The best Volkswagen Golf GTD alternatives

December 21, 2015 by

There are few cars on the market that can be considered a more practical, sensible all-rounder than the Volkswagen Golf GTD. It’s handsome, refined and offers a blend of strong performance and decent fuel economy.

It’s by no means the only performance diesel available in the family car market though, so there are many tempting choices available – frequently at a lower asking price. Let’s take a look at some of the finest alternatives.

Not sold on any of these options? Pick your ideal VW Golf GTD in our car configurator to see the deals carwow could help you get.

BMW 120d

Thanks to the GTD’s sporting pretensions, it pits itself in direct competition with family hatchbacks produced by premium brands. The BMW 120d gets off to a promising start in the handling stakes – the more even weight distribution and rear-wheel drive chassis helps it to feel more agile through the corners than the Golf GTD.

While the claimed 65.7mpg fuel consumption can’t quite match the 67.3 the Golf returns in official tests, the BMW is both faster and cheaper – it hits 62mph in 7.1 seconds (0.4 seconds sooner than the Golf) and, before options, costs a little under £25,000 (£1,200 less than the Golf).

Peugeot 308 GT

Peugeot and Volkswagen have competed for the title of ‘best GTI’ over several decades. Thanks to the 308 GT, the two brands now face-off in the diesel performance car segment too. The Peugeot is set up for a slightly more relaxing drive than the Golf, with ride and refinement particularly impressive.

Although it takes nine tenths of a second longer to cover the 0-62mph dash, the auto-only 308 is the more frugal choice. In fact, at a claimed 70.6mpg it’s the most economical car here.

Spec up a Peugeot 308 in our car configurator to see the savings on offer.

Audi A3 TDI Sport

Under the skin, the Audi A3 TDI Sport and VW Golf GTD share a large percentage of components. Both make use of the same 181hp, 280lb ft-rated 2.0-litre engine, and as both lie on the same platform, interior and boot space are near-identical.

The Audi is claimed to reach 62mph very slightly sooner than the Golf, and the claimed fuel economy sits 1.6mpg in favour of the A3. The car with four rings on the front is cheaper, too, and to our eyes has the more attractive cabin.

See the savings on offer by speccing up an Audi A3 in our car configurator.

Focus ST TDCi

Those who find the styling of the Golf GTD to be just a little too subtle might be better suited to the Ford Focus ST TDCi. The more aggressive front end is complimented by a selection of loud exterior paint finishes, reminiscent of fast Fords of the past.

It may not quite boast the straight-line speed of the Golf, but it’s no less fun in the corners. Those after a little extra practicality can choose an estate body – something which shouldn’t be much of a financial strain, because in hatchback form the ST costs almost £4,000 less than the Golf. That said, there is also a Golf GTD Estate, but it’s much more expensive than the Focus ST estate.

Put the Ford Focus ST in our car configurator to see the reductions available.


Perhaps the most tempting alternative to the Golf comes from within the Volkswagen group. Like the Audi A3, the SEAT Leon FR shares both its underpinnings and its 2.0-litre diesel engine with the GTD. As a result, out on the road there isn’t a massive difference in the way the two cars perform.

The one crucial difference, however is the disparity in price. The Leon costs around £3,000 less than the Golf – a huge difference considering how similar the pair are. Unless you’re really a fan of the VW badge (or you must have the tartan seats of the GTD) then the SEAT is by far the more sensible choice.

Spec up a SEAT Leon in our car configurator to see the savings on offer.

Find out more

Put the Volkswagen Golf GTD in our car configurator to see how much carwow could help you save. If you still need help picking you next car, check out our car chooser.