in Affordable Small Cars

MSRP: $19,995 - $27,995
Invoice: $19,195 - $26,875
MPG: 23 City / 30 Hwy
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Volkswagen Golf Review

The 2014 Volkswagen Golf ranks 12 out of 40 Affordable Small Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the Volkswagen Golf, as well as reliability and safety data.

The 2014 Volkswagen Golf is ranked:

Auto writers praise the 2014 Volkswagen Golf for its refined interior, snappy handling and fuel-efficient diesel engine, but they point out that rival cars have lower base prices.

Reviewers say the 2014 VW Golf’s base five-cylinder engine has plenty of power, but they love the extra torque of the turbodiesel four-cylinder engine in the TDI model, saying it’s peppier from a stop. The standard six-speed automatic shifts quickly and the Golf TDI’s six-speed manual offers an easy-to-use shifter with short throws, reviewers note. The base Golf gets an EPA-estimated 23/30 mpg city/highway, which is low for the class, and the Golf TDI gets 30/42 mpg, which is excellent for the class. The Golf has snappy handling and reviewers say it’s fun to drive, with sharp steering, strong brakes and a controlled ride that absorbs most bumps. The TDI model has a firmer, sportier ride, but all models are comfortable as daily drivers, reviewers say.

Test drivers think the 2014 Golf has a surprisingly upscale interior for a compact car. They especially love the seats, which they say rival the comfort and support found in some luxury cars’ seats. Standard features include an eight-speaker CD sound system and an auxiliary audio jack. Optional features include Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, satellite radio, iPod connectivity, navigation and an audio system with a touch-screen display. Test drivers say the gauges are clear, the climate controls are easily accessed and the touch-screen audio system easily integrates with a compatible smartphone.

  • "Available only as a 4-door hatchback, the Golf is no longer as body-style diverse as the Hyundai Elantra. However, the Koreans still haven't been able to match the interior materials and feel of the German compacts, especially in the area of seat comfort. Enthusiasts will love the refined power found in the GTI, while those more concerned with a smooth ride and good fuel economy can opt for the diesel-powered Golf TDI." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • “With an uncommon blend of refinement, performance and plentiful features, the 2013 Volkswagen Golf remains high on our list of hatchback picks." -- Edmunds (2013)
  • "The Golf may seem quite sober, but this high-quality compact car is fun to drive and exudes European breeding. It's comfortable, mechanically refined, hatchback practical, and solidly built. An added attraction is the turbodiesel engine with its stellar real-world fuel economy. Even so, the TDI's price premium over gasoline-powered 2.5 models will take a while to recoup, and no Golf is bargain-priced." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "Even the entry-level Golf continues to offer hatchback practicality, refined driving dynamics, and luxury-car levels of interior quality. It’s the master of a budget-conscious segment whose other entrants ask buyers to compromise on refinement, fun, or both." -- Car and Driver (2011)

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Other Cars to Consider

Reviewers love the Mini Cooper for its sporty driving dynamics, saying it’s a lot of fun behind the wheel and has great cornering ability. The Mini Cooper has an available turbocharged engine that test drivers say offers ample power and peppy acceleration. Its fuel economy ratings are also great for the class.

The Ford Focus receives high praise for its attractive, high-quality cabin, which test drivers say is one of the nicest interiors available in an affordable small car. They say that all trims have terrific handling, especially the performance-tuned Focus ST, which also comes with a powerful turbocharged engine.

Compare the Golf, Cooper and Focus »

Details: 2014 Volkswagen Golf

The 2014 Volkswagen Golf is a four-door hatchback. The Golf comes in 2.5L and TDI trims, which are available with packages that add features like a sunroof and navigation. The Golf 2.5L comes with a five-cylinder engine and an automatic transmission, while the Golf TDI features a turbodiesel four-cylinder engine, which is paired with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automated manual transmission. The Golf was last redesigned for the 2010 model year and has seen few changes since then, so this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2010 through 2014 model years. A redesigned Golf will be released for the 2015 model year.

See the full 2014 Volkswagen Golf specs »

Review Last Updated: 5/14/14

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