2012 Volkswagen Golf Owner Satisfaction - Consumer Reports
A nice ride, crisp handling and the solid feel make any Golf a good choice. The 2.5's engine lacks refinement and fuel economy is middling. The diesel TDI gets excellent fuel economy, but does not meet emissions regulations. Many of these TDI versions have been bought back by VW as part of a settlement with owners and the EPA.
Alerts
There are 6 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Overall Owner Satisfaction

Consumer Reports’ Annual Owner Satisfaction Survey can improve the chances of finding a compatible car match. How? Our survey data reveals whether, all things considered, owners would buy the same car again. The answer to that question is what determines our owner-satisfaction rating, which is a powerful piece of intel because it predicts how well a particular model will satisfy other owners.

Overall Owner Satisfaction

Owner Satisfaction with:

Driving Experience

Includes acceleration and handling

What Owners Say

"The car has great acceleration"

Anonymous, MB (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"outstanding acceleration and handling, often end up going faster than should before you know it. if roads available, will cruise comfortably at 150 km/hr all day, and still get amazing diesel mileage"

Anonymous, ON (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"accelerates very well in highway traffic situations."

Anonymous, ON (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"Great typical European handling"

M M., CT (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"I have never driven a car that handled as well as the Golf R. The acceleration will throw you back in your seat."

Daniel S., RI (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"Acceleration is good, especially when the turbo kicks in. It's very responsive."

V S., ON (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"It's ZIPPY and AGILE even in 5th gear and can get me out of danger FAST on the Washington DC beltway!"

David L., VA (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"While there's always a slight hesitation from a stop, it accelerates very nicely and it handles superbly with a smooth ride for a small car."

Peter C., IL (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"The Golf trades off between acceleration and economy, but does have an easy to use feature that improves standing start acceleration, but at the expense of some economy. For most driving the default mode is plenty good enough. The diesel engine provided good economy and range, and the relatively wide track compared to the wheelbase made for peppy handling with a solid feel."

Michael R., CA (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"My Golf is the now famous TDI. Handling and braking is over the top for a small hatchback, yet it soaks up California's deteriorating roads except for the worst potholes with ease."

David S., CA (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"Awesome pull from 40km/h to 100km/h. Noticeable body roll compared to 2001 GTI Easy to park Responsive handling Speedometer is about 10% higher than true speed"

Anonymous, BC (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"The Golf R is one of the best vehicle VW has come out with, great around town Daily Driver, fun for a run to the track or on the highway it just eats up the miles. All aspects of performance offer a great value for the fun to drive car without breaking the bank."

Thomas M., IL (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"Diesel has good pick up from stop. Handles well."

James T., WA (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"Great engine, braking and handling. Its been extremely reliable."

Don G., CO (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"It accelerates and drives terrifically while making great gas mileage."

Anonymous, CA (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"Great, fun car regarding drive and handling. Great acceleration and great mileage"

Anonymous, CA (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"Quick, quiet, steady on the road. The TDI is quick off the start because of the torque at low RPM's. Makes it fun to drive. Plenty of passing power, too, when needed."

JOHN D., CA (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"Power is fine, handling is excellent."

ROY W., WA (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"The 2012 Golf TDi we own has most the handling, suspension, seats, steering, wheels, 6-speed manual, and suspension features of the Golf GTI. The only real difference is the Diesel engine. Admittedly less power, but gobs of torque makes it very responsive and fun to drive. Great fuel mileage to boot. I am sorry that Volkswagen is going to buy it back (I feel the alternative "fix" will kill both performance, mileage and resale value)."

TIMOTHY S., TX (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"The overall driving experience of every day. I can drive the family around or run around town for errands without feeling like I'm in a sports car. But when I want to zip around it has all the pep I need. It handles like a sports car but rides like a sedan."

LES B., MI (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"It is a TDI and has a turbo and consequently is very good in acceleration and handling. The size of the car pleases me."

THOMAS P., FL (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"acceleration, fuel economy, handling, body integritty"

MARC D., QC (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"Awesome"

Anonymous, MA (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"Quick acceleration, great when merging into traffic or passing. Fun to drive."

MICHAEL A., OH (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"Performance"

GENNARO O., AL (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"The TDI Engine has great acceleration and fuel mileage. This is pre-diesel gate fix. It is a fun car to drive even after having the car for 3 years."

JAMES U., AZ (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"Very good overall."

MARC L., ON (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"great torque, handling, mileage"

GARY S., TX (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"Excellent acceleration and handling."

COURTNEY M., RI (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"Great little car. Lots of performance from the diesel engine. Great handling. Being a small car - bumpy ride over rough pavement and road noise. Not so bad on the smooth roads. Lots of load space for small car"

CHUCK K., AZ (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"EXCELLENT HANDLING. LOVE THE SMALL SIZE. VERY GOOD VISIBILITY"

Anonymous, MI (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"Unfortunately, the diesel engine is on the recall list because of pollution. It is very powerful considering its size. Quiet. Runs well. Great gas mileage on the road (around 40 mph) and super in-town (35 mpg) which is offset only by the expense of diesel fuel."

Anonymous, TX (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"Acceleration is okay, the real plus is handling, I.e. cornering, terrific brakes, sharp steering response."

Roy W., WA (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"LOVE the diesel low-end torque! Excellent acceleration & handling compared to other cars I've owned. This car makes me feel safe and capable in heavy highway traffic, and is great fun to drive."

Anonymous, MI (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"acceleration strong, handling very precise, again drives like sports car not domestic wagon"

P B., ON (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"I have a 5-speed manual transition. Acceleration is fantastic! Getting onto a highway in commuter traffic is not a problem. Handling is precise. The steering is always very responsive."

Anonymous, MA (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"This is my fourth Golf. Every one of them has been a joy to drive. Every one of them is substantively better than the last. Did I mention this car is a joy to drive?"

Sean S., KS (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"Very good overall driving experience."

Anonymous, MB (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"TDI is torquey and fun to drive with 6M. Handles well with moderately low lean in corners and holds road well. Reasonably comfortable ride. A good balance."

Anonymous, PA (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"Great acceleration & handling!"

Andrew W., MD (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"The Golf has very good acceleration and road handling based many on it small size, 5-cylinder engine, and weight balance. Very pleased with its' performance."

Anonymous, GA (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"The perfect inner city car. Handles Seattle's hills with ease. Feels great to be able to merge on to the highway and pucnh it if need be. Great control of acceleration and speed."

Taylor M., WA (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

Comfort

Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride

What Owners Say

"Great seats as long as you are not too overweight."

M M., CT (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"In the hot hatch category you can't find a better car, the comfort is more mid-level luxury not economy hatch. The interior is well finished and all components work well to offer a comfortable but still exciting ride."

Thomas M., IL (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"The seats are very comfortable. They are easy to manoeuver, they provide great back, seat and lumbar support, the seat is longer than in many cars, which provides terrific thigh support."

V S., ON (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"The second best seats I have ever owned. The ride is the best tuned of any small car I have driven. Great spring/shock choice. Eye opening emergency handling. Noise is also good for a small (but not cheap) car. Engine noise is particularly well muted."

David S., CA (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"excellent ride and seat comfort front and back. very quiet especially for smaller vehicle with diesel engine"

Anonymous, ON (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"Rides and handles well. The cloth seats are much better than vinyl."

James T., WA (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"Good seats, good driving position, good ergonomics for all controls, good A/C, low noise, supple ride on rough roads but great handling"

Anonymous, ON (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"Sport seats are very comfortable and the driving position and experience is very good"

JOHN D., CA (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"I am only 5'1" so the seat height adjustment is important to me. There is good lumbar and thigh support"

MICHAEL A., OH (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"Seats bolsters on the seat bottom tend to cut into the sides of my legs. I am 6'2", about 225, and I have to put a cushion on the seat to get around this."

Anonymous, ON (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"Seats are too firm."

Anonymous, MO (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"Very comfortable seats, climate control and ride. Could wish for less road and engine noise."

THOMAS P., FL (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"Very comfortable seats with great climate controls even on the hottest days but the best is the ride quality and quietness of the cabin. Long drives are so peaceful. Just a perfect car for long weekend get-a-ways."

JILL R., NJ (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"Great seats, too much road noise, great handling but ride is somewhat "abrupt"."

ROY W., WA (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"I don't like that I need to look at the temperature control knob in order to see the setting. In my 2000 VW Golf, the knob was shaped so that you could tell the setting simply by touch."

Anonymous, IL (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"Seats do not have enough range of lumbar support, we have to drive with lumbar pads. Ride is very noisy on rough roads, too loud for any conversation."

Anonymous, CA (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"Very roomy! This is the perfect innee city car. We were able to fit comfortably 8ft of copper pipe in the car with two adults. Frequently we drive multiple passengers. Easily fits 4 to 5 adults."

Taylor M., WA (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"I’m 5’1‿tall. Seats are adjustable in height, pitch, and distance from pedals. The lumbar support and head support are great— exactly what I need."

Anonymous, MA (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"The seats have little available adjustment. I need to add cushions to be comfortable."

Thomas W., MN (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"very comfortable seating with little road noise, ride very sporty feels more like sports car than domestic station wagon"

P B., ON (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"This is SUCH a nice car! We got it for the engine, but the cushy, quiet interior have been a wonderful surprise."

Anonymous, MI (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

Value

Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?

What Owners Say

"Dealer quoted a good online price (used CR auto pricing service to benchmark against) and honored. The buying process was smooth and hassle free. We liked this car a lot with the TDI diesel engine, but then of course found out it didn't really meet CA emissions standards. A disappointing outcome for a car that met our expectations in most ways."

Michael R., CA (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"We love the Golf but the current turmoil over the TDI has soured us considerably. Everything works just as it is suppose to on the Golf, the seats are very comfortable and the handling, acceleration and fuel mileage are all excellent. We may replace this with a Golf GTI when VW purchases it back, it depends on what is offered to keep us a VW customer."

TODD B., TX (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"It was a used car, but priced very well compared to other golfs; these cars hold their value well and are very reliable, low depreciation compared to other cars in category"

Anonymous, ON (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"The problem here is well known: the cheat by Volkswagen on emission controls. We bought the vehicle on the assurance of "clean diesel" only to discover that it is very dirty (at least as far as NOX emissions are concerned). We love the vehicle in every other respect, but this has seriously compromised its value for us. And we don't yet know what the ultimate solution and compensation will look like"

WAYNE S., ON (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"It is a well-equipped car for the money. There was a premium for being a diesel, but overall, I felt it was a good deal for the amount of car received."

ANDREW P., CA (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"As you can probably imagine, the emissions-control systems and the associated problems with passing the state-mandated emissions test."

ROBERT W., OH (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"I like the car very much. However the diesel emissions scandal means will have to sell the car back to VW. That is not what I expected from VW when I purchased the car."

Anonymous, WA (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"We will return vehicle under the court settlement and receive $26500. We paid $31000 and the vehicle is four years old"

ROBERT M., RI (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"Initially rather expensive for its class, with the Dieselgate buybacks coming, I will have effectively driven this car for 5 years at the cost of $7000. Not bad at all, but it is a shame to have to give the car up. The uncertainty of the vehicle's performance following a fix just isn't worth it to me."

Anonymous, CA (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

Styling

How it looks inside and out

What Owners Say

"good size, comfortable handles very good, economical diesel car."

Anonymous, BC (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"always looks sharp"

EDWARD M., NH (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

"I like the way it looks, inside and out. Outside, it has very clean lines and is fairly simple. The inside is well designed and uncluttered."

ANDREW P., CA (2012 Volkswagen Golf)

Would you buy this car again?

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Percentage of owners who would definitely purchase that same vehicle again. Owner-satisfaction Ratings are determined by the percentage of those who answered "definitely yes" to the question asked by the Consumer Reports Annual Auto Survey "Considering all factors (price, performance, reliability, comfort, enjoyment, etc.), would you get this car if you had to do it all over again?". If we don’t have sufficient data, a similar model might be used to form the owner-satisfaction score.
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