The VW Golf is a great all-rounder that feels consistently good in almost every area. However, it’s dearer than some alternatives and parts of the interior feel low-rent.
With its mostly welcoming cabin and wide array of driver-assisting features, the Volkswagen Golf is an all-rounder that’s as adaptable as a Swiss army knife.
Despite some nasty-feeling plastics in the cabin’s lower half and rear doors, you’ll feel comfortable inside the Golf. Its spaciousness means that three adult passengers could fit in the back with few qualms, although the Octavia and Focus are slightly roomier.
The Golf is also a little dearer than some of its alternatives, but the equipment available as standard goes some way to making up for it. Even entry-level S cars get an infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen, eight-speaker DAB radio, Bluetooth compatibility and text message functionality. Upgrading to the more popular SE trim adds more assistance systems, like a choice of driving modes for different road types, front and rear parking sensors, and adaptive cruise control.
The VW Golf isn’t exactly awe-inspiring to drive, but it does everything that you would want a family hatchback to do on the road.
The best thing about the Golf is just how adaptable it is. Whether this is your first car or your 21st, it feels smooth and responsive and has good visibility. Peers like the Ford Focus may have a bit more pep in their step and give a greater sense of fun, but the VW still ticks all of the boxes.
Of all the engines available for the Golf, the best is the 1.5-litre petrol – the TSI 130. It’s powerful enough for all the different roads you’ll encounter day-to-day and comes with a choice of six-speed manual and seven-speed automatic gearboxes. All the engines have this choice, bar the entry-level, 1.0-litre diesel – this has a five-speed manual, which you would want to avoid.
Both the automatic and six-speed manual gearboxes are smooth, although the former is slightly jerky and unpredictable during low-speed manoeuvres and parking.
So, the Volkswagen Golf is a very capable all-rounder. Whether you’re looking for a short-distance car to use in town or a comfy motorway cruiser, it fits the bill. An Octavia may be cheaper and a Focus more fun, but the Golf is an adaptable and comfortable car that you shouldn’t overlook.