Volkswagen Golf (2009 – 2013) Review

Volkswagen Golf (2009 – 2013) At A Glance


+Comfortable and quiet on the move, enjoyable to drive. Nicely trimmed with great attention to detail. 1.4 TSI sweeter to drive than a diesel.

-7-speed dry clutch DSG problems. EA189 diesel emissions problems. Chain cam 1.4 TSI problems, especially Twincharger. EGR problems with 1.6 TDI.

Insurance Groups are between 8–36
On average it achieves 88% of the official MPG figure

It's not easy to improve something that's already near perfect, but Volkswagen appeared to have managed it with the Volkswagen Golf. It was more refined, more comfortable and felt even higher quality then the previous model. It appeared that the Volkswagen Golf set a new standard for hatchbacks.

It was not actually completely new, but a thoroughly revamped version of the 2004 Volkswagen Golf with small but key improvements all round. This is most telling on the move where the Golf VI is incredibly quiet and smooth, with the feel of a much larger car.

The quality and finish of the interior were impeccable too (velour lined golvebox, for example, so things don't rattle around in there) and there's a premium feel to the controls and switches. There was also new technology available on this Golf including a clever adaptive air suspension system (called ACC or Adaptive Chassis System) which can vary the handing and ride between sport or comfort modes.

The engine line-up was impressive and all the models offer good economy - both petrols and diesels. The 1.4 TSI 122 is a great choice with excellent torque and smoothness at low revs, but what really grabbed the headlines were the Bluemotion models. Thanks to continual improvements, the 1.6 TDI emits just 99g/km of CO2 and has claimed economy of 74.3mpg.

Unfortunately, these engines have proven unsuitable for repeated short runs from cold with many readers experiencing EGR and DPF problems. Great for long distances. But for short runs, far better a 1.4 TSI or 1.2 TSI.


Real MPG average for a Volkswagen Golf (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


Real MPG

22–72 mpg

MPGs submitted


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

Satisfaction Index What is your car like to live with?

We need your help with our latest Satisfaction Index, so that we can help others make a smarter car buying decision. What's it like to live with your car? Love it? Loath it? We want to know. Let us know about your car - it will only take a few minutes and you could be helping thousands of others.

Help us with the Honest John Satisfaction Index now

Ask Honest John

Is 58,000 miles on a ten-year-old car excessive?
"Is 58,000 miles on a 2010 Volkswagen Golf diesel excessive? Should I leave it well alone?"
Not at all. Around 12,000 miles a year is considered average, so anything below 120,000 miles on a 10-year-old car is below average. If anything, the mileage could be too low. A diesel Golf of this age will have a diesel particulate filter (DPF). If it's mainly been used for short journeys, this could be clogged which will cause expensive issues. You might be better looking for a diesel Golf with a higher mileage or a petrol model.
Answered by Andrew Brady
What is the AGM setting on my battery charger?
"My 2011 Volkswagen Golf has been garaged since the middle of March. I bought a CTEK battery charger and connected it. There is a setting called AGM. What is that, please? Also, do you recommend running the engine periodically or waiting until lockdown is over to give the car a good run?"
If your car has a stop-start feature (i.e. the engine stops automatically when you come to a halt), it'll probably have an AGM battery and you'll have to use the AGM setting. This shouldn't be necessary on a 2011 Volkswagen Golf. If you can, running the engine for 20 minutes to half an hour every week or so would be better than leaving it for a long period.
Answered by Andrew Brady
What's the best car for a 6ft7 teenager who has just passed their test?
"My Son is 6'7" tall and 18 years old. The 57 plate Renault Clio that he and my daughter learnt to drive in is reaching the point of needing some serious money spent on it. It has been a great workhorse and owes us nothing. In the interest of safety and reliability, we are considering changing it. Given his height and age we need something affordable to run and insure but with decent leg and headroom. I read the B-MAX is good but he is not keen on the image! What is the best thing for us too look at for a budget of around £5K?"
How about a Volkswagen Golf? It might be a bit expensive to insure but it's worth getting quotes with the 1.4-litre petrol engine. Also consider a Vauxhall Astra. Or a Honda Jazz, but that might not have the most desirable image, either...
Answered by Andrew Brady
Are there any three-door hatchbacks to replace my old Audi A3 with?
"I have an old three-door Audi A3. I was thinking of buying a three-door Volkswagen Gold but understand these are discontinued so I'm concerned that three-door hatchbacks are becoming rare. I want another three-door of similar size as this is the easiest for a dog to get in and out of; a much gentler gradient onto the back seat and wider area in the footwell with the front seat folded forward. What do you suggest?"
I don't think you'll find a new three-door car the same size as your A3, I'm afraid. The three-door Golf is being discontinued but some dealers still have pre-registered examples in as-new condition in stock, so that might be your best option if you act quickly. You could also consider nearly-new examples of the outgoing BMW 1 Series.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

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