Review: Volkswagen Golf Plus (2009 – 2014)


Decent fuel economy across the range. Excellent standard and optional equipment including a self-park system.

Just a large Golf hatchback and lacks the carry-all capability of the estate.

Volkswagen Golf Plus (2009 – 2014): At A Glance

The Volkswagen Golf Plus sits a little awkwardly in the range. It's marginally larger than the standard Golf hatchback, yet doesn't quite offer the huge space of the estate. Those who are likely to find it most appealing are small families who are looking for practicality in a compact package.

This model is a vastly overhauled version of the Golf Plus that went on sale in 2005. One thing to bear in mind is that despite its looks, it's based on the Mark V Golf (2004-2009) and not the later Mark VI. The biggest changes are obvious, with a new grille and new headlamps and an updated interior. Under the bonnet there are new engines, too, partly reflecting what's available in the standard hatchback range.

One feature, which is also available on other Volkswagens, is Park Assist. At the push of a button, the car will park itself into parallel spaces. All the driver needs to worry about is pushing the accelerator and brake - the car works out distances and does the steering for you.

What does a Volkswagen Golf Plus (2009 – 2014) cost?

Volkswagen Golf Plus (2009 – 2014): What's It Like Inside?

Space is the Golf Plus's biggest asset - there's noticeably more than in a normal hatchback. That's quite some achievement considering that the standard Golf is considered to be one of the roomiest around. The tall shape creates plenty of headroom and there's a decent amount of legroom too - especially in the back. The back seats are slightly ‘raised'. The benefit of this is that it makes access - and doing things like fitting child seats - much easier. Plus it gives rear passengers a better view. The rear is primarily designed for two, so with three adults in the back it can be a bit of a squeeze.

The driver's not forgotten, either, with a raised driving position that gives a good view of the road ahead and a comfortable and highly adjustable driving position. On the move there's little wind or road noise. Updates over the previous Golf Plus include new switches for the air conditioning. These come from the latest Golf hatchback, giving a much more up-to-date look.

The biggest benefit of opting for a Golf Plus over the standard hatchback is the amount of load space you get. It may not be as capacious as the estate, but it has almost 400 litres of space, when the hatch offers just 350 litres. Buyers of the SE also get a variable boot floor with two different heights. On its lowest setting there's an extra 120 litres, while the higher position creates a level load area, made even more practical with seats that fold flat.

Top spec models get Park Assist, a system that automatically parks the car for you. It parks the car into a parallel park space automatically, taking care of the steering. All the driver needs to do is push the accelerator and brake.

Specification from launch (June 2009)

S comes with ABS anti-lock brakes with HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assist), ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme), including EDL (Electronic Differential Lock) and ASR (traction control), driver and front passenger airbags with passenger's airbag deactivation switch, curtain airbag system for front and rear passengers, including front side impact airbags, rear lights incorporating LED technology, three-point seatbelts for all rear passengers, driver and front passenger's active head restraints, Isofix child seat preparation for two outer rear seats, electronic engine immobiliser, ‘Climatic' semi-automatic air conditioning with glovebox cooler, remote control central locking, front and rear electric windows, electrically adjustable and heated body-coloured door mirrors with integrated indicators, body-coloured bump and side strips, RCD210 radio / MP3 compatible CD player and four speakers, height and reach adjustable steering column; driver's seat height adjustment, steel wheels with full size wheel trims, 6J x 15 with 195/65 R15 tyres.

SE adds an alarm with interior protection, RCD310 radio / MP3 compatible CD player with eight speakers and AUX-in socket, Park Assist and parking sensors, front and rear, multifunction computer, front comfort seats with height and lumbar adjustment, driver's and front passenger's under seat drawer
front centre armrest with storage compartment, front seat back storage pockets; front seat back tables, cruise control, variable boot floor, rain sensor and automatic dimming rear view mirror, dusk sensor, automatic driving lights automatic coming/leaving home lighting function, 12V socket in luggage compartment, 6½J x 16 ‘Atlanta' alloy wheels with 205/55 R16 tyres and anti-theft bolts.

Child seats that fit a Volkswagen Golf Plus (2009 – 2014)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Volkswagen Golf Plus (2009 – 2014) like to drive?

Don't expect to find the same wide range of petrol engines in the Golf Plus as you would in the standard Golf Hatchback. The choice is stripped down to two petrol engines and four diesels. And don't get any ideas about a 210bhp GTI - that's only available on the standard hatchback.

The entry-level 1.4-litre petrol has just 80bhp. It's a weak engine in a fairly large car and, as a result, struggles, especially with a full load. So it's little surprise that it's only offered on the base-spec S. Most buyers will be better off with the 122bhp 1.4-litre TSI. This is an altogether different 1.4-litre engine as it uses a turbocharger to boost power. It feels friskier, with 0-60mph coming in 10.2 seconds and yet still manages to return 44mpg. The optional DSG automatic gearbox uses twin clutches to deliver smooth gearchanges in the blink of an eye.

Opt for a Golf Plus diesel and you'll have the choice of a 1.6 TDI (with 90 or 105bhp) or a 140bhp 2.0-litre diesel. The 1.6-litre is the one to go for if you're after outright economy, with 60mpg perfectly possible on bother versions. There's is a significant difference in how the two engines perform, with the 105bhp feeling much quicker. Its 0-60mph times comes down from 13.5 seconds to 12.5 seconds and it also has much better low-down pulling power for overtaking.

A BlueMotion ‘eco friendly' version of the 105bhp model went on sale a few months after launch and brings the emissions down to 114 g/km and takes fuel economy up to 66mpg. This achieved through revised gear ratios, start-stop technology and low rolling resistance tyres.

If you're looking for a bit more punch, then the 2.0-litre diesel will probably suit you better. It trades economy for better performance, though will still return 55mpg. It pulls well, is smooth and feels much more urgent under acceleration.

Out on the road it doesn't feel quite as good as a standard Golf hatchback, but still offers a composed drive. The steering is good with a well-weighted feel, the brakes are firm and the gearbox has a smooth action to it. Although the Golf Plus is taller than the standard hatch, it feels composed when cornering and doesn't have much in the way of bodyroll. The ride is good and there's no problem of it soaking up lumps and bumps.

What have we been asked about the Volkswagen Golf Plus (2009 – 2014)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Will my Volkswagen Golf Plus pass its MoT without having had the emissions fix done?

Given the recent complaints of cars breaking down or going into limp mode following the emissions fix, I'm considering not proceeding with my own recall on our 2010 Volkswagen Golf Plus (123,000 miles). Will it pass the MoT?
The NOx fix has nothing to do with the MoT. But I would be very wary of submitting a car that had done 123,000 miles to a 'fix' approved for used cars in very good condition with modest mileages. What tends to happen is that the worn injectors cannot cope with the more complex injection sequence, the ageing EGR cannot handle the increased soot and the DPF then has to regenerate more frequently to burn off the soot and more rapidly fills up with ash. At 123,000 miles the DPF must be near its capacity for ash anyway.
Answered by Honest John
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