Space & practicality

Volkswagen Golf review

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Volkswagen Golf
Review continues below...
26 Apr 2017 10:31 | Last updated: 22 Aug 2018 15:52

In this review

Space & practicality

How it copes with people and clutter

Volkswagen Golf hatchback front space

Are you tall and fed up with cars that force you to contort your body to get your legs in, or ruin your bouffant as you smear hair gel across the rooflining? Well, try the Golf; it’s got an abundance of head and leg room in the front, with a generously wide cabin that means you won’t want for shoulder room, either.

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The front door pockets are big enough for a 500ml bottle of water and there are two cupholders in the centre console. You’ll also find a storage bin under the front centre armrest, along with a decent-sized glovebox that’s kept cool by the air-con. Step up from entry-level S to SE trim and you get a discreet drawer under the front passenger seat and a glasses holder by the rear-view mirror.

Volkswagen Golf hatchback rear space

The Golf’s roomy interior dimensions mean two six-footers will easily fit in the back, although life isn’t so comfortable for a central passenger because of the raised floor in the middle of the car – it’s a pain to clamber over and robs the middle occupant of foot space. But for two people, there’s a decent amount of leg and head room, although nowhere near as much as you’ll find in the cheaper Skoda Octavia.

Large, square rear door openings (on five-door models) make it easy to get in and out of the back without banging your head, and even in the three-door versions access isn’t too bad.

The rear door pockets are narrow, so a 500ml bottle is a bit of a squeeze. However, go for SE trim or above and you'll get a couple of cupholders in the rear centre armrest, along with storage pockets on the rear of the front seats.

Volkswagen Golf

Volkswagen Golf hatchback seating flexibility

The Golf’s rear seats don’t do anything particularly clever. They can’t be slid back and forth, for example, like they can in many SUVs, and they don’t recline either.

As with most hatchbacks, though, you can fold the seatbacks, in a 60/40 split, down by pulling a lever next to the outer head restraints. Once dropped, the seatbacks lie virtually flat without you first needing to flip up the seatbases, like you have to in the rival Ford Focus.

You can pay extra on five-door SE and SE Navigation models to have a front passenger seat that folds completely flat, enabling you to carry seriously long items. Three-door versions get easy-entry front seats; they move up as they slide out of the way, making it easier to get in and out of the back of the car, before returning to their original position.

Volkswagen Golf hatchback boot space

There’s plenty of room in the boot for the weekly food shop and you can just about squeeze in a set of golf clubs (minus any long woods) or a fold-up baby buggy; the fact that the boot is square-shaped helps make it easy to pack, too. That said, an Octavia has a much larger boot, making it a better choice if you regularly need to lug around big loads.

All Golf models, except the GTE, have a false boot floor that lets you create two separate compartments and raise the load level so there’s no step in the floor of the extended load bay once the rear seats are folded down. With the floor in its highest setting, there’s practically no lip to negotiate when lifting heavy items in and out of.

SE models upwards have a through-load facility. This allows you to carry long, thin items, such as skis, without folding down the rear seats.

 

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There are 12 trims available for the Golf hatchback. Click to see details.See all versions
S
Entry-level S-trim isn’t lavishly equipped, but it does come with trinkets including air-conditioning, four electric windows (five-door model only), height-adjustable front seats, a front centre ar...View trim
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SE
This adds 16in alloy wheels, front seat lumbar adjustment, a rear seat centre armrest, a ski hatch and a leather-trimmed steering wheel. And it adds gadgets such as Apple CarPlay, automatic lights...View trim
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£17,973
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GT
This sportier trim offers bigger 17in alloy wheels, sports suspension, sports seats and a performance monitor, which includes a lap timer and G-meter. Other additions over SE trim are privacy glass...View trim
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£21,429
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R-Line
Mostly styling changes that include more aggressive-looking bumpers, lowered sports suspension, twin oval exhaust tailpipes, black brake calipers and carbon-look interior trims ...View trim
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£22,898
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GTD BlueLine
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
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£25,087
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GTI
Comes with everything that the GTD gets, plus with 18in alloy wheels, red brake calipers and red stitching on the sports steering wheel...View trim
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£26,050
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GTE
Plug-in hybrid model comes with a 12.3in digital instrument display, dual-zone climate control, along with everything else from the GT model...View trim
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GTD
On top of the GT trim on which it’s based, the GTD comes with an even sportier bodykit, LED headlights, lowered, sports suspension, a honeycombe front grille, heated front seats, heated windscreen...View trim
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GTI Performance
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
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£27,386
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e-Golf
The all-electric e-Golf is based on SE trim, but also adds LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, a heated windscreen and a 9.2in touchscreen with sat-nav....View trim
Fuel Electric
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R
Top-spec model comes with all the trimmings of the GTI, plus 4Motion (four-wheel drive) and a 306bhp engine....View trim
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£30,133
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GTE Advance
Builds on the GTE trim, but adds sat-nav, heated seats and larger 18in alloy wheels....View trim
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£30,374
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