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Used Volkswagen Golf Review

17 Apr 2023

Granted, it may not be as cheap as some of its rivals but the Volkswagen Golf is one of the best driving hatchbacks money can buy. Smooth and comfortable with excellent handling and performance, the Golf is as safe a bet as you’re going to get on the second-hand car market. What’s more, it retains its value really well, so you’ll get a good deal when it’s time to move on. 

In this review, we’ll take a look at the Mk7 (2013-2020) and Mk8 (2020-present) Golfs, as they’re the best second-hand models on sale right now. That’s not to say the Mk5 (2004-2008) and Mk6 (2009-2013) aren’t worth a look, but they are a little more dated.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Good range of engines
  • High-quality interior
  • Low running costs
  • GTI and R provide rapid performance

Cons

  • More expensive than its rivals
  • Styling can be a bit dull on some models
  • Not as roomy as some alternatives

How does it look?

The meaning of ‘Volkswagen’ is ‘people’s car’ and with so many different engine types and trim levels, there’s something for everyone. From the barnstorming GTI and R to the practical and spacious estate, the Golf attracts all sorts of buyers, and for good reason. 

When it comes to its looks, the Golf plays it safe and toes the line, wary of scaring any of those would-be buyers away. That’s not to say it’s not a good-looking car, it is, but it’s attractive in a dependable and safe way. The Mk7 is known for its trademark upright stance, while the Mk8 has a few new chrome-effect treatments and an arguably less elegant nose, although the sloping bonnet does make it more aerodynamic than its predecessor.

Inside, the Mk8 is more modern and simplistic than the Mk7, with a large central touchscreen and very few buttons elsewhere. The quality remains consistent though, with both cars offering an understated level of refinement and all the kit you’re likely to need. 

What’s it like to drive?

It may be more expensive than some of its rivals, but when you get the Golf moving, you soon start to see why. It’s stable, secure, quiet and everything else you would expect such a good allrounder to be. 

The performance is meaty but not meteoric (except for the GTI and R) and Volkswagen has managed to achieve the seemingly impossible by delivering excellent ride comfort and good handling sharpness. Like pretty much everything on the Golf, it’s just as you’d want it to be. 

Is the Volkswagen Golf reliable?

The Mk7 and Mk8 Volkswagen Golf is a reliable choice with few problems and any faults that do occur tend to be quick and easy to solve. Reliability surveys suggest that petrol-powered Golfs are more dependable than their Diesel equivalents, although both are considered to be reliable cars.

Which is the best used Volkswagen Golf to buy? 

With so many different used Mk7 Volkswagen Golfs for sale, that really depends on what you’re looking for. If you want economy, then a diesel option is probably your best bet. If it’s space and practicality you’re after, then the estate is difficult to beat, and for those looking for a thrill, the Volkswagen Golf GTI and R spec can deliver adrenaline in droves. 

If most of your driving is shorter trips in the city, the 1.4-litre TSI 125 turbocharged petrol engine is quiet, smooth to rev and also has a decent turn of pace. For a more recent Mk7, go for the 1.5 Evo 130 version. For longer distances, the 1.6-litre diesel is a good choice but the 2.0 TDI 150 is our favourite, as that combines extra torque and power with excellent fuel economy.

If you’re interested in ultra-low emission driving, you might want to consider the fully electric e-Golf or the impressive plug-in hybrid GTE, although the GTE is expensive to buy and quite rare. 

When it comes to Mk7 specs, the SE, Match and Match Edition all offer a good level of equipment for the price, with air conditioning, alloy wheels, automatic headlights and wipers, digital radio and adaptive cruise control included with each. Post-2017 Golfs added SE NAV, R-line and GT trims to the list, all with extra kit. Of those, the SE Nav is probably your best bet.  

If your budget stretches to the Mk8 Volkswagen Golf, you really can’t go wrong with any of the engines and transmissions. Just stick to the same rules as the Mk7, so go for a petrol engine if you don’t cover many miles and opt for the diesel if you do. 

Even the entry trim level, the Golf Life, offers a good level of equipment, but you can move up to the Golf Active (introduced April 2021) for heated front seats, upgraded trim, privacy glass and a multi-function steering wheel. The Golf Style adds 17-inch alloy wheels, ambient cabin lighting with a choice of 30 colours, three-zone climate control and extra safety features, while the range-leading Golf R-Line includes sporty touches such as lowered suspension, front sports seats and a choice of driving modes.    

How much is a used Volkswagen Golf?

You’re unlikely to see a Mk7 Volkswagen Golf for sale for less than £5,000, and if you do, you should approach it with caution. This will buy you an early model with sky-high mileage, so it’s worth spending a bit more if you can. 

£7,000 will get you an entry-level petrol 2013 or 2014 Golf with a full service history and average mileage, while a diesel version will cost you a little bit more. Expect to pay £8,000 to £9,000 for a good ?2015 or 2016 Golf, while £10,000 opens the door to the 2017 and 2018 models. You can expect to pay between £12,000 and £14,500 for good 2020 and 2021 examples, with better trim levels fetching a higher price. If you’re in the market for a hot hatch, average mileage Mk7 Golf GTIs start at around £10,000, while the ballistically quick Volkswagen Golf R will cost you at least £15,000. 

Mk8 Volkswagen Golfs start at around £22,000 for a 1.0 or 1.5-litre petrol, rising to £25,000 for cars with a bigger engine or higher spec. Smaller 2021 models start at the same price and you can expect to pay up to £28,000 for higher spec or nearly new cars.

Looking For A Used Volkswagen?

If you’re on the hunt for a Used Volkswagen, then you’ll be pleased to hear that we offer a wide range of Used Electric Volkswagens, Used Volkswagen Golfs, and plenty more on the Tangelo website! From used car finance to used car part exchange, buying in full and more, please just visit our website here, or get in touch with the team if you have any questions.

 

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