Volkswagen Golf Match review

Mid-spec Match version makes this an affordable Volkswagen Golf – what’s not to like?

VW Golf Match
Overall Auto Express Rating

5.0 out of 5

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Price might be higher than some rivals, but don’t let that put you off. The Volkswagen Golf in Match spec blends affordable running costs with a premium interior and slick design. There’s a strong range of well-refined engines to choose from, too.

The Volkswagen Golf is a stalwart in the family hatchback class, offering quality, style, a great drive and lots of practicality – and with the mid-spec Match trim level, there’s a decent amount of equipment on offer as well. 

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There’s a 6.5-inch touchscreen multimedia system that features Bluetooth, a DAB radio and USB connectivity, as well as an eight-speaker stereo. On top of this you get air conditioning, electric windows, VW’s XDS front differential lock to sharpen up the handling and stop-start to help improve efficiency. 

With three engines on offer in Match trim, there’s good performance and strong efficiency. You can choose from a 123bhp 1.4-litre TSI petrol that returns up to 54.3mpg combined and emits 120g/km, or two different diesels. 

The smaller 1.6-litre TDI is less powerful at 108bhp and only gets a five-speed gearbox, but it’s the cleanest engine in the regular range, putting out 99g/km CO2 and returning as much as 74.3mpg combined according to Volkswagen

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If you’re after a bit more poke, we’d recommend the refined 2.0-litre turbodiesel – 148bhp means 0-62mph takes 10.5 seconds, and with CO2 emissions of 106g/km, it’ll still be cheap to run. 

For the first time ever in the VW Golf, the high efficiency Bluemotion variant isn’t a diesel. This 1.0-litre petrol Bluemotion gets 15-inch alloy wheels (steel wheels are standard on other Match models), lower suspension and some different body parts for extra aerodynamic efficiency.

However, the big headline is that this little 113bhp unit returns 99g/km CO2. That’s impressive efficiency if you’re not keen on diesel power. 

All engines are available with a choice of manual or DSG automatic transmissions, but be aware the 1.6 TDI comes with a five-speed manual as standard, not a six-speed gearbox like the other units. 

There’s also three- and five-door body styles on offer depending on whether you want a sportier look or extra practicality. With a 380-litre boot (up to 1,270 litres if you fold the rear seats) that’s a good shape, there’s lots of space on offer, and small details like a low loading lip and adjustable boot floor mean it’ll be easy to live with on a daily basis. 

Sean’s been writing about cars since 2010, having worked for outlets as diverse as PistonHeads, MSN Cars, Which? Cars, Race Tech – a specialist motorsport publication – and most recently Auto Express and sister titles Carbuyer and DrivingElectric

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