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2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI KBB Expert Review

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KBB Expert Rating 8.3 / 10
This Car - 2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI
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Consumer Rating 8.7 / 10

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KBB Expert Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By Scott Oldham -- Contributing Editor

Fuel-efficient, fun-to-drive and well equipped, Volkswagen offers the popular 2018 VW Golf in an extensive variety of 4-door hatchbacks and wagons. Hatchback models include two high-performance hot hatchbacks, the legendary GTI and the 292-horsepower all-wheel-drive Golf R, and the all-electric e-Golf. The as well as the Golf SportWagen and all-wheel-drive Alltrack wagon versions are reviewed separately. Hatchback prices start around $21,000 with a manual transmission and a 170-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine rated at an impressive 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg out on the highway. Comfortable, sporty and stylish, the 2018 VW Golf is one of our favorites in the crowded compact class, which also includes the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Chevy Cruze, Ford Focus, Mazda3 and Hyundai Elantra.

You'll Like This Car If...

With its strong performance, impressive fuel economy, high safety ratings and class-leading fit and finish, the 2018 VW Golf offers an affordable, fun-to-drive package with European flair. The 220-horsepower GTI model is a favorite with enthusiasts all over the world.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Volkswagen does not offer the 2018 Golf as a sedan. If you’re looking for a traditional trunk, the automaker’s popular Jetta model is the same size as the Golf with similar styling. The two also share engines, transmissions, suspensions and interiors. If the Golf’s rear legroom is too tight for your needs, check out the more spacious Honda Civic.

What's New for 2018

For 2018, Golf hatchback models are offered in Golf S and a new Golf SE trim level. Both get new, larger infotainment touch screens and refreshed front and rear styling that includes LED daytime running lights. All Volkswagens are now backed by a new 6-year/72,000-mile limited warranty, which is one of the longest in the industry. The Golf GTI gets a 10-horsepower increase to 220 horsepower.

Driving It Driving Impressions

From behind the wheel the 2018 VW Golf is one of our favorite compacts, offering a desirable combination of comfort and performance. In all of its forms, the Golf is refined and quiet, but also responsive and sporty, with quick handling and powerful turbocharged engines that provide a satisfying jump off the line. The 170-horsepower Golf S and SE hatchbacks are peppy and handle better than most compacts. And the Golf’s suspension works well with the hatchback’s strong structure to smooth out rough roads. The 220-horsepower Golf GTI is an enthusiast favorite and the 292-horsepower Golf R thrills with all-wheel-drive traction and 0-60-mph acceleration in less than five seconds. Both offer a 6-speed manual transmission, but most buyers choose the excellent DSG dual-clutch automatic, which can be shifted manually via steering-wheel paddle shifters.

Favorite Features

Volkswagen is one of the few automakers to offer all-wheel drive in the compact class. VW’s excellent 4Motion all-wheel-drive system is standard equipment on the Golf R. The system increases the Golf’s traction on all road surfaces including the snowy and slushy.

Sometimes lost in the Golf’s extensive lineup is the impressive all-electric e-Golf, which offers all of the style, comfort and versatility of the Golf hatchback but with a zero-emissions powertrain. The fun-to-drive e-Golf is quick and agile with a range of 125 miles on a full charge. Powering up its depleted battery pack takes about six hours with a 240V-charging station.

For vehicle details and pricing notes… Read More
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