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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

#23

out of 24

Fuel Economy

#9

out of 25

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 93 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

I love it so far!

By on Friday, August 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,500

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
10/10

Pros: "Great mileage, comfortable, fun to drive"

Cons: "break in period education"

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

"I think the new TDI's rock! I have had mine for almost 4 months, wanted to wait until I had driven it enough to write a review. I absolutely LOVE it. I get awesome mileage, I fill up 1/2 as much as my previous car. I have owned my fair share of different makes of vehicles, and this by FAR is the best I have ever owned.... I traded in a Cruze that I honestly really didn't care for one bit. This car makes me excited to drive! I have the Manual, I can't complain about power because it def. has enough... just a bit slow off the bat. But, not a deal breaker by any means. It's got some torque, the first time someone rides in it with me, that is one of the first things that they mention. It is comfortable to drive, handles great. I haven't driven it in the snow yet, but I can't see it being a problem. For the money I spent I think that it is a great value. The only advice I can give is, be sure to do the 10,000 mile maintenance as advised. Don't use the cruse control until the break in period is over, and be sure you educate yourself on the break in process to ensure your TDI will last you a lifetime. I love it. love it love it."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

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."

53 people out of 83 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."

14 people out of 18 found this review helpful

My car & the Battleship North Carolina

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