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2013 Volkswagen Golf

Overview
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2013 Volkswagen Golf Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.5

2013 is the final year for this sixth-generation VW Golf; an all-new model should arrive in the U.S in 2014. But, considering its age, the current Golf/GTI/Golf R is holding up pretty well, this despite fierce competition from newer cars such as the Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra. Available in either 2- or 4-door hatchback form, the Golf provides a versatile cabin composed of quality materials and some of the most comfortable and supportive seats in the business. The turbocharged GTI and R trims provide affordable performance in a practical package. But, it's the diesel-powered TDI models that really impress, with gobs of torque for fast starts and a highway fuel-economy rating of 42 mpg.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for small hatchback that is as fun to drive as it is versatile, Volkswagen's 2013 Golf deserves your attention. In GTI form, the Golf delivers go-kart-like performance without sacrificing comfort or economy, and the TDI offers the best fuel economy in the segment.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The Golf can be pricey, especially when compared to comparably equipped models from Hyundai, Kia, Ford and Mazda. Some may find that the big wheel/tire package on the GTI and Golf R renders a rather harsh ride.

What's New for 2013

For 2013, the manual transmission is dropped from the base Golf 4-door model, while all cars now have a standard front center armrest and front and rear floor mats. The GTI gets a new golf-ball-style shifter and new wheels.

Driving the Golf

Driving Impressions Because it shares the same platform and major suspension components as the GTI, the 2013 VW Golf enjoys a level of solidity and stability rarely found in an entry-level model....

The Golf's ride is smooth, its steering direct and responsive and its cabin luxury-car quiet. The 5-cylinder gasoline engine won't overwhelm you with either power or personality, but is more than up to the job. The 2.0-liter TDI diesel is our favorite choice, providing acceleration almost as rapid as the GTI's turbocharged engine with fuel economy that can't be beat. Opt for the 200-horsepower GTI and you have a confluence of both more capability and an almost serene driving environment – this isn't the hot hatch for a youngster, it's the responsive hatch for a youthful psychology. If you're lucky enough to secure the all-wheel-drive Golf R, plan for high-speed driving at any appropriate venue in any appropriate season.

TDI DIESEL ENGINE
With all of the discussion surrounding hybrid and electric powertrains, diesel remains the well-proven leader in efficiency and longevity. The 2013 Golf's 2.0-liter TDI is efficient, versatile and responsive. That combination should please both the enthusiast behind the wheel and the accountant keeping track of monthly costs.

INTERIOR MATERIALS
The Golf's interior design may not be as cutting edge as is the Ford Focus or Hyundai Elantra, but its Audi-like materials, fit and finish leave everyone else running to catch up.

2013 Volkswagen Golf Details
Interior

Volkswagen describes the 2013 Golf interior as one that continues to "set the quality benchmark in its class." And we wouldn't disagree; the Golf employs a mixture of design and execution rarely found at window stickers fully twice that of the Golf. Throughout the Golf interior, from seat choices to the dash and center stack, you'll not be disappointed by the Golf's visual and tactile performance. And its functional acumen is underscored by an info-centric dash, form-fitting bucket seats and high-lift tailgate. The GTI and Golf R take the interior one step further, with an ergonomic steering wheel, aggressive sport seats and more comprehensive instrumentation.

Exterior

Visually the 2013 Golf/GTI doesn't veer far from the boxy formula that has been the car's trademark since its introduction nearly 40 years ago. The crisp, shark crease running the length of the Golf adds, we're told, "visual movement" to the car, while its sweptback headlights heighten the Golf's athletic look. On the Golf TDI Clean Diesel with the Tech Package are LED daytime running lights that sit along the sides and base of the headlights. The 2013 Golf is an evolution of a design that worked from the git-go, and continues to work because its design team refuses to dramatically alter its innate goodness.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Standard equipment on the 2013 VW Golf includes a tilt-and-telescopic steering column, power windows with auto up/down, air conditioning, split-folding rear seat with armrest and pass-through, radio with single CD, and dual polished exhaust tips. Adding the Convenience Group ups the ante with heated front seats and Bluetooth technology. Convenience-and-Sunroof goes beyond the addition of the sunroof with Premium VIII touch-screen radio, Sirius satellite radio and an MDI with an iPod cable. The GTI and Golf R receive unique fascias and badging, along with a stance – via more aggressive rubber – that conveys both higher ambition and capabilities.

Optional Equipment

Most notable among choices in the VW showroom is the 2.0-liter TDI diesel. Car companies with operations in the U.S. have been uniformly slow in adapting diesel's benefits – abundant torque and high efficiency – to U.S.-based (or bound) platforms. VW and Mercedes continue to show the way, and the benefits of the diesel in a Golf-sized package are many. Beyond the diesel, we'd cite the Golf's available DSG gearbox (optional on diesel-equipped Golfs), whose efficiency and immediacy are a perfect complement to the diesel's 140 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque.

Under the Hood

Although the Golf's base 5-cylinder powerplant doesn't receive a huge amount of love from VW's enthusiast base, it's proven to be eminently sensible for the cut-and-thrust of daily driving, offering reasonable horsepower, smoothness and efficiency; its most damning descriptive is that it's simply not much fun. That can't be said for the 2.0 TDI, offering abundant torque, awesome efficiency and a driving experience as visceral as VW. Given the diesel's $5K premium, however, you should weigh your driving needs, and costs, carefully. You'll need to drive a significant amount in a diesel to recover its higher initial purchase price. Performance enthusiasts can enjoy the GTI's warmed-up 2.0-liter turbo-4 offering 200 horsepower, or its more boosted variation – with 256 horsepower – available in the Golf R.

2.5-liter inline-5 (Golf)
170 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
177 lb-ft of torque 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/33 mpg (manual), 24/31 mpg (automatic)

2.0-liter turbodiesel inline-4 (TDI)
140 horsepower @ 4,000 rpm
236 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-2,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 30/42 mpg

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (GTI)
200 horsepower @ 5,100-6,000 rpm
207 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/31 mpg (manual), 24/33 mpg (automatic)

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (Golf R)
256 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
243 lb-ft of torque @ 2,400-5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/27 mpg

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2013 Volkswagen Golf Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 92 Ratings for the 2010 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.3/10
    Quality
    9.5/10
  • Reliability
    9.3/10
    Performance
    9.6/10
  • Comfort
    9.3/10
    Styling
    9.2/10

A Practical, Fun To Drive, and Safe Car.

By on Saturday, May 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 790

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, practical, premium interior, fast"

Cons: "No USB ports, Better transmision feel/shifts"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

My 2015 Volkswagen Golf TSI S Four Door

"I've had my 2015 Volkswagen Golf TSI Four door with a six speed automatic for almost three weeks now, so I can't say too much as far as reliability goes yet. What I can say is that as someone who has driven almost every car in the compact car segment as part of my job (I work for a rental car company), I can say that my Golf smokes the base models of those cars in driving experience, ride quality, practicality, and looks. The driving dynamics about the Golf are what drew me to it the most. It handles better than most of the "hot" versions of other compact cars, and its the base models. The handling is neutral with very composed body roll, so you can chuck it into corners and cruise back-roads in it and have an absolutely great time. This is all while having a suspension setup that simultaneously soaks up all but the most jarring and wide pavement cracks while providing great cornering feel and stability. The back end is also very planted for such a light rear, and can easily dance around any corner it wants to. It's not a sporty car, but it sure behaves like one when thrown into a turn. The power-train is second to none. The 1.8L Turbo has all the power you want to pass anything you want on the highway, and the engine note is only apparent when you really push the accelerator. The rest of the time the engine is relatively quiet. The six speed automatic is a near perfect transmission, my only complaint being my preference for it to perhaps be a bit more soft at lower speeds. Sport mode doesn't seem to make a much noticeable difference so I just shift with the paddles when I get a chance. So far I'm averaging 30 MPG combined on 87 Octane regular, which is just what I was expecting and am very happy to meet. Practicality is awesome. My 6'2" stepfather was able to sit in the back seat without issues. The leatherette seats are so good you won't notice they're fake, an opinion seconded by a longtime German car mechanic in my family who has driven several generations (including the most recent) of Mercedes-Benz S class. The air conditioning system gets perfect air blasts and is very flexible, and defrosts the mirrors fast enough. The movable trunk floor is a great feature. I've already moved two beach chairs in the Golf without having to put the seat down, and I had no rear visibility issues. The technology in the Golf is second to none. Volkswagen's touch screen is not the largest I've seen in a compact, but it is hands down the best as far as responsiveness and graphics. Syncing my phone took very little time whatsoever, the sound system is amazing, and the number of buttons and dials is helpful when the touch screen is finnicky. My only gripe with the technology package is the lack of a proper USB port, which is rather irritating but not a deal breaker. Perhaps make the transmission a bit better at slow speeds and add some USB ports. But other than those issues, I could not be happier with my 2015 Volkswagen Golf. There is no car out there that I would consider buying for the money."

25 people out of 43 found this review helpful

My 2015 Volkswagen Golf TSI S Four Door

Everything That I Wanted

By on Friday, May 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Gas mileage, good styling, comfortable"

Cons: "Manual Day/Night rearview mirror"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

My car & the Battleship North Carolina

"I was researching for a new car that was small, comfortable, drives well, and fuel efficient I didn't think that I could find them all in one car. VW invented the hatchback and this new model shows the experience. The inside is comfortable and gives the feeling of a luxury car . The outside is sporty and is very pleasing to the eye. I didn't know what to expect with a diesel. I waited until the coldest morning of the year (15F) and asked to start the car cold. It turned over w/o any problems and drove well. I love my diesel! It's responsive, smooth and is getting a little over 50 mpg. The only thing I found different is that the diesel is more efficient then a gas engine, so it takes about 4 times the distance to warm up to a point where the heater is issuing heat in the winter. The heated seats, that I didn't think I needed, feel great on those days. It's everything I was looking for and I am enjoying everything about it."

7 people out of 9 found this review helpful

My car & the Battleship North Carolina

never had such value, mileage and performance

By on Wednesday, May 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,700

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"mileage over 44000 miles has averaged 35 in town and 42 on long trips and the power of a V6 it is simply amazing."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

It's a great drive! But......

By on Saturday, April 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Like being in a roller coaster around turns!"

Cons: "Quality control"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"I've had quality control issues. Hatchback opener has broken. Gas flap has snapped off. Leather seat bolster wearing through after 2 years. Little things that make a difference."

13 people out of 22 found this review helpful

Safe, Reliable, holds Value!

By on Friday, April 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Everything about this car is wonderful"

Cons: "Nothing"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This car was my first new car purchase as a young professional. I did my research and thank goodness for that! This car has always been reliable, I now have a child and feel confident it is safe for her and my family. Best decision. Plus it has a great sporty appearance."

21 people out of 33 found this review helpful

A fine, snug little car.

By on Saturday, March 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "engineering, build, handling, fun to drive"

Cons: "slow derfroster, heater controls"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Reliable, fun to drive, excellent fit and finish. A bit tight inside, especially in winter attire. Radio and CD have fine sound. Good snow handling with winter tires. Downside: Diesel takes 10 minutes to warm up in winter, so slow defroster. Heat controls are tiny, hard to read and not intuitive. Diesel fuel costs can cancel out higher mileage ratings."

18 people out of 34 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?