from adaptive cruise control and alloy wheels, while the racy GT adds sat-nav and parking sensors.

VW Golf vs BMW 1 Series & Mazda 3

As ever, there’s an ultra-efficient Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion that combines a new 1.6-litre TDI diesel and slick six-speed gearbox to deliver CO2 emissions of just 85g/km and promised fuel returns of 88.3mpg. For the first time, VW also offers a petrol-powered BlueMotion TSI, capable of 65.7mpg and sub-100g/km CO2 emissions. If rock bottom running costs are key, though, there's also an al-electric e-Golf and hybrid GTE

At the other end of the performance and efficiency spectrum is the range-topping Golf R, which packs a 296bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine and a grippy four-wheel drive transmission.

However, for most keen drivers, the legendary Volkswagen Golf GTI delivers the best mix of performance, value and fun. Standard cars get 207bhp, but we’d recommend upgrading to the Performance Pack. This addition costs £995 and includes a 10bhp power boost, bigger front brakes and a clever electronically controlled front differential that boosts traction and reduces understeer.

Our choice: VW Golf 2.0 TDI 150 Match

Engines, performance and drive


The Volkswagen Golf has always delivered high levels of comfort and refinement and it's good to know the latest Golf Mk7 is no exception.

Even at motorway speeds, the Golf features hardly any wind or road noise and it's almost ghost-like over bumps - it just glides over them. Progress can be made even more fluid by choosing the adaptive damping system as an option.

In addition to the effortless ride, Volkswagen has made the Golf engaging to drive. Drivers benefit from well weighted steering, a precise gearshift and strong brakes, while an electronic differential helps deliver sharp turn-in to corners and extra traction when exiting. Overall then, the Golf is always composed and inspires confidence in its driver.

Volkswagen Golf hatchback 2013 rear tracking

Furthermore, Volkswagen fits all Golf models with more than 118bhp with a sophisticated multi-link rear axle to help improve handling – although in most situations that standard torsion beam set-up feels equally composed. 

Even better, the eco-friendly BlueMotion models now drive in exactly the same manner as other versions. This is thanks largely to the adoption of a six-speed manual gearbox in place of the old five-speed unit, plus the addition of a smoother and more powerful 1.6-litre TDI diesel.

In terms of gearboxes, both the manual and twin-clutch DSG are precise, and on the latter, there is also the option of steering wheel-mounted paddles. However, the seven-speed unit used on lower powered models in smoother than the six-speed version that’s optional on 2.0-litre TDI and 2.0-litre petrol models.

However, if fun is top of your priority list, then opt for one of the GT or R versions. The GTD offers plenty of torque for effortless overtaking, while the GTI feels beautifully balanced. Don't be fooled by the GTE though. Despite the name, it's no hot hatch. It may be faster in a straight line than the GTD, but the added weight means it's not much fun in the corners.

Of course, true performance fans will want the flagship R model. Available as a hatchback or an estate, the Golf R gets 296bhp and four-wheel drive. It feels even sharper than the GTI, and packs a tremendous amount of grip. It really is the ultimate Golf, and shames rivals costing £10,000 more.

MPG, CO2 and running costs


Volkswagen has ensured that the Golf is very easy on the wallet - so much so that even the racy 2.0-litre GTI returns an impressive 47.1mpg with CO2 emissions of 139g/km from its petrol TSI engine.

If, however, properly frugal motoring is your thing, then it's worth looking at the pair of Golf BlueMotion models. The diesel is powered by a 1.6-litre diesel TDI engine, it returns 88.3mpg and emits 85g/km of CO2, meaning it beats the equivalent Ford Focus ECOnetic, while the petrol TSI gets a tiny turbo 1.0-litre returning 65.7mpg and tax-free CO2 emissions of 99g/km.

In addition to the 1.0-litre BlueMotion, there are 1.2, 1.4 and 2.0-litre TSI units that use the similar turbocharging technology.

The 1.2-litre powerplant with 83bhp returns 57.3mpg with CO2 emissions of 113g/km, while the 105bhp variant puts out 114g/km and returns the same mpg. What's more, the 105bhp engine can be mated to the automatic DSG gearbox and when it is, it returns 56.5mpg with CO2 emissions of 115g/km.

The 1.4-litre unit has either 140 or 122bhp. When combined with the latter, it manages 53.3mpg as well as 123g/km of CO2. When combined with the DSG transmission, this figure drops.

The Golf GTD is powered by a 185bhp 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine and it returns 67.3mpg - the 150bhp version of the same engine found on the Golf GT manages the same figures.

For the ultimate in low running costs, then look no further than the electric e-Golf. Powered by a 113bhp electric motor and boasting a range of around 100 miles, the battery-powered machine is a perfect commuting car and costs around £1 to charge from a mains socket. Of course, the e-Golf won’t fit in with all types of journey, and for longer trips you’ll be better off with the Golf GTE range-extender. Using a combination of 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine and electric motor, the plug-in model blends a punchy 201bhp power output with 39g/km CO2 emissions, 166mpg and an electric range of around 30 miles.

Our experts predict the Golf will still be worth an impressive 48.2 per cent of its new value after three years.

Interior, design and technology


There's no denying that the latest Volkswagen Golf can't quite match the Mazda 3 or the SEAT Leon for head-turning appeal. What the Golf may lack in the wow factor department, however, is made up in cool Teutonic understatement. 

The Golf manages to pull of the neat trick of looking both classless and classy. This seventh generation car may not appear overly different to the previous Mk6 Golf but changes under the skin are comprehensive and there are key visual tweaks outside too. For example, this latest incarnation of Volkswagen's hatchback now features a bold crease that's cut into the flanks, and this gives it a low, sportier stance.

However, it's the interior of the Golf that's really impressive. The wraparound dash looks a little plain, but look closer and you'll see Volkswagen has laid it out intuitively, putting it together using first-rate materials. Soft-touch plastics feature throughout, while eye-catching metal-effect trim covers the centre console.

Volkswagen Golf hatchback 2013 radio

Better still, the switchgear in the Golf operates with precision and the car’s low-slung driving position is one of the best in the business. It's also a pleasant surprise to find that the flat-looking seats are surprisingly supportive.

The Golf's understated looks aren't particularly helped by the entry-level Golf S having steel wheels and plastic rims. However, move slightly higher up the range and things get better quickly. The Match model is fitted with 16-inch alloy wheels, plus some tasteful chrome trim for the front grille and lower air intake.

To highlight their performance flagship status, the Volkswagen Golf GTD and GTI models feature bespoke bumpers and 18-inch alloy wheels. The stylish black and red tartan seats and the golf ball gear knob are also a nice nod to the hot Golf’s history. The GTE gets similarly racey styling – albeit in blue – but don't be fooled, it's no hot hatch.

The Volkswagen Golf R comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, too, but you can also opt for 19-inch rims. The Golf R gets a unique bodykit, redesigned lights and quad exhausts.

Finally, the electric e-Golf is marked out by its flush fitting wheel trims and its distinctive ‘C’ shaped LED running lights that are set into the front bumper.

Practicality, comfort and boot space


If you’re looking for a significant flaw in the Golf’s make-up, you won’t find it in the practicality department. Once again, Volkswagen’s hatch ticks the important boxes in some style.

Rear passengers get plenty of head and legroom, while the wide, flat bench seat should take three people without too much of a squeeze. 

Volkswagen Golf hatchback 2013 interior

Elsewhere, Volkswagen has given the Golf lots of handy storage space, which includes a deep cubby under the front armrest between driver and front passenger, a large air-conditioned glovebox and numerous cup-holders. Buyers also benefit from vast door bins that are flock-lined to stop their contents from rattling around noisily on the move.

As ever, the large VW boot badge doubles as the tailgate release and opening it reveals a well-shaped 380-litre boot. Better still, there’s a wide opening and low load lip, while below the adjustable height false boot floor is a handy hidden storage area.

Useful additions to the load space include a 12V power supply and a pair of bag hooks, plus there’s a ski-flap for longer items. If you need more room, you can liberate a generous 1,270 litres of capacity by folding the 60:40 rear bench.

It's worth noting that the e-Golf and GTE are slightly less practical, thanks to the batteries being mounted under the boot floor. As a result, the e-Golf gets a 343-litre load bay, while the hybrid GTE shrinks to 272-litres. Both still get a usable space, but without any form of under-floor storage.

Reliability and Safety


VW has always played heavily on its reputation for building durable cars, so the brand’s 22nd place result in our Driver Power 2015 satisfaction survey will be something of a disappointment. Still, Golf owners were keen to praise their cars’ build quality, comfort and ease of driving, while the use of tried and tested components means you can expect relatively trouble-free service. 

Further peace of mind comes in the form of the VW’s strong safety record. All cars get seven airbags, stability control and a five-star Euro NCAP rating. The Match model we tested adds adaptive cruise control and autonomous emergency braking, plus the brand’s PreCrash system, which tensions seatbelts and closes windows when it senses a potential collision.

Disqus - noscript

How many "reviews" is it possible to write about a single new vehicle. Also how adulatory can one get without making oneself quite absurd. Quote "style doesn't come at the cost of practicality". That's just as well for this vehicle has no style at all; new style that is.
Only VW fanboys will think your coverage of this new launch is anything other than laughable. No doubt the vehicle has its virtues but they are hidden by what appears to be a lack of objectivity.

The fact Auto express has given the Golf 4 stars for styling sums up the reasons why I hardly visit this place.

It's as dull as dishwater!

Autoexpress (UK), Autoweek (NL) and Autobild (Germany) are all 'sponsored' magazines. The VAG group (Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda etc etc) is so important, and an extremely 'powerfull' company, that they control the motoring press completly. For these magazines VW simply dictates what to write and how many times the VW product must be presented in the magazines and on internet, and what the outcome of a tes should be. Secondly the journalists have to write, prefferable, very negative about the competition (especially when a Hyundai, or Toyota is involved).
If not so, VAG will have another look at the advertisment budget for these magazines, and that will not happen.
We have the same discussion in the Netherlands with the journalist from Autoweek, they are even worse than Auto-express. In Holland they have neglected the huge problems of the VW Tsi engines completely, only some short stories after huge critics from the readers about neglecting this issue. However when it would have been a Toyota the problems would not have been neglected.

I'm quotting this from other site: "Is it [the design] boring? Well, Yes! Does it matter? Well, No!". I think fhe Golf is one of the best products Europe nowadays has (including cars). Greatings from Portugal.

To be honest, the current Astra is boring as hell, the new Focus looks like it has special needs, the new Golf evolves on the current model. Get a grip!!!

The comments of Albert, Netherlands are really interesting. In the light of these, the current "review" of the Golf could be re-interpreted as follows:- "Dear readers, I am under pressure to genuflect to this manufacturer but in order to alert you to this I have produced a piece so over the top as to produce in you a mixture of laughter and indignation".

Defecting from VW was the best move I ever made. Bland design, mediocre quality and reliability, expensive to maintain and generally poor dealer support. There are better options out there.

Nice car quality i can't fault it, But the prices of this size hatchbacks has gone way over the top Crazy I Know The Quality Has Improved But I Don't Think It Justifies The Price. Just Around 5 yrs Ago cars of this size car used to cost around £11,000 - £18,000 Now They're £16,000 - £25,000 That's A Huge Difference !

I have a Mk6 TSI 160, and I can't fault it. It cost around £25k two years ago with options and I obviously looked and test drove many other cars before buying. The drive and ride is just perfect. It's fast - really shifts, and yet taking it steady on the Motorway (7ish all the way) I can get around 56 mpg to my wife's parents! The interior is superb quality and just so comfortable. I looked at A3/A4/3 series/C class Merc, and none could match it's overall qualities. It's a wonderful car, practical with the hatch and with a quality upmarket interior better than all of the other's I test drove. The styling is subtle and yet stylish, whilst many of the other cars are now getting quite ugly. It's just the complete car. How many people have driven a spec'd up mid range golf I wonder? There was nothing that any of the above cars had that this didn't, in fact the Golf came with far more, from touchscreen/ipod integrated entertainment system which made all the others look cheap, to fog lights coming on to indicate which way your turning etc etc. I'm assuming not many of you who have posted negative comments ever ever driven a £25k Golf, let alone sat in one - your loss.

sorry chaps... meant to say 70 ish :-) Anyone know who you can edit comments on here for typos?

Lots, because the Golf is one of the biggest sellers in the EU and clearly people want to read about it. Please do us all a favor and stop coming on to VAG articles just to slate them. It's extremely boring. We get you don't like VW. Move on.

why is that only in your reliability survey the gulf does well ,in other it does not even get in the top 15/20


Why no UK option for tow bar and electrics as available in other European countries ?
Ireland Trailer hitch manually swivelling 924 Euro.
UK white paint £200, Ireland NCO ?
VW IE, towing capacity 1600 kgs.
VW UK, towing capacity ?????????????????????????????????


This must be the"best car in the real world". Yes it's expensive, but it's a premium high quality car, and competes with BMW/Merc/Audi (and betters them - particularly as it does not have their horrible image), so it's going to be expensive - in fact it's good value compared to it's German rivals. If you can only have two cars, then the first has to be a Golf, and also an open top sports car - say a Boxster on the drive next to it, and then you'll have it all, everything you'll ever need.

I cannot believe A.E. have awarded 4.5 for Reliability...? Have they never visisted the VW forums that are full of tales of Nightmares...As a mk6 owner who has owned a number of Golfs which in the past if you got a good one will last a while, I feel the quality has slipped with every new incarnation, In just under 3 years ours has had New Alloys due to corrosion (common fault) 2 new new Throttle Pedals (the floor mounted Organ Pedal seizes up, not plesent to drive , over £130 just to buy, Luckly under warrenty ) crunchy gears when cold (unresolved) Horrible running which Stealers are unable to sort (I would avoid the 1.6TDi which still appears VW still cannot remedy as they keep giving it new updates ) new injectors but still Diesel Knocksand various other problems including bits of trim that keep falling off / annoying rattles, all under 25K .

The new model also looks like it has the same sh*tty door seals which tend to crack and let in water they also creak on the flimsy tops of the doors and now the I have dashboard warning light ESP fault, This is quite scary as in previous cases it almost always starts at 3 years old... check it out here .

Personal experience would never buy a brand new design, especially with a new design engine until the whole design is around 3 years old, that way most of faults may (in theory) have been sorted by then.. Also the prices should have settled down by then, better discounts.

A very interesting read. So many rebuttals, but where to start. Have you considered your residual value? How much does owning a Golf actually cost?
Assuming your cars is an 10/10 plate Golf GT Tsi160 5dr with 25k + Metallic, WeBuyAnyCar value it at £10,740. Of course, this excludes options (although they are not valued as high as the amount you paid) and you should be able to get a little more selling private, but I'd say that it's taken a BIG hit!
Can you clarify your model?

Actually, Matts carbuyer review seems spot on. It's a good all founder but there's no category it excels in.
There are better quality, cheaper, prettier, more practical cars out there. I seriously don't understand why would a person interested in cars buy one. Others would call this a face lift, not a new model. And it's been that way ever since mk4 (which was awful quality, just like mk3).

Golf is a myth forged with first two generations that people still believe in. But it's just an average car.

After 5 years and gradually worsening reviews i've now decided I'm going to stop buying this magazine from this week onwards. AE reviews for anything VW simply appears to be paid adverts, lacking any objective opinions by the reviewers. I get to drive many cars and while i've not seen or sat in a MK7 personally its looks just as dull and boring as the last 2 version - how can a car this boring and dull get 5 stars. The last model was far from good and i can't see this being any better. I have no respect left for the reporting you do.

Sounds like you've been very unlucky - that can happen on any car from any manufacturer, looks like you had a lemon. I had a Mk4, and it was the most reliable car I've ever had - I ran it for 180k from new, only changing the clutch/gearbox towards the end of my time with it. The only problems I had were with electrics (nothing too bad), and the doors could stick in the freezing winter. On the basis of what an excellent - reliable - car that was, I bought a MK6 just over two years ago. I've done 26k, and it is still drives like it's brand new -as I'd expect for a Golf. A fantastic car, and I say again, I've never come across any reliability issues.

squint a little and the front of the car in the main pic looks like a Peugeot 306

Well, it just goes to show that the 'Driver Power' survey means absolutely nothing. Real costs/breakdowns are the thing. READ THIS!!!!!!!!:

Glad that everything is life is NOT as reliable as a Volkswagon/BMW/Audi/Mini!!!

It's a 60 plate. Golf Mk6, silver metallic, 5 dr, TSI GT (160 bhp) manual. Sunroof, touch screen media, 2 zone climate... and other goodies. You know, all cars lose about 1/2 their value after 3 years, but the Golf far less than most, so I don't see the point in picking up on that... in any case, I've absolutely no intention of selling it... it's just too good! However, I would be interested in what your rebuttals are... particulary "so many"? Maybe you could list them all? Whilst your at it, maybe you could suggest a similar car of your choosing and I could then go about listing rebuttals of that. The Golf is a fine car - that is undeniable - it's a fact, given the amount of sales, and reviews throughout the world. Yes, I chose to fully load mine with options, which will not have done the re-sale value any favours, as no one gets back what they paid for on options - but hey, trust me, when it has the right engine, and fully loaded with all the options, the Golf is an absolutely superb car - unbeatable.

... oh, and it has 18" wheels which make it a stunning car to look at. Here's an image of my exact car...

This is a bit like shopping in Sainsburys.

Skoda- Value brand.
VW-Own brand (same product but diff packaging)
Audi-Taste the difference range (fancy packaging)


Spec up Golf, it reaches Audi A3/BMW 1 region. Some say "I looked at A3/A4/3 series/C class Merc, and none could match it's overall qualities." WOW!!!

09 1.4TSI DSG 15,000 miles the EPC light came on a few weeks back. £520 the repair cost. Electric pedal control. The new Golf has now a electric parking brake, radar cruise control and engine stop start. More and more to go wrong out of warranty. Some countries have had the warranty extended to 5 years on the DSG box not us thiough.

Why you would waste 25k on a golf is beyond me! You are clearly deluded if you actually think you made the better choice in getting a A4/3 series/C class instead! The golf is a great car but your claim stating these three dont get close to your car is comical.

I'll give you 3 huge flaws to your oh-so-amazing golf.

1. I could fall asleep looking at it its so boring
2. Compared to the rwd alternatives from bmw and mercedes... it is no where near as good to drive
3. The customer experience I have experienced from VW dealers is absolutely shocking

I'm assuming you have never driven a £25k 1 series or a3, let alone sat in one - your loss.

click edit

Also whilst your at it... maybe edit this comment too... *how

How can you say Dull styling then give it nearly 5 stars on its individual rating?! Its as bland and horrible as they come. It is lacking any sense of style or design at all. I therfore can only presume its so you can give it a 5 star rating as we know how much you all love a Golf over at AE.

I have said on here before about a mates Golf. It was a TDi and had 2 turbos! within 30k. The blank button on the dash fell in with just a slight touch and it had creaks and moans all over the place so its lost on me how they can get calls for such great build quality.

I'll stick with my Giulietta any day of the week thank you. Its faster, cleaner, better spec'ed and properly styled inside and out.

Question is why would you want a 1 series or an A3 when you can have the new A class or a Giulietta! They better it in every single way possible, price, spec, design.

As much as i think the golf is the average car for the non-car fan the 1 series is just a terrible car. Also why do you need RWD in the real world?

You clearly need some Alfa Romeo love in your life! ;)

Give me a Seat anyday!

I agree the Alfa is better designed... but better in every way?

Build quality? Reliability? DRIVE?!?!

A lot of people rant on about how useless RWD is in the real world... but when you put the car through its paces down twisting B-roads... You will have such a huge grin on your face for the whole duration of the drive

Of course if you are a boring middle aged man with a family to cater for then you are completely right... go for the boring golf or other boring FWD cars!

Not sure that can be true as Audi is supposed to be the posh version of a VW.

Ideal would be a AR 159 and Fezza! That is everything you need.

Yes every way. Well the relability argument is a mute point as far as I'm concerned, My Guililetta has now done 65,000 and not had a single issue. My 147 before that had nearly 200k on it and never let me down, unlike the crappy 3 series I had the misfortune of running. I beleive Alfa is only one placve behind BMW in the power survey now too.
The build quality is also spot on, but it was always going to be when the old boss of Rolls Royce was running the firm! It has no vibrations or rattles, its so smooth over distances and on the twisty stuff leaves most others behind, including my mates Golf.
I have had RWD, FWD and 4WD and to be honest I find next to know difference on the roads, if i was on a track yes fair enough i would take RWD anyday of the week, but for everyday use, it makes no difference what so ever.

Also should just add Fiat/Alfa are miles ahead of all german manufacturers in the engine failure table!

I can argue the exact same faultless reliability for my German cars which I have owned a1, a4, a6, c class, 1 series... Apart fom a clutch in the a4 none of the above cars have had any problems over the 200,000 miles of driving in the last 5 years... Until I experience an unreliable German car then I refuse to believe they are unreliable.

You still claim the alfa is better in everyway. But you know your talking rubbish. The 1 series is a far better car to drive. For me this is what matters on my 70 miles b-road commute everyday. This is my 'everyday real world' that you talk about

HA! Its just not. i drove it before I got my Alfa and its just bland. Yes the M1 or what ever they call it will prob be better but anything with a 2.0l engine just isn't. They arent that fast as the car weighs too much and removes all the fun which also kills the steering of which there is very little feedback form too. It also looks like a dog squating for a s**t and the interior is just lacklustre, I wont even start on the woeful spec levels. I work in the Lakes so I am driving windy roads pretty much every day and nothing rewards me like the Alfa.
I remember the A6 my gaffer had been in and out of the shop constantly, that needed a new gearbox within about a month of it been delivered. The BMW 320d I had needed a new ECU within 3 months, after this is was fault after fault, the airbag went off while it was sat in the carpark! We told the hire firm to take it away and burn it. The only german car I have tried and didnt mind was the C Class but this still has the horrible Merc leather in.

To call the BMW's drive boring is comical... And at this point I can't be bothered to argue with someone so daft! Enjoy your reliable Alfa :)

You clearly dont do that much proper driving otherwise you would know. You just stick to liking what AE and their misguided journalism tells you to like. I shall be out in my Alfa or on my MVA Brutale driving with the grown ups.

Nonsense... just because you dont have RWD, doesn't mean its useless! RWD offers greater balance making them better in corners unlike your nose heavy fwd cars... try taking a hard bend in a golf or equivalent on a b road at 70 and see what happens! Then for accelerating, 2 words - wheel spin!! They are also much stronger so can take a lot more abuse.

Please though, enlighten me, what is it that you drive petrolhead that is oh so amazing?

Corrrr... this place is full of bitter FWD loving noobs... just because you dont have it, it must be S**T! Just like all the people without iphones - The iphone must be useless because i dont have one! Stupid child.

I had a fair amount to say in response (some on the virtues of rear wheel drive), but on seeing your offensive comments above, together with your other comment (Leon v 1 series) where you're also being offensive, I've deleted it.

This is a forum for car lovers to enjoy lively debate... not a place for foul mouthed, offensive comments and making other people feel uncomfortable. I also do not regard something that I do not have, as being as you have described it above.

You are obviously not worthy of being included in a civilised discussion.

Good night, and I sincerely hope that you do not kill yourself or anyone else.

Reliability buy japanese,way ahead of vw and any other country. Styling you pays your money and takes your choice. Verdict on reliability by by AE based on 2 cars is not acceptable and is plain stupid. Cost is up to the individual if you can afford it buy it. I have owned 5 VW cars and they were all turkeys, very unreliable so bought a honda and so true engineering excellence.

AE: Someone has changed this link to the new car site.... this is NOT the original link that I posted - could you remove it please, as this has now been greyed out for me, so I cannot edit it. Thank you.

Iv drivin a 1.6Tdi with a DSG. Very underwhelmed. It even looks like a van.

I'm mentioning the words "similarly priced" several times in this comment , and there is a very good reason for this - because, in order to have an honest and fair comparison, you must to compare "like with like". I'm absolutely certain you have in your mind's eye a Golf which is actually priced far less than their equivalent Merc/Audi/BMW rivals when you are comparing them. Is that a fair comparison? Come on, be fair - it's not is it? Do you see the Golf as a "lower class" car? If so, then you really must get this idea out of your head, and compare like with like - IE a Golf that you would have to pay a similar amount of money for compared to it's Merc/Audi/BMW rivals. I absolutely believe that if the Golf had a BMW badge, or a Merc badge, all of the badge snobs would be singing it's praises. I feel very sorry for such people. They are deluding themselves.

I seriously suggest you sit in and compare each of these cars (of a similar price) and compare them back to back. You need to spend an afternoon driving from one dealership to another, but it will be worth it. Ensure you compare cars that are of a similar price. Above all - ensure you test drive each of these similarly priced models. Only the A3 feels as nice a place to be, as a similarly priced Golf, from the cars listed above - when they are of a similar price. (Did you know that the Golf costs just as much as the A3, given identical spec/identical engine - so.. why is the A3 "prestige" and the Golf not?) What is "Prestige"? Because if it is quality and engineering prowess then the Golf is just as prestigious if not more "prestigious" than all of the cars listed above, with the exception of the A3 which equals the Golf.

Without doubt, the "prestigious" Merc feels cheap in comparison to the Golf (it is as clear as day light for anyone comparing a similarly priced Merc to a similarly priced Golf), as a direct consequence of many of the components and materials used. You really must start appreciating reality, and that is that the Golf is as good if not better than many models produced by the so called "premium brands".

At the time.. 6 months ago!!, it was a problem with Disqus.

Time to stop buying this mag due to its complete bias towards all thing VAG. Check out how many stars are deducted when anything Japanese or Korean has something they don't like in comparison to VAG. How can the Golf get higher ratings on practicality and reliability than the civic when it has a tiny boot and continually finishes below it on reliability surveys? The mag should be free as all it does it advertise all things German or German owned.

What's with this 'boring' comment?

A Golf is a Golf, and its appearance is evolutionary, a development concept similar to that followed by Porsche.

If you want 'exciting' styling, there's plenty of choice, especially from Asian manufacturers.

Its appearance is boring that's what it is!

Fair enough styling is a preference, some people like the golfs styling, but the other two points I made are still very valid. The golf isn't as good to drive as some of the competition and their retailer network is by far the worst I have encountered on numerous occasions.

Also whilst you're at it... maybe edit your spelling of you're.

How about this?

5 starts and it doesn't make it in the top 50 most reliable cars?

Yes, absurd isn't it. AE should cut out their star rating altogether and avoid derisory remarks.

Ford Focus a better Drive?? Rubbish!! It felt cheap and pretty nasty compared to the VW, Skoda or even a Vauxhall Astra!!! AE gets the top of the rangers to spin around in, not the models down th food chain - and you don't get to suffer the Blue Oval's awful Dealerships and attitude to warranty claims when the auto gearboxes break and they start to leak after 3 years!!

I came to the same conclusion 4 years ago that A E reviews were becoming more and more useless to the reader wanting an honest and accurate view of a particular vehicle as an aid to a buying decision.

I did exactly this, I drove around and tried: A Golf, A3, Astra, Focus, 1 Series, i30, Guiletta, Auris(?), DS4, 308 and a V40. You don't seem to have tried many in the class and just stuck with best known for badge snobbery not the entire class. If you had you would see just how far behind the Golf is.

There was only one outstanding car. The Guiletta, it had the best spec for the best base price, it was the cleanest, fastest, best looking, best handling, just the best. Its why I have one now and will probably have another one when its renewal time saying that the Volvo is well wroth considering too, but one that will not be on my list after trying it is a Golf.

The reason I only mentioned the German makes is that Lixunhuan was making a silly snobbish comment suggesting that the other germans are better than the Golf which they are not. That has nothing to do with the cars I actually tested, or my preferences. I'm sure you would have retorted if he had said the same about your Alfa.

I hate snobs with a passion, particularly "arm glued to the window, sun glasses wearing snobs", and I can assure you I am not one of them! I pride myself that I will buy any car regardless of the badge - so you're so wrong on those two counts, that you couldn't possibly be any farther away from the truth. I didn't test drive the Alfa because I don't like the look of it (although I do like it's rear styling). I have owned an Alfa in the past, and love the marque. Like you, when I purchased my Golf, I bought it for all the reasons you perceived when you bought your Alfa - as you feel the Alfa is the best all round car, I equally feel the Golf is the best car all round car... as you say "best looking, fastest, best handing/ride, just the best etc etc etc etc etc .... We're both happy with our purchases, and we both feel we've made the best choice!! But to say " you would see just how far behind the Golf is" is frankly, a ridiculous thing to say.

That's fair do's :)

Better styling and reliability than the auris?

Good looks is subjective. Reliability?

I think hyundai i 30 is better as a reliable, modern, comfortable and cheaper than golf with a 7 year warranty. hyunsai i30 is better than toyota auris as well. times are changing.

I replaced my R32 with a Golf 'R'
Big mistake the latter is NO comparison.It is 'tinny, cheap(not in cost)and nasty,and not a performance drivers car.
Now have a BMW M135i which exactly answers my needs. CEE

This review has just re-surfaced after some months absence. It is about 12 months since it first appeared! As an exercise in re-cycled hagiography this takes some beating.

Dull and overcast exterior and interior style. Neutral handling and drive. The Golf is not for me! Only created a great image and has a fine marketing strategy, nothing else!!

Why have Toyota not embraced the turbo route?
There has to be a reason, and Toyota remain the benchmark for this market and even their newest model Corolla does not offer turbo charging.
Do agree with other comments regarding the absolute dull styling of Golf.

Yeah... sure, it's crystal clear that you have never driven a Golf Mk6/Mk7, and definitely not an R. The Mk6 (IE R) Golf far exceeds the Mk5 (IE R32) in quality - there was a significant improvement. So what you've just said is complete biased nonsense that most people would attribute to a teenager. Not only is the Golf is a higher quality car than the BMW - anyone who sits in, and bothers to test drive both cars can see that, but the Golf R is a better car in every respect than the ugly, and frankly pointless, 135i. In every test I've ever seen, including Top Gear's test (check out the video) where the Golf R32 was tested against the 130i, the Golf was way ahead in every respect - it also trounced the 1 series (1.5 seconds difference) when the Stig raced both cars around the Top Gear track. Clarkson said the R32 is "every bit as good, as the 130i is bad". The Golf was a better drive, more comfortable, better quality, more practicable.. etc etc. The R and 135i have now superseded those models, and there's no reason all all to suggest that the BMW has closed the gap.

Had my GTD for a week now, it's fantastic. Mine is a company car but I chose this over a BMW, Merc or Audi...simply because I didn't want to spend more than my monthly allowance.
Had co cars for 25 yrs, this is the best. Effortless performance, good kit and, personally, I really like the styling.
Everyone has their own tastes/likes, let's agree to differ.

Is Auto Express now a branch of the VW publicity division as this would explain the appallingly biased reviews.

Is this a VW press release? They couldn't have written this better themselves.

Most unreliable car = vw
Im never purchasing a vw again. The more electrical functions they add, the more engine/esp lights we see. I think they're programmed for every 6 months. Absolutely disgraceful. Stick to Toyota's much better!

Do NOT buy this car ! unless you want to suffer from rear suspension knocking !! I bought this junk and i really regret !! we have been waiting for 2 years for a fix but still nothing !!

World class premium luxury.

Last updated: 3 Jun, 2015