Volkswagen Golf (2013 – 2020) Review

Looking for a Volkswagen Golf (2013 - 2020)?
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Volkswagen Golf (2013 – 2020) At A Glance

Seventh generation Golf sets perceived quality benchmark for class. More spacious than before. Better to drive. Refined and comfortable. Multiple award winner.

Issues with 1.5 TSI Evo engine (resolved Sept 2019). Still suffering problems with 7-speed dry clutch DSG.

New prices start from £18,340, brokers can source from £19,914
Contract hire deals from £169.20 per month
Insurance Groups are between 10–27
On average it achieves 78% of the official MPG figure

Over the years the Volkswagen Golf has become the small hatchback to beat. What started out as a humble replacement for the Beetle is now seen as the benchmark that all other hatchbacks are judged by - and that's still the case. The Golf is quiet, comfortable, practial and feels like a high quality car.

Improved from 2017, updated models don't look radically different, but have redesigned head and tail lights and a few other little tweaks, including repositioned sensors for the auto emergency brake system. There are also improvements inside including a better infotainment system and new engines, including a very impressive 1.5-litre petrol. 

On the road the Golf is a very well-balanced car, blending ride comfort, secure handling and impressive refinement. It's at home more or less anywhere, whether covering mile after mile on the motorway, nipping across town for shopping or commuting on a twisting B-road. 

Practicality is good too. There are three-door, five-door and estate body styles, so there's something to suit most types of buyer. But whatever model you go for you'll get a sensibly designed cabin with a good driving position and a sizeable, well-shaped boot.

There's plenty of useful technology on offer too including touchscreen with Bluetooth as standard. Most models come with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity too, enabling users to mirror the apps from their smartphone in the car, including Spotify or Google Maps. 

The Golf is a hugely capable and high quality car that goes about it's business in a fuss-free fashion. It may not break any boundaries but it does everything you want it to and it does it very well. As an all-rounder it can't be bettered. In fact it's pretty much perfect.

Looking for a Volkswagen Golf (2013 - 2020)?
Register your interest for later or request to be contacted by a dealer to talk through your options now.

Real MPG average for a Volkswagen Golf (2013 – 2020)

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

78%

Real MPG

30–72 mpg

MPGs submitted

2001

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.

Satisfaction Index

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Ask Honest John

Are Volkswagen DSG auto gearboxes troublesome?
"I bought a new Volkswagen Golf auto in 2015. It's had its yearly service at Volkswagen authorised dealers just last week. The car has only done 9300 miles since new but I noticed after the service a sort of noise while accelerating. Took it back to Volkswagen and they said it could be the gearbox. They suggested removing the gearbox to see at a cost of £1000. A new gearbox is another £1500! Surely a car with 9300 miles carefully driven should not need a new gearbox. Any suggestions what I do as the dealership were very helpful? Would Volkswagen know about this or is this common? I can't afford this but dont want to drive and do damage."
Volkswagen DSG gearboxes can certainly be troublesome. You're right, though, you shouldn't be experiencing issues with a car that's covered so few miles. If you've had it serviced regularly, it's worth pushing Volkswagen for a contribution. They don't need to make one but, if you're polite, they might be willing to provide a gesture of goodwill. Otherwise, we'd recommend speaking to an independent automatic transmission specialist. They'll be very familiar with DSG transmission issues and will be able to recommend a repair that should be more affordable than at a Volkswagen dealer. It might be something as simple as a gearbox oil change. Our Good Garage Guide should help: https://good-garage-guide.honestjohn.co.uk/
Answered by Andrew Brady
When should I replace the cam belt on my Volkswagen Golf?
"When would the timing belt need changing on a 2013 Volkswagen Golf (mk7) 1.6 TDI with 65,000 on the clock?"
As a general rule, I recommend changing the cam belt, tensioner and water pump every five years or 50,000 miles (whichever comes first). The manufacturer recommendations may encourage you to wait until the belt passes 100,000 miles, but it's important to note that neither Volkswagen or the belt manufacturer will pay for your engine repairs if the cam belt fails.
Answered by Dan Powell
Can I reject a car because it doesn't have folding mirrors?
"An elderly friend took delivery of the new mk8 Golf earlier this week. To his dismay, it doesn't have folding mirrors - which he needs because of a narrow garage. As his previous Mk7 had folding mirrors, he assumed the Mk8 would have the same. VW customer services told him he should have bought a 2021 model! Has he grounds for rejecting the car?"
Afraid not, you only retain the right to reject the car if there is something fundamentally wrong with it. If your friend was told that it had folding mirrors, then he might be able to reject it but even that would be a bit of a stretch. You don't say which trim or spec his old car or new car was, but he may have spec'd folding mirrors (or picked a trim level with them as standard), but that doesn't mean they're standard on the model he bought.
Answered by Georgia Petrie
Are small engines in the Volkswagen Golf any good?
"Are Volkswagen's 1.0-litre petrol engines any good? "
I rate this engine very highly. In fact, in my opinion. the 1.0 TSI 115PS is the best three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine there is. Very few reported faults. It also returns 50mpg: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/realmpg/volkswagen/golf-2013
Answered by Dan Powell

What does a Volkswagen Golf (2013 – 2020) cost?

Buy new from £19,914 (list price from £23,280)
Contract hire from £169.20 per month