Volkswagen Golf R Review 2022

Volkswagen Golf R At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The Volkswagen Golf R is a superb all-rounder: you could commute in comfort and refinement in it all week and then embarrass dedicated sports cars at the weekend. Huge pace and plenty of everyday usability aside, it isn't the most exciting, fun or affordable hot hatch, however.

+Immense cross-country pace. Comfortable and practical. Surprisingly economical at a cruise. Also available as an estate.

-Lacks the character and drama of hot hatch rivals. Engine response can be laggy. Not cheap, especially with lots of kit optional.

The Volkswagen Golf R aims to be the master of all trades. It'll beat sports cars away from the lights and along twisty roads while still aiming to be practical, useable everyday transport. The latest model adds more power and technology in the mix, and our VW Golf R review will see if the all-rounder can actually excite. 

The old Volkswagen Golf R certainly had its fans. It held widespread appeal amongst young car enthusiasts with a bit of money who wanted something more impressive than the usual Ford Fiesta ST, or even a VW Golf GTI

Much like fast Fords of the early nineties, it also developed a reputation as a car highly sought after by thieves. Hugely fast, four-wheel drive, discreet and with space for all your partners in crime, there isn't many better getaway cars. Small wonder undercover traffic cops started getting them too; if you can't beat them, join them. 

Anyway, the new Golf R joins an ever increasing number of four-wheel drive hot hatches vying for the same level of success. Key rivals include the BMW M135i, Audi S3, Mercedes-AMG A35 and Cupra Leon 310 Estate - and although it shares much with the Audi and Cupra, it has more power and an even more trick four-wheel drive system. It even gets a 'Drift' mode. 

You also get 320PS from a highly tuned 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, which combined with limpet-like grip means it's much faster off-the-line than even the Clubsport version of the Golf GTI. Another key selling point is that you can buy a Golf R Estate - you can't buy a GTI Estate. 

Bespoke styling inside and out - including big wheels, unique trims and figure-hugging sports seats - help mark it out as something a bit more special than the norm. But has it lost some of the subtlety of the old car? We'll let you be the judge of that. You'll certainly pay a premium for that R badge, too - you can easily spend £50,000 on a Golf by raiding the extensive options list. 

Ask Honest John

Can I put E10 fuel in my Golf R?
"My Volkswagen Golf R is recommended to run on super unleaded 98 RON which is now super expensive. I know the performance and mpg might drop slightly if I use 95 RON E10 fuel but will it damage the engine at all?"
It won't damage the engine by using 95 RON fuel, the car will adjust itself to the new fuel via the ECU but it will reduce the power output and engine response because your car is tuned and designed to run 98 RON. Expect slightly worse MPG, too. Why not try one of the cheaper supermarket high octane fuels? Tesco's 99 Momentum, for example, is recommended by many and is often only 6p/7p a litre more than 95.
Answered by Lawrence Allan
Volkswagen Golf R delays - can I cancel my order?
"I ordered a Volkswagen Golf R online through a broker last July. I was initially given an estimated delivery time of 22 weeks which meant December. After asking the dealer for an update it was put back to this March. Now it’s provisionally July. Do I have the right to cancel and claim my £1,000 deposit back? "
There are widespread delays on new car orders at the moment, primarily caused by the ongoing global semiconductor shortage. Whether you can cancel and claim your deposit back will depend on the terms and conditions of the contract you signed when you placed the order. If there is delivery date included, which you have now gone past, then I would suggest you are in a much better position to cancel and get your money back than if there is no mention of it.
Answered by Sarah Tooze
More Questions

What does a Volkswagen Golf R cost?

Buy new from £37,275(list price from £42,190)