In-depth reviews

Volkswagen Golf review - MPG, CO2 and running costs

Mild-hybrid petrol engines help boost efficiency, while improved diesel units offer buyers lower emissions and more range.

Volkswagen has introduced many features to improve on the Golf’s green credentials. Plug-in and mild-hybrid versions, stop-start systems and small-capacity 1.0-litre engine options all feature in the model line-up and should help customers make important cost savings.

Company car users will be particularly taken with the GTE's low CO2 emissions of 36g/km, while the plug-in model is also able to cover around 32 miles on electric drive alone. Volkswagen claims the GTE will average 176.6mpg, although you'll need to ensure you regularly charge the battery to get anywhere near that figure.

Diesel economy figures are also impressive, however, - the 2.0 TDI 113bhp version manages a fuel-sipping 68.9mpg in entry-level Life trim and, while you might not reach that number in every day driving, you certainly won’t be a regular at the fuel station. Emissions are cleaner, too, with the same base car emitting from 107g/km of CO2. The 148bhp oil-burner still offers terrific range, with a claimed 64.2mpg maximum and CO2 emissions from 116g/km. Opting for the 197bhp GTD model means you'll pay a little more in fuel costs as it returns 54.3mpg.

The petrol cars provide an interesting mix. Delivering a claimed maximum of 53.3mpg, the 109bhp 1.0-litre unit has identical fuel consumption to the 128bhp 1.5-litre version. With both emitting 121g/km of CO2 and just £600 separating them on the price list, it would be odd not to opt for the extra boost in power.

The 148bhp eTSI variant comes with a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission, but can’t match the fuel economy of the standard 1.5 TSI with its six-speed manual gearbox. Claimed maximum figures are 49.6mpg and 50.4mpg, with CO2 emissions of 129g/km and 124g/km, respectively.

Customers looking towards the performance of the GTI will see average economy of 38.2mpg and emissions from 168g/km, while the GTI Clubsport version delivers almost identical figures. The more powerful R model is slightly less efficient, returning 36.2mpg and 177g/km of CO2.

Insurance groups

Insurance premiums for the Golf shouldn’t be too expensive. The 1.0-litre petrol Life version is in group 14, while the 1.5 TSI 148bhp variant occupies group 20. The 1.5 eTSI is a little higher at group 21, with the top-spec 2.0-litre diesel sitting in group 23.

The higher performance of the GTI Clubsport and R models means that they are placed in groups 29 and 31, respectively.

Depreciation

A used Golf normally holds onto its value fairly well, but in the Mk8 range there are some models which perform better than others. Data suggests there is a three-way split between petrol, mild-hybrid and diesel cars, with residual values (after three years and 36,000 miles) of 47%, 45% and 43%, respectively.

Customer confidence in diesel power has taken a hit in recent times, and private buyers may be put off from choosing an oil-burner, particularly as Volkswagen intends to roll-out further mild-hybrid models across the Golf range. Diesel may still make sense for fleets and those doing high mileages, though.

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