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 87% of the official MPG figure

If you're looking for the newer version, you need our Volkswagen Golf review

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

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Ask Honest John

Does the Volkswagen Golf 1.2 TSI have sufficient performance?

"I looking at buying a VW Golf 1.2TSI 82PS. The car is mainly for work and around town, but will involve motorway travel for days out on a regular basis. Will the car be powerful enough for overtaking, hills etc? Are there any main issues to consider, known problems and cost of repairs? And would you recommend any other car in the £6.5k - £8.5k range?"
The 1.2 TSI 85PS is the least powerful engine you can get in this generation Golf, and takes 12.3 seconds to reach 0-62mph. That's adequate performance rather than brisk, so if you think your regular journeys will require frequent overtaking, you may want to consider the more powerful 105PS version, or even move up to the 1.4 TSI. Hopefully your test drive will have allowed you to get a feel for the performance. There were reported issues with early versions of the 1.2 TSI such as the head gasket and electronics, but as the car you mention is a later version these problems are less likely to affect it. For your budget you should be able to find a Golf with the bigger 1.4 TSI engine, which would be a good choice, or alternatively you could look at the Ford Focus with the 125PS EcoBoost engine, or the SEAT Leon also with the 1.4 TSI engine. All of these options will have useful extra performance over the 1.2 TSI.
Answered by David Ross

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
More Questions

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