£18,980 - £27,190 Price range
52 - 80 MPG
The Volkswagen Golf Estate is a spacious family car that is well made and very sensible. Its main rivals are the Ford Focus Estate, Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer and the Peugeot 308 SW. A more up-market rival is the Audi A3 Sportback.
Prices start from £18,980 and if you buy your new Golf Estate using carwow you can save £4,490 on average.
The Golf Estate’s interior is its biggest selling point – it’s made from expensive-feeling soft-touch plastics and feels built to last. The car is also hugely practical – there is space for four to travel in comfort, the boot is huge and there are numerous storage areas dotted around the cabin.
Being the best to drive was never a target for the Golf Estate – for that buy a Focus Estate. Instead, the Golf focusses on providing a safe and predictable driving experience giving the driver confidence. The automatic gearbox is one of the best in the class.
There is a huge range of engines for the Golf Estate and there is one for any buyer’s needs. If it’s economy you want go for the 1.6-litre diesel, or if you’re looking for performance there is the 300hp Golf R Estate. The best choice, however is the 2.0-litre middle-of-the-line diesel that’s not only frugal, but also plenty poweful.
All models are generously appointed with standard equipment including a 5.8-inch infotainment, DAB digital radio, air conditioning and Bluetooth phone connection.
Cheapest to buy: 1.2-litre S petrol
Cheapest to run: 1.6-litre Bluemotion diesel
Fastest model: Golf R Estate
Most popular model: 1.6-litre SE diesel
Interior quality is one of the Golf’s biggest selling points – giving premium quality at a mainstream price. Some might hanker after a little more verve, but the simple layout means the car is extremely easy to operate and the touchscreen infotainment system represents a benchmark that rivals would do well to follow.
Volkswagen Golf Estate passenger space
There’s plenty of space whichever seat you sit in, with lots of head and legroom. The seats are reportedly comfortable and supportive and the standard cloth upholstery looks smart. You get the feeling a lot of thought has been put into the car’s design thanks to big door bins that can swallow litre bottles of water, a large glovebox and various other cubbyholes.
Volkswagen Golf Estate boot space
People buy estates for their boot space, and the Golf excels in this key area. Its load capacity is up from the old Mk6 estate by around 100 litres at 605 litres (1,620 with the rear seats folded down) and it’s larger than almost all rivals of a similar price range. Not only is the boot large, but it has a wide opening and a low loading lip so getting big objects in is easy. It features in our Top 10 Biggest Estate Car Boots.
The Golf‘s ride quality is reportedly excellent, and the suspension soaks up bumps in the road with ease. Models with 123hp (125ps) and upwards get a sophisticated rear suspension system that deals with the UK’s bumpy roads more successfully than the basic setup and also makes the Golf feel more surefooted in the corners.
Many reviews compare it to the hatchback noting that, despite the extra weight, it’s very similar to drive. You can opt for ACC (Adaptive Chassis Control) which allows you to set the firmness of the suspension settings – our advice, unless you’re going to drive flat-out everywhere, is not to bother, especially because it’s an £800 option.
A diverse line-up of engines, means that anyone can find an engine option that suits their needs. The automatic gearbox (DSG) is one of the best automatic gearboxes you can buy, but isn’t cheap at around £1,400 more than the manual.
Volkswagen Golf Estate petrol engines
The Golf Estate petrol range starts with a 1.2 TSI engine available with either 84hp or 104hp. Unless you’re driving exclusively in the city centre, we wouldn’t recommend these because they’re reported to be underpowered, especially with a fully loaded car. More suitable is the 1.4 TSI with either 120hp or 148hp – both version get excellent accolades. We’d opt for the more powerful output if you regularly have a full-car load.
Volkswagen Golf Estate diesel engines
The entry-level diesel is a 1.6 TDI in 89hp, 104hp or 108hp guises – all are amazingly economical, costing just £20 in road tax and returning 72.4mpg. If you need a more powerful diesel then consider the 148hp 2.0-litre TDI which is only marginally less economical (67.2mpg).
The Golf Estate is based on a well-proven platform – the hatchback was crash tested by Euro NCAP, which found it to be very safe, awarding it a full five-star rating.
ABS and stability control aside, there’s the electronic differential locking system on more powerful models called ‘XDS+’, which essentially manages the flow of power to the front wheels when you’re accelerating out of corners.
It also has a post-collision braking system, which applies the brakes after a crash to stop you rolling into traffic. The city emergency braking system (not available on base versions) applies the brakes if it detects an obstruction in its path – but only when traveling at speeds below 19mph. Standard features on higher trim levels include driver alert systems, park assist, and lane-keeping assist – a system that nudges the steering to keep the car in its lane.
There’s no getting away from the fact that the Golf Estate is more expensive than rivals. The experts point out rivals that offer similar levels of space and equipment for less money. However, they agree it still offers good value for money as it feels like a premium car and the build quality is unrivalled.
Standard equipment is generous so you shouldn’t have to spend too much on options. One option worth considering is the parking sensors (£450, included with the GT), which obviously help with parking on a car this size.
The general consensus is that the Mk7 Golf Estate is one of the best small estates on sale. Whilst there are cheaper rivals, few come close to the all round ability and sense of quality this Volkswagen offers.
It’s very close to the hatchback in terms of handling, so you can still enjoy the sweet balance between ride and handling without having to compromise on space and practicality. Choose the right engine and you won’t be spending a lot on fuel bills, either.