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MSRP: $18,095 - $36,515
Invoice: $17,371 - $35,054
MPG: 23 City / 33 Hwy
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2013 Volkswagen Golf Review

Review Last Updated: 10/9/13

The 2013 Volkswagen Golf has a spacious cabin, high-quality interior and fuel-efficient diesel engine, but the Golf is also one of the most expensive cars in its class.

For the class, the 2013 VW Golf has an above-average safety score. However, one of its biggest drawbacks is its below-average reliability score. The base 2013 Golf is powered by a 170-horsepower, five-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual transmission. Along with the standard manual transmission, there are two optional automatic transmissions. The base engine is powerful for the class, but a few test drivers think it sounds unrefined. Several reviewers are also disappointed with its fuel economy ratings of 24/31 mpg city/highway. An optional diesel engine achieves much better gas mileage of 30/42 mpg, though it produces less horsepower than the base engine. Critics think all of the transmissions are smooth. Overall, auto writers appreciate the Golf’s accurate steering and strong brakes. Auto writers recognize that the VW Golf is one of the most powerful affordable small cars in the class and say it’s more than capable of handling daily commutes, but some are disappointed that it isn’t more fun to drive.

Many reviewers like the VW Golf’s spacious, well-made cabin. Both the two- and four-door Golf models have comfortable front and rear seats. Test drivers say that in particular, the second-row seats offer an impressive amount of space for the class and fit adults comfortably. The Golf’s cargo space is typical for a hatchback, but some test drivers want more interior storage. Reviewers also agree that the Golf’s impressive cabin construction and quality materials earn it a spot among the best in the class. The Golf has optional features like a touch-screen navigation system, but with these tech features, reviewers say the controls become a little hard to use.  

  • "With an uncommon blend of refinement, performance and plentiful features, the 2013 Volkswagen Golf remains high on our list of hatchback picks." -- Edmunds
  • "The Volkswagen Golf injects a fun-to-drive, refined, and fairly roomy dose of sportiness into the compact-car class. The TDI's spunky diesel engine, along with the sport suspension, ups the fun factor, but also keeps things frugal with its stellar fuel-economy figures." -- Consumer Guide (2012)
  • "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)
  • "If you don't choke on the price, the new Golf has plenty to offer, especially when it comes to vehicle dynamics and utility." -- Autoblog (2010)

Other Cars to Consider

Although the Mini Cooper’s available cargo and passenger space is significantly less than what the VW Golf offers, reviewers are very impressed with the Mini Cooper’s driving dynamics and good fuel economy ratings. For the best performance, test drivers recommend the Cooper S and John Cooper Works models, which have more powerful engines than the base Golf and stand out in the class for their excellent handling.

Although reviewers think the Ford Focus has tight rear seats, they like the abundance of optional interior tech it offers. They also find that the available power and fuel economy ratings from the base engine are good for the class. Many test drivers really like the Focus ST, which is new for the 2013 model year.

Compare the Golf, Cooper and Focus »

Details: 2013 Volkswagen Golf

The 2013 Volkswagen Golf is available in two- and four-door models, which can be equipped with a variety of optional features like a navigation system and sunroof. A five-cylinder gasoline engine and a manual transmission are standard. A turbocharged diesel engine is optional. The Golf was last redesigned for the 2010 model year, so this overview uses applicable research and reviews from 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

See the full 2013 Volkswagen Golf specs »

Next Steps: Volkswagen Golf

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