There’s only one car that holds king of the hatchbacks and that’s the Volkswagen Golf.
Standard 1.8-liter turbo four-cylinder pumps out 170hp and may not sound like much to some but it really is the only engine you really need with this car. It’s quite flexible around town and offers plenty of oomph when you’re driving on the highway thanks to high torque at revs. You can choose between a five-speed manual gearbox and a six-speed auto gearbox. We’d suggest opting for the auto gearbox. While we do love manual gearboxes, this one just doesn’t feel up to par with the competition but it is not as bad as the one we tested in the Toyota IM. Steering feedback is what you’d expect it to be, and handling is slightly softer than the GTI but it is far from dull or uninspiring. We found ourselves enjoying zipping around town and the composure the Golf presented when driving on the highway. The engine is smooth at all rpm levels and doesn’t feel out of its depths like it does in let’s say the Passat. Road and wind noise are so well suppressed that you’d think that this were a far more expensive vehicle than it really is.
The interior feels upscale with classy feeling plastics used. The infotainment system isn’t as frustrating to use as the Honda Civic but the different menus can get distracting while on the go. The front seats offer plenty of support and space while the rear seat is roomy too, it’s actually much roomier than the exterior size would suggest. The boot space is really good too and for such a small car it actually feels more spacious than the Ford Focus. We love how the boot release is hidden behind the enormous VW badge.
Volkswagen cut the number of trim levels for 2017 to just two for the Golf and well both seem well kitted for the money. Standard S Trim gets heated side mirrors, Bluetooth audio streaming for you mobile device. Rearview camera system and 6.5-inch multi-media touch screen infotainment system. Wolfsburg Edition gets a panoramic sunroof, automatic headlights, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitoring system and keyless access with push button ignition system.
The Golf is hands down the best hatchback money can buy, if you find the engine lacking in power you can always get the GTI which has 210hp and 220hp from a 2-liter turbo four. Everyone else will love the Golf for its low running costs and roomy interior for such a small size. It really is all the car you’ll ever need. (Literally!)
Likes: Zippy turbo engine and low running costs, the boot space is generous for size and the overall interior is roomy. Simplified trim levels yet each trim level is stuffed with kit.
Dislikes: You can no longer option for Bi-xenon headlamps. We miss the SEL trim despite it being pricey.
Our pick: The Wolfsburg Edition comes with plenty of kit standard without being overpriced.