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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 72 Ratings for the 2010 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.4/10
    Quality
    9.5/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    9.5/10
  • Comfort
    9.4/10
    Styling
    9.3/10

Dull, dull and brilliantly dull

By on Saturday, May 31, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Dull, but brilliantly so"

Cons: "Dull, but that's the biggest con I can think of."

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

"The Golf 2.5 Base is my wife's car. It replaced her 12 year old Miata. Everything about this car is sensible or reasonable or both. Dependable, predictable, solid, reasonably economical, sensible price, sensible size, reasonably comfortable, reasonable stereo, reasonable servicing costs, reasonable looks, better than reasonable built quality. Reasonable performance if you can be bothered to go and find it. Just does everything it says in the brochure without any fuss or excitement. She hates buttons and it has the minimum. For example, Lights: on or off. That's it, 2 positions. She hates complexity, and there isn't any. Absolute wysiwyg,(the car and her) and she loves it. Dull but brilliantly so (only the car this time - not her). Probably everything she looked for in her spouse, and at least the car came through."

8 people out of 15 found this review helpful

I love driving this car.

By on Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 118,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Torque! MPG! Handling!"

Cons: "Cup holders suck."

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

"Kickass torque! Terrific mileage: average 40 mpg doing 70-75 on highways and often pushing it in town. Handling is fantastic: takes curves on the Taconic like a champ. Only quibble: mechanics. Several early problems, including a cylinder issue were covered by VW even well after warrantee expired. But no issues for over a year now.... In sum: I put on a lot of miles and I love that diesel!"

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Great Diesel Sipper

By on Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,300

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to Drive, Fuel up less often, lots of power."

Cons: "Price too high, Blue motion not available in USA"

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

"Compared to other cars I have driven among a fleet of cars, the handling of the 2011 VW Golf TDi is sporty and loads of fun to drive. As a daily driver in-town the MPG is not as high as hybrid but you will be passing those hybrids on the road. Out on the highway is where the fuel economy kicks in. It lost only one point for reliability because it required road-side assistance to jump the car 3 times, which was covered under warranty for the first 3yrs/36K miles which was all due to a faulty battery. Related to quality after service was conducted to replace a faulty cruise control switch the horn was put back in improperly. It is really embarrassing having your car involuntarily honk. The dealer rapidly repaired the issue and provided a loaner during the process. The interior surfaces are firm but the seats are a bit rough to the touch and could be softened up a bit. The road noise was a bit more than I'd like for a VW. Only thing related to convenience is the service location is rather far away and requires taking off during the work week for anything more than an oil change. More dealerships would be nice. The interior finishes are great but the seats are rough to the touch. I would have rather had leatherette as an option in this car. I do love this car!"

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Great commuter and highway cruiser

By on Friday, May 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fuel mileage, great on local 2-lane roads"

Cons: "Nearest dealer 50 miles away"

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

"Really a great little car. I've put 70,000 miles on mine and only had a check engine light come on once for a faulty oxygen sensor. Can consistently returns 35+mpg in town and 40-45 on the highway depending on how heavy your right foot is. Comfortable, quiet, and pretty good room all things considered."

8 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Expensive car to own long term.

By on Thursday, May 01, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 97,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
1/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Solid body, great handling, loads of torque."

Cons: "Engine explodes"

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

"97,000 meticulously maintained miles. Turbo failed pumping engine oil into intake and exhaust systems. $4000.00 and counting. Wheel bearing failed at 80,000. The repair costs are 50% of what the car is currently worth. I have a timing belt due for replacement-$1000.00 dealer cost. Three of my co workers drive VW Diesels. All have had a catastrophic engine event. My first and last VW."

7 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Rented one and fell in love

By on Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,500

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
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great economy and fun to drive"

Cons: "I need to lose 20 lbs to be really comfortable"

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

"I rented a 2012 Golf TDI in Europe and fell in love with it. When I returned to the US, I bought one six months later, same car, same color, same six speed. I've had it for two years and still love it!"

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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

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