Volkswagen created the Golf GTD to appeal to buyers that want the looks (and most of the performance) of the Golf GTI, but with much cheaper running costs. The car competes with other fast diesels such as the Skoda Octavia vRS, Ford Focus ST and the SEAT Leon FR.
Like the rest of the Golf range, the GTD received some aesthetic changes in early 2017 – namely some slightly redesigned front and rear bumpers, plus standard-fit LED head and tail lights.
From the outside, it takes the form of an ever-so-slightly toned-down GTI, it gets a body kit, with a ground-hugging front bumper and roof-mounted spoiler; big alloy wheels and twin exhaust pipes. The subtle GTD badge in the grille is the only obvious clue that this fast hatchback is diesel powered.
Much the same is true on the inside, where the GTD gets the GTI’s trademark tartan interior trim (albeit in a subtle shade of grey) and a racy-looking flat-bottomed steering wheel. The same excellent quality – which sets the Golf above its rivals – is there for all to see.
While it may look very similar to the GTI, the GTD can’t offer the same thrills. It’s all about restrained performance, something the 181hp, 2.0-litre diesel engine serves up in spades. It surges forward with little sign of the raucous enthusiasm of its petrol counterpart. Obviously, the big win it scores over the GTI is fuel economy – the GTD can touch 70mpg; the GTI just 50.
The Volkswagen Golf GTD is designed to offer much of the fun of the GTI but with lower running costs.
Sports suspension, front and rear parking sensors, powerful Xenon headlights and two-zone climate control all come fitted as standard, and you can get it with Volkswagen’s huge 9.2-inch Discover Pro sat-nav/infotainment system.
Whether you should buy a Golf GTD depends on what you’re buying it for. If you want a smart, fast hatchback that is cheap to run then it’s a great car – if not very involving to drive.