Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet (2011 – 2016) Review

Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet (2011 – 2016) At A Glance


+Neatly styled drop-top version of the Golf. Quick-fold roof. Frugal BlueMotion models available plus impressive TSI petrols.

-Legroom is tight in the back.

Insurance Groups are between 15–39
On average it achieves 82% of the official MPG figure

The Golf Cabriolet has always been a popular and instantly recognisable part of the Volkswagen line-up. So it’s all the more puzzling why it took nine years to replace it.

Since the old Cabriolet (which was a Golf III with a Golf IV nose grafted onto the front) went off sale in 2002, there’s been the Beetle Cabriolet and Eos, but neither of these drop-top Volkswagens has quite hit the spot in the same way as the Golf Cabriolet did.

So it’s back to the drawing board for the two-door, four-seater 2011 version, with a fabric roof that opens in just 9.5 seconds and sits smartly at the back of the car. Usefully, the top can also be operated on the move, at speeds up to around 18mph.

Part of the appeal comes from the wide range of engines. There are 1.2-litre TSI 105bhp, 1.4-litre TSI 160PS, 1.4-litre TSI 122PS and 2.0-litre TSI 210PS petrols and 1.6-litre TDI and 2.0-litre TDI 140PS diesels. 'BlueMotion Technology' modifications applied to the diesel promise high efficiency and low emissions.

At the back rear there are new LED lights and a deep crease in the bootlid to help it stand out from the standard Golf. Inside it's similar to the hatchback with the same design and layout. There are three trims - S, SE and GT - with all getting a good level of standard specification which includes 16-inch alloy wheels, a fully automatic electro-hydraulically operated soft top, DAB radio and Bluetooth.

To aid noise reduction and refinement, the Golf Cabriolet's fabric roof which has an additional exterior skin, as well as new window and door seals. When the top is down, the upper side of the leading edge (the bit that directly connects to the windscreen frame) covers the entire top surface of the roof storage box, eliminating the need for a separate cover.

This contributes to the very rapid opening time and means it does not need to descend as deep into the bootspace. Even with the roof down, there is 250 litres of available space.

Volkswagen Golf GTI Cabriolet 2012 Road Test

Real MPG average for a Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet (2011 – 2016)


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

30–67 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.

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Ask Honest John

Which is the best convertible to go for - a Golf or Audi A3?
"My wife has driven a Golf Convertible for years. The time has come to change it. I want a petrol car with a bit of poke. Which is the best to go for - a Golf or Audi A3?"
The Golf is actually based on the Mk IV Golf so has old bones. Avoid the DSG/ S tronic with engines below 2.0 litres. A 1.4 TSI might be chain cam (up to around 2014) otherwise, belt cam. The Audi got a facelift and a bigger boot in 2014 - it's probably best with the 1.4 TSI 150 belt cam engine and manual transmission.
Answered by Honest John
Insuring my second car is proving expensive - do you have any advice?
"I'm comprehensively insured as the sole owner and driver of a 2005 Jaguar S-Type. I'm 77 years of age and have maximum protected no-claims. I fancy some top down motoring this summer so found a Volkswagen Cabriolet for £2500. It seems impossible to insure both at same time as the cheapest premium offered for the Volkswagen is £675. It seems silly as I am the only driver and cannot drive two cars at once. I could substitute the cars but that would leave one uninsured. Have you any advice please?"
At £2500 for a Volkswagen Cabriolet, I'm guessing it may be a Golf. If that's the case, insure it through a classic car policy. When you insure a vehicle, they will ask you what you use it for, this is usually social use, or with the extension of to and from a place of work. At your age, make sure the to and from a place of work is not on there unless you are still working. This massively affects premiums. Try googling classic car insurance and contact them directly. Don't use price comparison sites. I would expect the insurance on a Golf Cabriolet to be around £150 - £200 on classic car insurance. Also, I'm guessing you don't do many miles, and more so with two cars, so agree a limited mileage. You can always increase it part way through the policy should you wish to do some touring.
Answered by Tim Kelly
Volkswagen Golf type confusion
"The initial talk in the US media was that this issue concerned cars using the Adblue system. I have a 2012 Golf convertible 2.0 TDI BlueMotion manual which due to the lightweight of the vehicle compared to other vehicles using this engine does not use the Adblue system. Can you confirm if this vehicle will be liable to the emissions recall and will I end up having the Adblue system fitted or just an ECU adjustment? "
The two cars tested in the USA were a Jetta 1.6 TDI that had no SCR system and a Passat 2.0 TDI that did have an AdBlue SCR system. Both had the previous to current generation EA189 engine. Your car has the EA189. What needs to be done depends on whether the engine will meet the EU5 limit which is considerably less tough than the USA limit, but at the very least the 'defeat software' in the ECU will need to be de-programmed.
Answered by Honest John
Buying a cabriolet - what would you recommend?
"In my twenties I drove an MGB roadster and a TR4 and enjoyed both greatly. I now desire a cabriolet/roadster again. Which is the best bet for a 65 year old - a Vauxhall Cascada (I have GM points to use), a Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet or a Mazda MX5? I can’t choose between them, which would you buy?"
A Cascada is quite a big convertible, but now with some quite interesting petrol engines. A Golf convertible is smaller and on the basis of readers experience trying to trade them in they drop in value fairly steeply. And MX-5 is a proper sportscar, but there's very little room inside the cockpit.
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet (2011 – 2016) cost?