Volkswagen Golf R (2013-2020) review - Reliability and Safety
The hot Golf R should be as reliable as any other Golf
The Volkswagen Golf has earned a solid reputation for reliability over the past three decades, and the R is likely to live up to this. While it has been developed with performance in mind, it uses proven components, so parts should be more durable.
The VW Golf has had consistent mid-field finishes in the Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, with owners praising its ride and handling, infotainment and engines and gearboxes. However, electrical niggles are known to be an issue. In the 2019 survey, the Golf achieved a 41st-place finish with an overall score of 91.03%, but dipped to an even lower 50th placing in our 2020 poll. Time will tell if the new Mk8 Golf will improve on these poor rankings.
As for safety, the Golf R gets the same Euro NCAP rating as the normal Golf. The full five stars were awarded in 2012, partly thanks to the curtain and driver's knee airbags and stability control, which are all standard. Plus, there are systems in place that automatically brake for you if it senses a low-speed collision to stop you getting too close to the car in front.
As with the standard Golf, the R gets an industry-standard three-year/60,000-mile warranty, which is similar to rivals, although the BMW 1 Series has an unlimited mileage limit. You can extend the VW's guarantee to five years at extra cost. A one-year breakdown recovery package is also included, although this looks a little stingy alongside the three-year schemes offered by many manufacturers.
Again, the Golf R follows the same servicing schedule as the standard model. That means you can choose between fixed or variable intervals, depending on the type of driving you do. Lower mileage users will be better off with the fixed scheme, which requires an inspection every year or 10,000 miles, whichever comes sooner. Spend lots of time on the motorway, and you can extend the gaps between services to 20,000 miles and two years, although we wouldn't recommend this on a performance model such as the R.
VW does occasionally offer pre-paid servicing packages, but these tend only to be available to owners buying their cars through the VW Solutions finance scheme.
In this review
- 1VerdictWhen a regular Golf GTI isn’t sufficiently extreme, the VW Golf R steps up to the mark
- 2Engines, performance and driveBlistering performance, agile handling and rock solid composure make the Golf R a great hot hatch
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsGiven its huge performance potential, the R is surprisingly cost effective to run
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe Golf R is subtle but stylish, with a few key differences to the Golf GTI
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceBeneath the Golf R’s high performance exterior beats the heart of one of the most practical family hatchbacks available
- 6Reliability and Safety - currently readingThe hot Golf R should be as reliable as any other Golf