Review: Volkswagen Golf Estate (2009 – 2013)

Rating:

Bluemotion Technology model has impressively low emissions and high mpg, upgraded interior is an improvement on the previous model.

Not a MK VI Golf underneath despite the looks, legroom is tight in the back.

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Volkswagen Golf Estate (2009 – 2013): At A Glance

This Volkswagen Golf estate isn't quite as new as it looks. It may have the headlights and grille of the 2009 MK VI Golf hatchback, but it's essentially the same car that was on sale from 2007-2009. Volkswagen has done something similar with the Golf Plus and both cars are based on the Golf MK V, rather than the newer MK VI.

Plus points are the addition of cleaner petrol and diesel engines. While there's not the wide selection of engines that you get with the Golf hatchback, you can pick from some of Volkswagen's finest engines. Of particular note is the Bluemotion model. This uses an ultra-clean 1.6-litre TDI diesel engine to achieve 67mpg and emissions of 109g/km.

Open the tailgate and there's a large, useful boot. There's an impressive 505 litres on offer with the seats up and 1495 litres with the seats folded - more than enough for the needs of most families.

Improvements over the previous Golf Estate include an upgraded dashboard, improved refinement and better standard and optional equipment, including a parking system that will park the car for you. Overall, the Golf estate makes a practical and fuss-free family car.

What does a Volkswagen Golf Estate (2009 – 2013) cost?

List Price from £20,955
Buy new from £16,995
Contract hire from £169.20 per month
Get a finance quote with CarMoney

Volkswagen Golf Estate (2009 – 2013): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 4534 mm
Width 1781 mm
Height 1504 mm
Wheelbase 2578 mm

Full specifications

Sit behind the wheel of the Golf estate and you'll find it feels, upmarket and well screwed-together. Much as you'd expect. There have been some changes over the previous 2007-2009 Golf estate, which include a new look for the dash and the use of higher quality buttons and switches. There's liberal use of Volkswagen's trademark blue backlighting - you'll find it on the stereo and behind the dials. 

One thing that doesn't seem to have changed is the driving position. Both the seat and steering wheel are multi adjustable, so it's easy for drivers of all shapes and sizes to get comfortable. Forward visibility is good, though the view out of the back can be restricted by the thick rear pillars. 

In the back, headroom is good, though some will find that it could do with more legroom - it's a bit of a squeeze for adults. If rear legroom is more of a priority over loadspace, try the Golf Plus - it's not as practical, but has more space in the back. Aside from that, passengers should find it comfortable. The seats are good quality and supportive and it's very quiet on the move thanks to excellent sound proofing.

It's practical too. It may only be 4.5 metres long, but the boot is an impressive size, with 505 litres of load space on offer with the seats up. With the 60:40 split-folding rear seats down, that increases to 1495 litres, which is less than the Focus and Megane, but still more than enough for everyday family needs.

Equipment levels (from launch in October 2009)

S

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/rear passengers, inc. front side impact airbags, three-point seatbelts for all rear passengers, driver and front passenger's whiplash-optimised head restraints, Isofix child seat preparation for two outer rear seats, electronic engine immobiliser; remote control central locking, 'Climatic' semi-automatic air conditioning with glovebox cooler, front and rear electric windows, electrically adjustable and heated body-coloured door mirrors with integrated indicators, body-coloured bumpers, door handles and roof spoiler; black roof rails, driver's seat height adjustment; height and reach adjustable steering wheel, split-fold rear seats (60:40), four load lashing points in luggage compartment plus removable load cover, multifunction computer, RCD210 radio / MP3 compatible CD player and four speakers, steel wheels with full size wheel trims, 6½J x 16 with 205/55 R16 tyres, full size steel spare wheel

SE

Alarm with interior protection, automatic coming/leaving home lighting function; dusk sensor and automatic driving lights, cruise control, driver's and front passenger's under seat drawer, front comfort seats with height and lumbar adjustment, front centre armrest with storage compartment; roof storage compartment, rear centre armrest; front seat back storage pockets; load-through provision, 12V socket in luggage area, RCD310 radio / MP3 compatible CD player with eight speakers and AUX-in socket for connection to external multimedia source (eg iPod), carpet mats, front and rear, 6½J x 16 ‘Atlanta' alloy wheels with 205/55 R16 tyres and anti-theft bolts.

Sportline

Chrome trimmed front air intake surround, rear tinted windows from B-pillar back front fog lights, including static cornering function with chrome trimmed surround sports suspension, lowered by approx 15 mm, tyre pressure indicator, leather trimmed steering wheel, gear knob and handbrake grip, front sports seats with height and lumbar adjustment, multifunction steering wheel (with paddle shift if DSG specified), 7J x 17 ‘Porto' alloy wheels with 225/45 R17 tyres and anti-theft bolts.

Child seats that fit a Volkswagen Golf Estate (2009 – 2013)

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 Estate (2009 – 2013) like to drive?

The engine line-up is a slimmed-down version of what's available in the Golf hatchback and almost all feature a decent blend of performance and economy. The two petrols - a 1.2 TSI and a 1.4 TSI - are among the best engines that Volkswagen produces. They may be small, but they pack quite a punch. Both are turbocharged and they produce 105bhp and 122bhp - much more power than you'd normally expect for this engine size. They're good fun to drive too, with excellent acceleration and littl in the way of turbo lag. These modern engines are economical too, with the 1,4 TSI capable of 47mpg.

The two small (but powerful) petrols may be excellent, but the majority of people opt for one of the diesels. The smallest of these is a 1.6-litre with 90bhp or 105bhp. Most buyers choose the 105bhp version as it's available on all models (the 90bhp option is only on S spec) and the extra power makes all the difference. This 105bhp 1.6-litre TDI features in the Bluemotion Technology model which, combined with a start/stop system, brings emissions down to 109 g/km and increases fuel economy to 67mpg.

Go for the larger 140bhp 2.0-litre if you're looking for keener performance. It's smoother and more refined than the 1.6-litre and gets from 0-60mph in 9.4 seconds and onto a top speed of 129mph. It's also marginally better when it comes to towing, ablt to pull a braked weight of 1500kg (it's 1400kg for the 1.6-litre diesel).

Out on the road, little gives away that this is an estate - it drives much in the same way as a Golf hatchback. Comfort is one of its biggest strengths - the excellent ride does a good job of soaking up lumps and bumps on most surfaces and at most speeds. The steering is well-weighted, giving a good feeling of control to the driver at all times and manual models feature an excellent slick gearchange.

Load up the Golf estate and it still continues to impress. Even with a heavy load at the back, bodyroll is kept well under control and it maintains its composure.

 

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.2 TSI 49 mpg 11.3 s 136 g/km
1.2 TSI DSG 48 mpg 11.3 s 136 g/km
1.4 TSI 45 mpg 9.9 s 146 g/km
1.4 TSI DSG 47 mpg 9.9 s 139 g/km
1.6 TDI 105 63 mpg 11.9 s 119 g/km
1.6 TDI 105 DSG 59 mpg 11.9 s 125 g/km
1.6 TDI 90 63 mpg 13.8 s 119 g/km
1.6 TDI BlueMotion Technology 67 mpg 11.9 s 109 g/km
1.6 TDI DSG BlueMotion Technology 66 mpg 11.9 s 113 g/km
2.0 TDI 58 mpg 9.7 s 128 g/km
2.0 TDI DSG 52 mpg 9.7 s 139 g/km

Real MPG average for a Volkswagen Golf Estate (2009 – 2013)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

84%

Real MPG

34–68 mpg

MPGs submitted

181

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Volkswagen Golf Estate (2009 – 2013)?

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

What would you advise running my car to avoid EGR failure after the emissions fix?

I own a Volkswagen Golf Estate Mk6 1.6 TDI. I bought it a year ago as a family estate and I like the car a lot. Recently the EGR valve failed, luckily under main dealer warranty. At the same time as this was replaced, I had the emissions fix done. I have heard that after the fix, the EGR valve is more likely to fail again. The main dealer has suggested, therefore, that I run the car at least monthly for 20 miles at 3500rpm and I have read your advice to rev to 4500 through the gears (which sounds a lot easier to do). I do a short local work commute (about 7 - 15 miles each way) and general family, dog stuff and occasional holiday journey (roughly 10,000 miles a year). We have no local motorway and, although the recommended 20 mile blast is possible, I find it ludicrous that I have to do this. Do I simply own a car with a poor engine and/or, could you again offer your sensible advice on running the car to try and avoid future EGR failure?
EGRs failing after the NOx emissions fix are usually because they were close to failing anyway, but this has been a very common failure on the EA189 1.6 TDI. The fix involves reducing NOx at the expense of producing more soot, so you will find that the system actively regenerates more frequently than you are used to. What you have to avoid is repeated short runs from cold in which you select high gears early. You need to run in third or fourth rather then fifth or sixth to keep the revs over 2000 and help the system to passively regenerate. Only put it into sixth on longer runs.
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What Cars Are Similar To The Volkswagen Golf Estate (2009 – 2013)?

Key attributes of the this model are: Diesel engine, Estate, Economical and Small family.

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