Volkswagen Golf GTD

Fast hatchback that's cheap to run

7.8
wowscore
This is the average score given by leading car publications from 10 reviews
  • Sharp looks
  • Class-leading interior
  • Very economical
  • Not as fun to drive as the GTI
  • Sat-nav costs extra
  • Rivals are cheaper
 

£26,955 - £29,390 Price range

 

5 Seats

 

58 - 64 MPG

Review

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.

Prices start from £26,955 and if you buy your new Golf GTD using carwow you can save an average of £3,360.

From the outside, the Golf GTD 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.

Although critics say the steering doesn’t give you the confidence to corner quickly like you can in a Ford Focus ST, it gets pretty close and the GTD can carve through corners surprisingly quickly. 

The 181hp engine doesn’t feel quite as quick as the diesel in the Focus ST, but it has plenty of power for overtaking, and the GTD is very relaxed on the motorway. It gets from 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds, but fuel economy of nearly 70mpg is the figure that really impresses.

Sports suspension, front and rear parking sensors, powerful Xenon headlights and two-zone climate control all come fitted as standard.

Our detailed Volkswagen Golf colours and dimensions guides will help you make sure you are in the know when it comes to the GTD.

Cheapest to buy: 2.0-litre TDI GTD 3dr

Cheapest to run: 2.0-litre TDI GTD 3dr

Fastest model: 2.0-litre TDI GTD 3dr

Most popular:  2.0-litre TDI GTD 5dr

The Golf GTD – like the GTI and R – gets the best versions of the Mk7 Golf’s interior, so you’ll struggle to find a nicer place to sit. The GTD gets lots of shiny black trimmings, a flat-bottomed, leather-trimmed sports steering wheel and – if you a pick a manual gearbox – a dimpled, golf-ball-esque gearknob that harks back to the original Golf GTI.

Volkswagen Golf GTD passenger space

Room for passengers is good in the front and the back of the GTD and there are lots of adjustments to help the driver find a comfortable position. Critics praise the seats for being comfortable and supportive in corners.

Volkswagen Golf GTD boot space

The boot is the same size as the regular Golf, meaning you get 380 litres with the seats up and 1,270 when they are flat on the floor. That is the same size boot as in the Audi A3 Sportback and bigger than those in the Ford Focus ST and Renault Megane Renaultsport.

Take a look at our dimensions guide to figure out if the Golf is too big, too little or just the right size for your needs.

If you come to the GTD expecting the sporty, exciting handling of the Golf GTI then you might be a little disappointed. Some critics point out that “there’s more body sway in the corners than the GTI, but still loads of grip”, while others praise the clever traction control that helps the GTD pull through corners when you’re accelerating. It has a softer ride than the GTI, and doesn’t dart into corners as quickly as its petrol-powered brother, but it’s noticeably sharper than a normal Golf.

Speaking of normal Golfs, the GTD still rides comfortably over potholed roads like a non-GTI/GTD, but does transmit more bumps into the cabin because of its sportier suspension setup.

The Golf GTD only comes with one engine, and that’s a punchy 2.0-litre diesel with 184hp.

Volkswagen Golf GTD specs

It’s the diesel’s grunt at low revs that you’ll first notice when you accelerate hard, and the acceleration will raise a grin. It’ll propel the GTD from a standstill to 62mph in 7.9 seconds and on to 141mph.

Buyers can choose between a six-speed manual and a DSG automatic with the same number of gears. Performance is almost identical, but DSG-equipped cars costs more to buy and are slightly more expensive to run, returning fuel economy of 65.7mpg compared to the manual car’s 70.6mpg. CO2 emissions also increase, from 115g/km to 125g/km meaning the DSG costs £80 extra to tax every year.

The GTD, like the rest of the Mk7 Golf range, is available with a host of technology that would only have been available on luxury cars a few years ago. These include the optional high-beam assist (which automatically dips your headlights when it detects other cars), and the standard-fit adaptive cruise control.

Naturally, the Golf gets a five-star Euro NCAP crash-test score and did especially well for adult occupant protection.

This is where the GTD’s appeal starts to wane a bit. Although it’s an exceptional package with frugal running costs, you can’t ignore the fact that it costs a lot more to buy than the competition.

Its Spanish cousin, the SEAT Leon 2.0-litre TDI FR model has the same 184hp engine and underpinnings as the GTD, and the Spanish car is a whopping £3,500 cheaper than the Golf. Most critics say the SEAT doesn’t have quite the same class as the Golf, but that saving is hard to ignore. The Leon looks sportier and is available in bolder colours than the Golf, but you may want to blend in rather than stand out. In which case,  have a look at our Golf colour guide to help you choose the right shade for your new GTD.

Conclusion

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.

If your priority is to have a car that’s all-round fun to drive and still practical, then it doesn’t compete with petrol-powered rivals, such as the Octavia vRS, which is a lot cheaper to buy and much roomier.

The Golf GTD is a perfectly accomplished, quick diesel hatchback that has a lot of class, but the GTI is still more fun. You can see how the two cars stack up by reading our GTI vs GTD head-to-head comparison.

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