Review: Volkswagen Golf Estate (2013)

Rating:

Good looking and well thought out design. Probably the best compact estate car available. Volkswagen quality interior. Refined at speed.

Not cheap. Five year 90k mile warranty costs £550 extra.

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Volkswagen Golf Estate (2013): At A Glance

The load carrying version of the Golf offers the same excellent build quality, relaxed driving and high levels of technology as the hatchback, but with the added benefit of increased practicality thanks to a usefully large and well shaped load area.

From the driver’s seat it’s more or less impossible to tell the Golf Estate apart from its hatchback counterpart. Not only does it look the same but everything from the steering feel and ride quality to the comfort and performance is similar so there's no compromise for choosing an estate version. Even the engine range and trim structure is the same.

The differences only really become apparent when you open the boot, which has a capacity of 605 litres with the seats in place and 1620 litres with the seats folded forward. The boot floor is flat and low, so loading and unloading is very easy, plus there is a false floor to store items under and two storage bins for odds and ends.

The engine range kicks off with a 1.2-litre 85PS petrol, with a choice of a further three petrol engines up to 140PS. There are also four diesel engines ranging from a 90PS 1.6 TDI to a 150PS 2.0-litre TDI. The most efficient engine is the 110PS BlueMotion, which manages an official 85.6mpg with emissions of 87g/km.

The Golf Estate manages to combine everything that’s good about the Golf hatchback with all the advantages you’d expect of an estate, which makes it a compelling buy. However it is worth remembering that the SEAT Leon ST and Skoda Octavia estate offer a very similar package - in fact they're based on the same platform - but are both cheaper.

What does a Volkswagen Golf Estate (2013) cost?

List Price from £22,080
Buy new from £18,492
Contract hire from £169.20 per month
Get a finance quote with CarMoney

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

Dimensions
Length 4562–4596 mm
Width 1799–2027 mm
Height 1475–1515 mm
Wheelbase 2620–2637 mm

Full specifications

From the driver’s seat the Golf Estate feels identical to the hatchback. Build quality is excellent – the materials are plush and neatly fitted, yet feel hardwearing and durable. The dashboard layout is neat and uncluttered, as is the centre stack, with simple, easy to use controls for audio or air conditioning.

The seats are comfortable and visibility is good, plus the major controls are all well placed including the electronic parking brake. This has the added advantage of freeing up some space in the transmission tunnel for storage.

Passenger space in the rear row impresses so adults will fit comfortably and should even be happy on longer journeys – as with the five-door hatch. Indeed, you’ll only notice the difference between the Golf hatch and estate when you open the boot.

At 605 litres it has significantly more capacity than the 380-litre boot of the hatchback, plus it can be expanded to 1620 litres by folding down the rear seats. There’s a low, flat floor to make loading and unloading easier, plus a double boot floor with hidden storage compartments or smaller items.

It’s a very practical, well shaped and useful boot, ideal for dog owners, campers or gardeners who need the extra capacity. Folding the seats forward is easy and gives a flat deck, which is especially useful when loading or unloading something bulky like white goods or furniture.

For particularly tall loads it’s easy to remove the luggage cover and there’s a stowing slot for it beneath the false floor, which makes life easy when you’re caught out and need more space than you’d originally planned.

Standard equipment and the trim structure matches that of the hatchback, which means Isofix seat mounting points, DAB radio, a post collision braking system, XDS front differential, plus a touchscreen system with iPod and aux connectivity, along with air conditioning and electric windows all as standard.

Standard Equipment:

S comes with seven airbags, including a driver’s knee airbag, five three-point seatbelts, ABS with ESP, XDS electronic differential lock and Isofix preparation for two rear child seats. The entry-level Composition Media system includes a 5.8-inch colour touchscreen, DAB, a CD player, MDI interface (for connecting iPod or MP3 player), Bluetooth and audio streaming. Also standard is ‘Climatic’ semi-automatic air conditioning.

BlueMotion is based on S and adds energy recuperating braking, low rolling resistance tyres, lower suspension and improved aerodynamics.

SE trim adds ADC Automatic Distance Control with Front Assist and City Emergency Braking, which can even bring the vehicle to a complete halt if necessary, a Driver Alert System, rain-sensitive wipers, an automatically dimming rearview mirror, automatic driving lights, brushed stainless steel decorative inserts, a leather-trimmed gear lever and multifunction steering wheel. A black radiator grille with chrome trimmed-inserts and ‘Toronto’ 16-inch alloy wheels complete the exterior.

GT comes with 17-inch ‘Dijon’ alloy wheels, 10mm lowered sports suspension, front fog lights and air intakes with chrome surrounds, ‘Cherry Red’ rear light clusters, and heat-insulating dark-tinted rear glass. Inside there are gloss black decorative inserts, Alcantara and cloth sports seats, LED reading lights, ambient lighting in the doors and centre console, electrically foldable door mirrors with puddle lights plus front and rear parking sensors. The Discover Navigation media system includes a 5.8-inch colour touchscreen preloaded with European mapping data (with three years of free upgrades), traffic sign display and twin SD card reader (as well as the same multimedia functionality as the Composition Media unit).

Child seats that fit a Volkswagen Golf Estate (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 (2013) like to drive?

The Volkswagen Golf Estate is offered with the same range of engines as the hatchback, meaning a choice of five petrol and four diesel variants. The range kicks off with a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol, producing 85PS. It’s surprisingly sprightly thanks to a healthy torque figure of 160Nm from just 1400rpm so you don't need to work it hard to get decent performance.

The 105PS version of the same engine is a little stronger though, offering 175Nm of torque across a slightly broader rev range. That makes it a better choice if you're regularly going to have a full car. Emissions and economy for both 1.2-litre engines impresses – with an official 56.5mpg, with the lower powered version producing 115g/km of CO2.

The sweet spot in the petrol range is the 122PS 1.4-litre TSI, which produces 200Nm of torque at, has economy of 53.3mpg and emissions of 124g/km. It’s a lively performer, but it’s very refined even at motorway speeds. There’s also a 140PS variant which is similar, but offers better acceleration with no real impact on economy or emissions thanks to cylinder deactivation technology.

The entry level diesel is a 1.6-litre TDI with 90PS. It has emissions of 102g/km, just missing out on the free annual VED. If you want that you’ll need the 110PS BlueMotion variant, which has a lower ride height and improved aerodynamics to lower emissions to 87g/km and improve economy to 85.6mpg. Volkswagen also offers a 105PS version of the same 1.6-litre TDI. Whichever of the three you choose you’ll get fairly similar performance and a good amount of accessible torque – ideal for motorway cruising, towing and hauling heavy loads.

The diesel range is topped off with a 2.0-litre 150PS TDI, which produces a hefty 320Nm of torque. For those who tow caravans or haul particularly heavy, bulky loads it’s the one to go for, but for most it won’t be necessary.

Despite all the extra load space the Golf Estate is only around 30cm longer than the hatchback, so parking is very easy. For those who would prefer to let the car do the hard work there’s an automatic parking system that works well and is simple to operate.

Regardless of engine the Golf Estate is a very versatile, easy to drive car. It’s as at home traversing speed bumps in a housing estate as it is crossing huge distances on A-roads and motorways. Ride quality and refinement are very impressive, yet handling is neat and predictable through twists and turns.

The steering and pedals are well-weighted, while the gear change is slick, precise and light. All cars have an electronic handbrake but that’s no bad thing - it’s one of the best around. It holds the car automatically and it won’t let it roll backwards, yet it doesn’t keep you from setting off smoothly. 

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.0 TSI 110 58 mpg 10.4 s 112 g/km
1.0 TSI 110 DSG 59 mpg 10.4 s 110 g/km
1.0 TSI 115 59–66 mpg 10.1 s 99–127 g/km
1.0 TSI 115 DSG 63 mpg 10.1 s 103–110 g/km
1.0 TSI 85 59 mpg 12.6 s 109 g/km
1.2 TSI 105 57 mpg 10.7 s 117 g/km
1.2 TSI 105 DSG 57 mpg 10.7 s 115 g/km
1.2 TSI 85 57 mpg 12.6 s 115 g/km
1.4 TSI 122 53 mpg 9.7 s 124 g/km
1.4 TSI 122 DSG 55 mpg 9.7 s 118 g/km
1.4 TSI 125 52–53 mpg 9.5 s 123 g/km
1.4 TSI 125 DSG 54–55 mpg 9.5 s 118 g/km
1.4 TSI 150 52 mpg - 123 g/km
1.4 TSI 150 DSG 55 mpg - 118 g/km
1.5 TSI 130 55–58 mpg 9.5 s 113–131 g/km
1.5 TSI 130 DSG 58 mpg 9.5 s 110–113 g/km
1.5 TSI 150 53–54 mpg 8.7 s 116–119 g/km
1.5 TSI 150 DSG 54–55 mpg 8.7 s 114–144 g/km
1.6 TDI 105 72 mpg 11.2 s 102 g/km
1.6 TDI 105 DSG 71 mpg 11.2 s 104 g/km
1.6 TDI 110 72 mpg - 102 g/km
1.6 TDI 110 BlueMotion 81–86 mpg 11.0 s 87 g/km
1.6 TDI 110 DSG 71 mpg - 104 g/km
1.6 TDI 115 59–69 mpg 10.7 s 106–130 g/km
1.6 TDI 115 DSG 67–71 mpg 10.7 s 103–106 g/km
1.6 TDI 90 69–72 mpg 11.9–12.5 s 102–106 g/km
1.8 TSI DSG 42 mpg 7.8 s 156 g/km
2.0 TDI 150 64–67 mpg 8.9 s 108–113 g/km
2.0 TDI 150 DSG 61–64 mpg 8.9 s 117–140 g/km
2.0 TDI 184 60–64 mpg 7.9 s 115–124 g/km
2.0 TDI 184 DSG 59 mpg 7.8–7.9 s 119–125 g/km

Real MPG average for a Volkswagen Golf Estate (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

78%

Real MPG

34–67 mpg

MPGs submitted

269

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 (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

Why does my car have uneven tyre wear?

My Volkswagen Golf Estate, owned from new, is 22 months old and has covered 11,000 miles. Five weeks ago the tyre pressure warning told me that my passenger side front tyre had lost pressure. I checked and it looked fine but reset all tyre pressures. The Volkswagen dealer has found a small puncture, which is now repaired. The dealer did a health check and has flagged amber warning on front left tyre saying tread depth 4mm all the way across with right 4.5mm all the way across. Why the uneven wear? Could this be because of slight difference in tyre pressure right and left?
Probably needs the alignment re-set by http://www.alignmycar.co.uk / Mass produced cars are not finely aligned at the end of the production lines so there is some variation. After that you could even out wear by putting the back tyres on the front (and vice versa, of course).
Answered by Honest John
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