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2014 Volkswagen Golf Review

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2014 Volkswagen Golf Expert Review

By

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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If the bottom line for you includes a really low bottom line, the Golf and GTI take a back seat to the Hyundai Elantra, Ford Focus and Kia Forte. Those who prefer a comfortable cruiser may find the GTI's ride a bit too jarring.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 7.4
  • 8.8
  • 7.0
  • 7.6
  • 6.5
  • N/A
How It Ranks

#12

out of 14

Fuel Economy

#3

out of 14

Horsepower
View all rankings

Consumer Rating

9.2 out of 10
View all
consumer ratings
2014 Volkswagen Golf Low/wide front photo What's New for 2014

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 the Golf
2014 Volkswagen Golf Front angle view photo

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.

2014 Volkswagen Golf Details
2014 Volkswagen Golf Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

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
2014 Volkswagen Golf photo

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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.

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 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.

Under the Hood
2014 Volkswagen Golf Engine photo

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.

2.5-liter inline-5
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.

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2014 Volkswagen Golf Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 74 Ratings for the 2010 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.3/10
    Quality
    9.5/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    9.6/10
  • Comfort
    9.4/10
    Styling
    9.3/10

The Golf TDi is a fantastic car

By on Sunday, July 20, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great Highway MPG, torque, fun!"

Cons: "Not for Toyota Camry drivers"

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

"I have loved VW Golfs for quite a while now and I have had the privilege to own two of them, a MkIV (2002 gas) and my current MkVI (2011 TDi). The MkVI is a very comfortable and agile car that makes driving fun while sipping diesel. This car excels on the highway, returning 44-45 MPG on long trips. Tons of torque is available at low RPMs, so if you encounter a steep hill, just drop it into 3rd or 4th and it powers up the incline like it's not even there. If you are a city driver, this might not be the car for you if you're mainly looking for high MPGs. It's probably better to go with a Prius or other hybrid or even an electric Leaf since those cars excel in town, but you will have more fun with the Golf. The Golf is also one of the best looking cars on the road under $30k, classic with well defined lines and curves. No crazy bubbles, swoopes or oversized grilles. Plus, at 31k miles, I have had zero problems with this vehicle, which is to be expected. Ultimately, the Golf is a drivers car; so if you enjoy driving and think of it as more than just getting from point A to point B, you will really appreciate this car."

I loved this car!!

By on Monday, July 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 58,000

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
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great value, super fun to drive"

Cons: "Would have preferred 8 way adjustable seat."

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

"Great car. Never once stuck in the worst winter of my life even when 4WD cars couldnt make it up the hilly roads. Super comfortable and totally 100% reliable all of the time."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

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."

10 people out of 17 found this review helpful

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