By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.4
2014 marks the final year for this long-running version of the Golf/GTI; an all-new model is slated to arrive late next year. However, even at the end of its model run, the 2014 VW Golf and GTI remain impressive vehicles. Available only as a 4-door hatchback, the Golf is no longer as body-style diverse as the Hyundai Elantra. However, the Koreans still haven't been able to match the interior materials and feel of the German compacts, especially in the area of seat comfort. Enthusiasts will love the refined power found in the GTI, while those more concerned with a smooth ride and good fuel economy can opt for the diesel-powered Golf TDI.
If you love to drive, but you can't afford the price or cramped environment afforded by most performance cars, check out the 2014 VW Golf and GTI. The GTI is quick, spry and a blast to drive, while the Golf TDI delivers hybrid-level fuel economy without sacrificing performance.
Changes to the 2014 Volkswagen Golf and GTI are limited to two special-edition GTI trims: Wolfsburg and Driver's Edition. The 2-door Golf/GTI body is dropped taking with it the option of a manual transmission on the base 2.5. The Golf R is also no more.
Driving Impressions As the 2014 Volkswagen Golf shares the same basic platform and suspension components as the sportier GTI, the little compact enjoys a level of handling and stability not found in...most entry-level compacts. With direct steering, a smooth but firm ride and a cabin isolated from road and wind noise, the Golf feels much more upscale than its $20,000 starting price might suggest. The 2.5-liter base engine won't blow your socks off with its performance, but it gets the job done. The real star of the Golf line is the 2.0-liter TDI turbodiesel that brings impressive fuel economy as well as ample low-end torque, making it nearly as quick as the GTI. Of course, the GTI is about more than power. Its stiff suspension loves to attack curves, and its snug sport seats are about the best we've tested, better in fact than many sport seats in cars costing twice as much.
TDI DIESEL ENGINE
Hybrid powertrains are not the only option for those seeking 40-plus mpg. The 2014 VW Golf TDI is equally efficient, delivers impressive power and can be had with a manual transmission. The clean diesel engine also puts out about 30-percent less greenhouse emissions than a traditional gasoline engine.
GTI SPORT SEAT
If you love to be hugged snuggly in the turns, there are no better seats for the job than those found in the GTI. Opt for the upgraded leather and you'll get power 4-way lumbar support.
Volkswagen describes the 2014 Golf interior as one that continues to "set the quality benchmark in its class." And we wouldn't disagree, as the Golf employs a mixture of design and execution rarely found at window stickers fully twice that of the Golf. Throughout the 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 takes the interior one step further, with an ergonomic steering wheel, aggressive sport seats and more comprehensive instrumentation.Exterior
Visually the 2014 VW Golf and GTI don't veer far from the boxy formula that has been their trademark since being introduced 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 2014 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.
Standard equipment on the 2014 VW Golf includes an automatic transmission, tilt-and-telescopic steering column, power windows with automatic up/down, air conditioning, split-folding rear seat with armrest and pass-through, cruise control, 8-speaker radio with single CD, and heated outside mirrors. 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 receives unique fascias and badging, along with a stance – via more aggressive rubber – that conveys both higher ambition and capabilities.
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 excellent navigation radio and the 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.
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.
170 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
177 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/30 mpg
2.0-liter turbocharged diesel inline-4
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
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), 24/32 mpg (automatic)
The 2014 Volkswagen Golf 2.5L 4-door enjoys a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $21,000, while the Golf TDI starts significantly higher at around $26,000. The GTI is priced between roughly $26,000 and $34,000, depending on the number of factory options. For an indicator of prices being paid in your market area, be sure to consult Kelley Blue Book's Fair Purchase Price. Resale of the Golf has historically fallen slightly short of Japanese competitors while proving better than those offerings from Korea. The TDI, however, has proven to be the gold standard in the compact category, especially when fuel prices are volatile.
By markez on Saturday, May 31, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
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."
9 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By Bananas on Wednesday, May 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 118,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
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
By gadusi on Wednesday, May 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,300overall rating 9 of 10rating details
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
By Rich on Friday, May 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
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."
9 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By radon on Thursday, May 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 97,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
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
By Saturnman on Wednesday, April 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
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!"