Volkswagen Golf R (2013-2020) review - Interior, design and technology

The Golf R is subtle but stylish, with a few key differences to the Golf GTI

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Interior, design and technology Rating

4.6 out of 5

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With a classy and subtly revised look, the Golf R doesn't shout about its potential. The R grille features a chrome strip, while unique bumpers, wider side sills and smoked chrome mirror caps are the only markers that this is a special Golf. Spec it in a metallic grey hue, and bystanders could easily mistake the R for a diesel Golf in R-Line trim.

At the back, you’ll spot LED light clusters and the quad exhausts, which are the biggest giveaway to the R's performance. The optional 19-inch alloy wheels add an aggressive look and, combined with the 15mm lower ride height, they contribute to the Golf R’s purposeful look.

With its boxy proportions and practical image, the estate version is even more low key, giving the model real Q-car appeal. Although no longer offered on the Golf price list, it still looks particularly stealthy on the standard 18-inch alloy wheels.

The cabin blends the sporty feel of a hot hatch with the swish ambience of an upmarket executive car. The standard Golf’s superb dash is complemented by a gloss black centre console and carbon-look decorative trim. Sports seats and aluminium pedals come as standard, while the classy and sporty multifunction wheel and first-rate switchgear make everything you touch feel suitably special for a £30k+ car.

Snazzy LED interior lights, exterior puddle lights, LED headlights and classy dials add to the Golf’s upmarket feel, while the standard kit tally also includes Bluetooth, parking sensors, adaptive cruise control and a DAB radio. The driving position is spot-on, too, with lots of steering wheel and seat adjustment.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

The standard Discover Navigation touchscreen set-up is easy to use and features clear mapping, using an 8-inch screen. You can upgrade to the Discover Navigation Pro set-up that features a larger 9.2-inch screen that features gesture control, too.

All versions of the Golf R get an eight-speaker set-up and a relatively modest 4x20W power output. However, listening to your music is straightforward thanks to a DAB/AM/FM tuner, single CD player, Bluetooth connectivity and a USB connection. You can add the Dynaudio stereo upgrade that includes an eight-channel digital amplifier with a healthy 400W output.

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