Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
The Golf Estate is clearly not the priciest car in a class that includes the Mercedes E-Class Estate. For cash buyers it’s also a lot cheaper than the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports and slots in at roughly the same money as the Ford Focus Estate and Seat Leon Estate. The Skoda Octavia Estate is a fair chunk cheaper, though. The Golf’s expected to hold on to a bigger percentage of its list price than the Octavia, though, thanks to much slower depreciation.
All the engines offer competitive official CO2 emissions and are RDE2 compliant, and real-world fuel economy should be good. In our tests of the hatchback, the mild hybrid 1.5 eTSI 150 averaged more than 42mpg on a mix of roads, and the estate should be similar. We’d stick with a manual gearbox because the eTSI versions are so much more expensive but no quicker and no more efficient – the only tangible benefit is the automatic gearbox.
If you want low company car tax, the Golf is fine but the Skoda Ocatvia, with an equivalent petrol or diesel engine, has a lower P11D value. The Octavia iV plug-in hybrid, though, will slice your tax bill massively with the tax incentives it qualifies for.
Equipment, options and extras
We'd stick with entry-level Life trim. It comes with all you really need, including single-zone climate control, 16in alloy wheels, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear knob, automatic lights and wipers, adaptive cruise control, and all the infotainment, visibility and parking aids we've discussed in the previous sections.
Style and R-Line trims add in a few more toys and sharper looks, but aren't really worth their price hikes. If you want more toys for your money, have a look at rivals like the Ford Focus and Skoda Octavia. The Corolla is also very well equipped but more expensive.
Volkswagen finished at the lower end of the mid-pack in the 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey: 20th place out of 31 manufacturers. That put it above Audi and Mercedes, but below brands like BMW, Ford, Mazda, Seat, Skoda and Toyota.
Like most Volkswagens, the Golf Estate comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty and one year’s roadside assistance. That's not exceptional these days, falling short of the five-year warranty that Hyundai and Toyota offer, let alone the seven years of cover provided by Kia.
Safety and security
Every Golf Estate comes with automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance, a driver fatigue monitor, traffic sign recognition and something called Car2X. The latter feature allows all cars fitted with this feature to share information on the traffic conditions and any hazards within a radius of 800m, and will send you an early warning of any dangers that lie ahead.
The Golf achieved a full five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, with excellent category scores that were up there with the safest rivals that include the Corolla and Octavia.
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