In-depth reviews

Volkswagen Golf review - Reliability and safety

The new Golf is as safe as ever, but Volkswagen will want improved customer satisfaction.

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Reliability and safety Rating

4.0 out of 5

£21,465 to £36,610
  • New mild-hybrid powertrain
  • Comfortable
  • Excellent safety levels
  • High list prices
  • Road noise and engine drone
  • Cabin doesn't feel as premium

The Volkswagen Golf has a strong reputation for being safe and dependable, which the Mk8 car aims to continue. All models include adaptive cruise control, driver fatigue detection, a road sign display system and a host of emergency assist functions, which provide warnings to the driver and autonomous braking interventions to help reduce the possibility of accidents.

The Golf Mk8 also features Volkswagen’s advanced Car2X driver assistance system. The new on-board tech communicates wirelessly with other similarly-equipped vehicles, and is able to warn drivers of problems such as roadside hazards, vehicle breakdowns and even if cars ahead have needed to apply emergency braking. The system also uses the information it receives to detect when the end of a traffic jam is coming up and is then able to re-engage the car’s adaptive cruise control once the traffic clears.

Euro NCAP put the latest Golf through its rigorous safety tests in 2019 and awarded the popular hatch a top five-star rating. It also added a further ‘Advanced’ grading, due to the standard fitting of the Car2X system. There were excellent scores of 95% for adult occupant protection and 89% for child passenger safety.

However, customer feedback in our recent Driver Power surveys has been on a downward turn. Over the past three years the Golf has finished in 18th, 41st and 50th place in the annual poll of best cars to buy, while Volkswagen itself has slid from 5th spot in 2018, to 19th position out of 30 manufacturers in 2020. The car maker will be hoping for big things from the new, high-tech family hatchback.


Volkswagen offers the Golf with an industry standard 3-year/60,000-mile warranty, with extended cover starting from £136 per year.


Volkswagen offers a choice on how your vehicle is maintained, with fixed and flexible servicing options available. These relate to mileage covered, driving style and whether the vehicle is regularly producing high engine loading, such as frequent hill climbs, driving with the vehicle fully loaded and towing.

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