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2013 Volkswagen GTI

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2013 Volkswagen GTI 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 GTI
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 GTI 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 GTI Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 19 Ratings for the 2013 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.8/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    8.6/10
    Performance
    9.1/10
  • Comfort
    8.6/10
    Styling
    9.4/10

This car is fun to drive.

By on Tuesday, May 10, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,100

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
8/10

Pros: "Fun fast car"

Cons: "Uses premium fuel"

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

"Got this car for my son and had to take it away. If you like to drive fast this is the car for you. Too much fun!!"

Sporty fun to drive, VW GTI Autobahn

By on Thursday, February 25, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

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: "Reliable, fun to drive, great gas mileage"

Cons: "premium gas recommended"

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

"VW GTI sporty Autobahn hatchback 4/Dr/4 cyl/2 liter/turbo. Automatic 6 speed/FWD/ABS /traction control/keyless entry/keyless start/AC/Power windows and doors/tilt & telescoping wheel/premium sound/navigation system/bluetooth wireless/alloy wheels/power moon roof. Excellent condition with 30,000 miles. Dark grey exterior with sport details and black interior. Transferrable warranty."

1 person out of 6 found this review helpful

So much fun to own and drive!

By on Monday, September 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "DSG Transmission, classic looks, great bargain!"

Cons: "Interior is tight from left to right, week stereo."

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

"I bought this car new almost 2 years ago. I have the 2014 Driver's Edition GTI. I needed a small car that got great gas mileage as my commute increased significantly. I have enjoyed driving this car and get 30+ mpg on the highway. It's been easy to own, just wash it, change the oil every 5k and gas it. It's been very reliable, much better than my daughter's Mini Cooper. It handles great and I love driving it aggressively every now and then, it's a ton of fun!"

10 people out of 18 found this review helpful

Can't find a better option for the money

By on Friday, May 1, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"One of the best cars I have owned. FUN, Comfortable, economical, powerful, and very well appointed interior. It is much roomier than it looks, and people are always surprised by it. You cannot find another car in the 20k range that provides as much value as this car."

12 people out of 21 found this review helpful

Legendary

By on Friday, March 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Refined Agression."

Cons: "Not as sharp as some of its competitors."

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

"When the Golf GTI came out in the late 1970s it was a game changer. It was the first of its kind, a new breed. They called it a Hot Hatch. Its agile short chassis could out handle some of the best sports cars of the time, not to mention out accelerate. It was well made, fuel efficient, beautifully made, and most of all a pleasure to drive. Through the years though Volkswagen lost sight of what made the GTI great. They forgot that it was a drivers car. In 2005 VW had a change of heart with the new Mk5 GTI. It was a rebirth for the brand. And they did it. It received car of the year from many coveted sources including Top Gear (Uk). It really doesn't get much better than that. Short after that they gave the car a new body and upgraded nearly everything to create the Mk6. Now that the history lesson is over, lets get down to business. The Mk6 spanned from 2010-14 in the US. It features one of THE best 4-cylinder engines very made. Its a brilliant 2.0 200bhp little rascal. Amazingly this car with a weight of 3,300 lbs can accelerate to 60 in 6.3 seconds with a DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox Auto). Being able to do that with a mere 200bhp is an amazing feat. The interior is one you would find in a car that is much more expensive. In truth i've yet to be in any car under $50,000 that has materials that are as well made as this GTI. Everything is thought out so well that it just makes sense. You never fumble around looking for switches or knobs, they are just where you expect them to be. There are some negatives however. Its brakes are subpar for this performance car. They have almost zero feedback and feel very mushy. It stops well, don't get me wrong, but you don't have the confidence to brake late that you would in say a Mini Cooper S, or Ford Focus ST. Its stopping distance is also longer than its main competitors. Handling is also softer and less responsive than the Focus ST. This has been done on purpose because Volkswagen sells the GTI to a wide range of people from young boy racers to your more mature buyer who wants a pleasant ride. GTI's emergence changed the world of cars when it erupted out of Wolfsburg in the 70s. It inspired countless spin offs and forced the rest of the automakers to really turn of perforce and quality while keeping costs down. This new model is a worthy successor to the namesake. It may not be the fastest or most hardcore of its rifles but that is why its perfect. Its refined luxury with the heart and soul of a supercar. You would be hard-pressed to find a more complete and perfect car as this, at any price range."

13 people out of 21 found this review helpful

Actually, a 2013 R - Uber Wagen

By on Sunday, March 1, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "A Golf on steroids."

Cons: "Unable to turn off the AWD"

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

"Traded my 2009 GTI w/80k miles for the 2013 R. Loved the GTI but wanted the increased hp and the awd that the R offered. Understated power-machine (proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing). Raced against my '07 Cayman S a couple of times and the R gave the Porsche a run for the money. Potent, well-balanced engine, wunderbar 6-speed and very precise steering. A street-legal go-kart. Simply a superior product."

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

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