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The Golf is a notch above other compacts in terms of sophistication, interior ambience, and driving experience, and it is priced accordingly. Performance from the smooth, strong 170-hp, 1.8-liter turbo four-cylinder feels effortless, and we got 28 mpg overall in our tests with the six-speed automatic. Handling is very responsive, making the Golf fun to drive. The ride is comfortable, the rear seat is relatively roomy, and the quiet cabin contributes to the Golf's solid and upscale feel. The Alltrack, an AWD model with a raised ride height, is new for 2017. A high-performance all-wheel-drive Golf R and an electric eGolf complete the line. Recent additions include blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Reliability has been below average.

Road Test

Right from the first door thunk, the Volkswagen Golf exudes a quality feel not found in your average econobox. The Golf has long been a cut above other small cars, being more fun to drive and finished like a more expensive German sedan.Redesigned for...

Highs

  • Comes very close to being a car that can do it all
  • Hatchback versatility with room for four adults, all in a compact, easy-to-park package

Lows

  • Compared to Japanese rivals, VW is not known for long-term reliability or inexpensive running costs
  • Can get a touch pricey

Best Version to Get

Choosing between models is largely a budget decision, because prices vary widely. If two doors are enough and you like driving a manual, the Launch Edition is a great deal at less than $20,000. Most buyers will go for the Golf S, as the added $2,400 for an SE's extra equipment is a pretty...

Specifications

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
AWD , Front
Warranty
  • Basic: 3 year/36,000 miles
  • Powertrain: 5 year/60,000 miles
  • Rust through: 12 year/unlimited
  • Roadside aid: 3 year/unlimited
Body Styles
4-door hatchback
Transmissions Available
  • 6-speed Automatic
  • 6-speed Sequential
  • 1-speed Direct
  • 5-speed Manual
  • 6-speed Manual
Engines Available
  • electric (134 hp)
  • 1.8-liter 4 turbo (170 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 turbo (292 hp)

Ratings

Safety
Performance
Comfort / Convenience
View Full Test Results