What used Volkswagen Golf hatchback will I get for my budget?
£5000 is enough to get you into one of the cheapest examples of a Mk7 Volkswagen Golf but, as you might expect, this won’t buy you very much other than a high-mileage car or one that’s been previously written off.
That being the case, it makes sense to pay more – £7000 gets you into an entry-level petrol car with average mileage and a full service history for a 2014 car. While you’ll pay a smidge more for a diesel version, there are so many around that prices aren’t that far removed from the equivalent petrol model. Up the ante to between £8000 and £10,000 and you'll be able to choose from a good selection of 2015 and 2016 cars, while £11,000 to £15,000 gets you into 2017 and 2018 models. This is dependent on the trim to a certain degree, with later R-Line versions fetching a small premium.
Petrol-powered Golfs are also able to achieve impressive economy. According to official NEDC figures, the 1.0-litre and 1.2-litre turbos are capable of up to a claimed average of 58mpg and 57mpg respectively, equating to 45-50mpg in real-world driving, while even the 2.0-litre turbo in the GTI model is rated at a claimed 44mpg, which should mean 35-38mpg out on the road. The 1.5 Evo claims 49.6mpg, according to the WLTP tests.
As a result of those consumption figures, CO2 emissions are correspondingly low so the Golf is very cheap to tax, especially those registered before April 2017. Indeed, all but the performance versions fall into either the £20 or £30 tax band, while the most economical models are actually free to tax. Those registered after the tax changes of April 2017 came into force will pay annual VED at the flat rate, currently £150 a year.
Meanwhile, servicing is reasonably priced, too. It won’t be quite as cheap as, say, a Ford Focus or Vauxhall Astra, but compares well with most other rivals.
If you really want to save money on fuel and have access to an electric charging point, you could try one of the two electrified Golfs. The GTE is a plug-in hybrid that allows you to save money on fuel by driving up to 31 miles on electric power only; the e-Golf is a fully electric model with a range of 118 miles. Keep in mind, though, that both models are expensive to buy and hard to find, so you’ll have to weigh that up against the savings you’ll actually make.