New 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback
Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback
The 2019 Volkswagen Golf is fun, efficient, practical and more sophisticated than its price suggests. Sporty GTI and R models boost the fun.
2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI Pricing
For Sale Near 20146
2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI KBB Expert Review
The 2019 Volkswagen Golf is fun, efficient, practical and more sophisticated than its price suggests. Starting in the low-$20,000 range, it is slightly pricier than rivals like the Honda Civic hatch but still among the least expensive ways to get into a German-engineered car. The Golf lineup is broad, spanning from the standard 4-door Golf hatchback to the sporty GTI and the performance-oriented Golf R. There’s even the all-electric e-Golf, but its range pales compared to rivals. The Golf family also extends to the larger SportWagen and adventurous Alltrack, reviewed separately. For 2019, the VW Golf hatchback gets a less powerful but more efficient new engine, plus new safety features. The updates help keep the Golf an athletic, premium-feeling alternative to mainstream rivals.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you want a practical, handsome hatchback with the athletic driving manners for which European cars are known, all at a digestible price, the 2019 VW Golf was made for you. Driving enthusiasts will love the excellent handling of the GTI, while the Golf R packs even more power and all-wheel drive.
You May Not Like This Car If...
The Golf isn’t offered as a sedan or coupe. If you’re looking for a more traditional body style with a trunk, check out this VW’s sibling, the Jetta sedan, or a rival like the Honda Civic, Mazda3, Kia Forte or Hyundai Elantra. If all-wheel drive is a priority, check out the Subaru Impreza or the larger Golf SportWagen.
What's New for 2019
The 2019 Golf swaps its prior 170-horsepower, 1.8-liter turbo engine for the smaller, 147-horsepower 1.4-liter turbo also used in the new 2019 Jetta. Impressively, the Golf gains safety features like blind-spot monitoring and automatic emergency braking. The GTI gets an 8-horsepower boost and offers a heritage-inspired Rabbit edition. Also, the GTI’s optional DSG automatic transmission is upgraded to a 7-speed.
With the swap to a new but smaller turbocharged 1.4-liter engine, the Golf loses some of its potency, but we expect efficiency gains. This is the same engine that powers the all-new Jetta sedan, and we enjoyed its outsized verve and high fuel economy in that VW. Also with the transplant are the Jetta’s new transmissions, either a 6-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic. Again, we are thoroughly impressed with these units. While manuals are going out of favor, this one is another reason to save them. It is light, easy to use and adds the kind of driver involvement that keeps you tuned to driving, not texting. The 8-speed automatic that most buyers will choose also stands out. It works seamlessly and is a welcome alternative amid a sea of competitors’ continuously variable automatic (CVT) transmissions. The Golf GTI, meanwhile, remains one of our favorite cars to drive. Few vehicles combine practicality and performance as good as this one. In addition to its extra horsepower over the standard Golf, it boasts phenomenal brakes that are from the Golf R and a taut suspension; the Golf R-derived VAQ limited-slip differential improves cornering performance. Kudos also go to the GTI’s manual transmission (an automatic is optional) that will make you remember why you love to find a road and just drive. For the real enthusiast, the Golf R is a true performer, and packs the goods to take on rivals like the Subaru WRX. The Golf R is an all-wheel-drive wonder with terrific all-around performance. With the same body as a standard Golf, it’s also something of a sleeper.
STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES
The VW Golf gains active-safety features for 2019 that include blind-spot monitoring, something you’ll appreciate every time you switch lanes. Another feature, automatic emergency braking, enables the Golf to stop itself if a collision appears imminent and the driver doesn’t act.
VW has taken a big step to bolster confidence in its cars, introducing what it calls “The People’s Warranty.” This bumper-to-bumper warranty lasts six years or 72,000 miles, and is also transferable should you sell the vehicle before the limits are up.
Hatchbacks traditionally haven’t been the most popular body style in America, but savvy buyers who understand them love them. That’s because they do a lot with a little, and the Golf is among the best examples. While small on the outside, its boasts a surprising amount of room within its 5-passenger interior. The front bucket seats are comfortable, though some of our editors would appreciate more lumbar support for the driver’s seat. Controls up front are simple but easy to see and use. You won’t have to fuss to change the fan speed or temperature, for instance. Just turn a dial. A standard touch screen -- 6.5-inch for base models or eight inches for higher trims and the Golf R -- connects easily with smartphones and displays all the info you need to know. With 35.6 inches of legroom, even the rear seat is impressive for its size. The real magic happens when you fold the rear seats. That expands the rear cargo space from 22.8 cubic feet with the rear seat up to an SUV-like 52.7 cubic feet of space.
The Golf has been made for decades, and even now in its latest form remains one of the most recognizable and popular cars in the world. It isn’t flashy, but we think it’s attractive now and will remain so well into the future. Although its shape continues to offer a connection to the original Golf, which became an icon over 40 years ago, the new VW Golf is tailored with crisp character lines, a steep hood and a narrow horizontal grille flanked by sharp headlight clusters. The car sits low to the ground and has a wide track, giving it a more muscular, purposeful appearance, and its distinctive C-pillar treatment visually pushes the hatchback down into the road. In addition to the signature red stripe up front, GTI models stand out with twin tailpipes, while the Golf R has quad outlets for the most aggressive look.
Notable Standard Equipment
The standard 2019 VW Golf comes in two trims: base S, or higher-grade SE. In its least expensive form, the Golf hatchback comes with 8-way-adjustable seats with power recline, cruise control, 15-inch alloy wheels, cloth seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift lever. Also standard are the active-safety features that include blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and the forward-collision warning with pedestrian alert and autonomous emergency braking. The Golf’s standard infotainment system bundles a 6.5-inch touch screen, rearview camera, 6-speaker AM/FM radio with USB input, and standard Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink phone compatibility. For $2,300 more we think the Golf SE is still a good value and adds desirable features like a panoramic sunroof, fog lights, Leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, keyless entry with push-button start, a larger 8-inch infotainment screen, CD player, the ability to play higher-res FLAC audio files, and 16-inch wheels.
Notable Optional Equipment
An automatic transmission is optional across the board for Golf models (exception being the all-electric e-Golf). The Golf can be further enhanced with the lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control. The 2019 VW GTI model can be upgraded to have a premium feel like its Audi cousins with the 4-mode adaptive-damping system, genuine leather seating, 12-way-power seats, navigation, Fender premium audio system, dual-zone climate control, and parking sensors. The 2019 Golf R comes loaded, but this year there are 40 exclusive new “Spektrum” exterior colors available. VW’s slick digital cockpit can be had on the SEL Premium version of the VW e-Golf.
Under the Hood
The 2019 VW Golf has swapped its former 1.8-liter turbocharged engine for the newer 1.4-liter turbo also found in the new Jetta. With 147 horsepower, it’s down 23 horsepower but is expected to further increase fuel economy. Also new are the transmissions. A 6-speed manual is standard, but most buyers will opt for the new 8-speed automatic. We’ve found both well-suited to this engine. The GTI continues to use a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, but gets another increase in power. For 2019, the GTI gains eight horsepower for a total of 228 and keeps its stout 258 lb-ft of torque. Its transmission choices are a 6-speed manual or new 7-speed DSG automatic. Both the Golf and GTI are front-wheel drive. The Golf R is the highest-performance model and comes with all-wheel drive standard and a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that makes 288 horsepower. Like the GTI, it offers a 6-speed manual or 7-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. The battery-powered e-Golf uses an electric motor to power the front wheels. It can recharge in about six hours on a 240-volt outlet and is compatible with DC fast-charging stations. Its range is estimated at 125 miles, which is on the low end of the latest crop of electric cars. The Chevrolet Bolt, for comparison, is rated up to 238 miles, while the new Hyundai Kona EV has been certified for 258 miles on a charge.
1.4-liter turbocharged inline-4 (Golf TSI)
147 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm
184 lb-ft of torque @ 1,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (GTI)
228 horsepower @ 4,700 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (Golf R)
288 horsepower @ 5,400 rpm
280 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
AC synchronous electric motor (e-Golf)
115 horsepower @ 3,000 rpm
199 lb-ft of torque @ 0-3,000 rpm
EPA-estimated range per full charge: 125 miles
EPA city/highway fuel economy equivalent: 126 mpg/111 MPGe
The 2019 Volkswagen Golf has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $22,740, including destination charges, for a base S trim with manual transmission. An automatic-transmission model begins at $23,840. A loaded Golf SE can top $27,000. At these prices, the Golf is slightly higher than hatchback versions of the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Subaru Impreza, Mazda3, Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Focus. The 2019 VW GTI starts at $28,490 and can reach around $38,000 for a top-line Autobahn GTI model. That pricing is above a Subaru WRX and Honda Civic Si sedan but below a Civic Type R hatch. At the highest end of the Golf spectrum is the R model, which begins at $41,290 for a manual-transmission model or $42,390 for an automatic. That pricing is higher than a Subaru WRX STI. We are still awaiting word on definitive pricing for the limited-availability e-Golf, but we expect it to remain in the low-$30,000 range before incentives. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new car. With the exception of the Golf R, the VW Golf’s resale value trails that of competitors like the Honda Civic and Subaru Impreza.
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Volkswagen Golf GTI Consumer Reviews
February 09, 2019
This is my best GTI to date.
My 2017 GTI is the best VW to date. I have had many but this car is almost bullet proof. The gas mileage is amazing . I get up 40 mpg on...
January 16, 2019
Best Volkswagen for your money!
Great Car! Had no choice but to buy this car because my previous car finally crapped out on me and the GTI was the only thing at Audi...
August 20, 2018
Best Volkswagen I have Owned
Like the title says this is the best Volkswagen I have owned and I stand behind that. This car is quick, quiet, smooth, and gets good...
May 03, 2018
Performance for a small price...
I am a mature adult but I have spent my life around performance and sports cars. A few years ago after owning a very capable 4 x 4...
December 05, 2017
the best daily driver if an enthusiast
21 year old college student. I had my 2017 gti s manual for almost a year now with 8,000 miles and I still find excuses just to drive...
July 18, 2017
Brand New Austin Wheels and Michelin S tires. Perf
Performance Package, Bixenon Light Package. Fender sound system, Extra set of Austin Wheels. Auto Bra. Never raced or on the track.
May 09, 2017
Love how many features are offered on the base
Great peppy german car that is reasonably priced yet still has that luxurious feel.
April 17, 2017
Rides like a Dream
I am a GTI Veteran going back 20 years and this car is best by far of all of them. The quality is the best of all the competition you...
January 07, 2017
Review of my GTI S manual trans
I have owned the car for 2 years and over 10k miles. Purchased new. Got the base model, S trim, manual transmission. I have owned...
September 30, 2016
Really nice fast car
I have this car for almost a years and half, good locking car from outside and inside , fast.