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Expert Rating

Volkswagen Golf

Our unique Expert Rating Index combines scores from 30 of the top UK motoring websites to give you a definitive rating on every new car

Expert Rating

Volkswagen Golf

(2020 - present)

    Summary


    The Volkswagen Golf is a five-door family hatchback, available in petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid formats. The current model is the eighth generation and was launched in late 2019. It arrived in the UK by summer 2020.

    Unlike earlier versions of the Golf, there will be no three-door hatchback version. An estate model will join the range in 2021, while performance models like the GTI, GTE and GTD arrived in the second half of 2020. There won’t be an all-electric e-Golf this time around, as the new Golf-sized Volkswagen ID.3 becomes the electric alternative to a petrol or diesel Golf.

    Initial reviews of the new Volkswagen Golf at the international launch were very positive, although the overall rating dropped back by several points once more local reviews of UK-spec cars were published in recent months.

    The Golf has received praise for being better to drive than its acclaimed predecessor, although its ‘all-digital’ interior has received mixed reviews.

    As of June 2022, the Golf’s Expert Rating of 76% is one point behind its major sales rival, the Ford Focus.

    Golf highlights

    • Great ride comfort
    • Excellent safety standards
    • Better handling and refinement than the old Golf
    • A number of efficient engines to choose from
    • Packed with on-board tech

    Golf lowlights

    • Fiddly infotainment system
    • Rivals are more spacious
    • Polarising front-end styling
    • Interior trim lacks premium feel
    • Alternatives have more boot space

    Key specifications


    Body style: Medium hatchback and estate
    Engines: petrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid
    Price: From £23,860 on-road

    Launched: Autumn 2019
    Last updated: N/A
    Replacement due: Spring


    Media reviews


    Reviews, road test and comparisons from across the UK automotive media. Click any of the boxes to view.

    The Car Expert

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    Auto Express

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    Auto Trader

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    Autocar

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    Business Car

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    Car

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    Carbuyer

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    Carwow

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    Company Car Today

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    Daily Mirror

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    Fleetworld

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    Honest John

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    Motoring Research

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    Motors.co.uk

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    Parkers

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    The Intercooler

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    The Sun

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    The Sunday Times

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    The Telegraph

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    Top Gear

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    What Car?

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    Which?

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    Safety rating


    Independent crash test and safety ratings from Euro NCAP

    Overall score: 5 stars
    Date tested: December 2019
    Read the full Euro NCAP review

    Adult protection: 95%
    Child protection: 89%
    Vulnerable road users: 76%
    Safety assist: 78%

    Eco rating


    Independent economy and emissions ratings from Green NCAP

    Model tested: 1.4-litre petrol/electric plug-in hybrid GTE

    Overall score: 3.5 stars
    Date tested: November 2021
    Read the full Green NCAP review

    Clean Air Index: 6.2 / 10
    Energy Efficiency Index: 6.2 / 10
    Greenhouse Gas Index: 5.6 / 10

    Model tested: 1.5-litre petrol manual

    Overall score: 3.5 stars
    Date tested: February 2021
    Read the full Green NCAP review

    Clean Air Index: 6.2 / 10
    Energy Efficiency Index: 6.9 / 10
    Greenhouse Gas Index: 5.3 / 10

    Both the 1.5-litre petrol and plug-in hybrid GTE models received 3.5-star ratings from Green NCAP in 2021. These are solid ratings for petrol (or predominantly petrol) cars, and it’s interesting that the plug-in hybrid GTE shows little eco benefit over the regular petrol engine in the Green NCAP testing process.

    Reliability rating

    MotorEasy logo 600x167

    The Volkswagen Golf has an overall reliability score of 48%, so that’s slightly below average if you’re looking at a used Golf. However, this applies to all Golf models in MotorEasy’s database, so will be a combination of the current Mk8 and the previous Mk7.

    The vast majority of problems with the Golf relate to the electrical system, although fortunately these tend not to be too expensive with an average repair cost of about £400. Gearbox problems are very expensive, at more than £3,500, but the good news is that these are very rare.

    Security rating

    Thatcham Research 600x300

    Independent vehicle theft and security ratings from Thatcham Research

    Rating: Superior | Good | Basic | Poor | Unacceptable
    Relay Attack: Fail

    Date: 2019

    The Volkswagen Golf automatically scored a ‘Poor’ security rating from Thatcham because it is susceptible to a relay attack. This is a popular form of vehicle theft where thieves intercept the signal from your car key – even if it’s inside your house – then use it to remotely open and start the car.

    Awards


    Trophies, prizes and awards that the Volkswagen Golf has received

    2021

    • Fleet News Awards – Best Lower Medium Car

    2020

    • News UK Motor Awards – Sunday Times Car of the Year + Best Family Car
    • Auto Trader Awards – Best Car for Long Distances

    Similar cars


    If you’re looking at the Volkswagen Golf, you might also be interested in these alternatives

    Alfa Romeo Giulietta | Citroën C4 | Audi A3 | BMW 1 SeriesCitroën C4 Cactus | Fiat Tipo | Ford Focus | Honda Civic | Hyundai i30 | Kia Ceed | Mazda 3 | Mercedes-Benz A-Class | Mini Countryman | Peugeot 308 | Renault MeganeSEAT Leon | Skoda Scala | Skoda Octavia | Suzuki SwaceToyota Corolla | Vauxhall Astra

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    Best car rankings

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    The Car Expert has the ultimate ranking of the best and worst new cars on sale, based on scores from 30 of the top UK motoring websites. We'll be adding more cars and more lists all the time, so keep checking back for the latest results.

    Volkswagen GolfMedia reviews of the new Volkswagen Golf have been positive, although its Expert Rating is currently lower than the previous model.