With a lot of power, all-wheel-drive stability and sporty handling, the 2018 Volkswagen Golf R is a great car that will increase your pulse. It’s a member of the hot-hatch, since VW invented the hot hatch with the original 1983 GTI. This latest version has 292 hp and better handling and braking capability compared to the 2018 GTI. And of course, it also offers a comfortable interior and hatchback versatility nature.
For 2018, the Golf R doesn’t bring much change but gets some important tweaks. There is new LED headlights, daytime running lights and taillights. The new headlights are adaptive, meaning they spin in the direction of turns. There’s also new 19-inch wheel design, a customizable gauge cluster display, an 8-inch touchscreen display, pedestrian detection, and VW new six-year or 72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty.
The most important is the new seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission that replaces last year’s six-speed automatic. A reward for performance enthusiasts who love manual transmissions but face the reality of daily commutes, this new automatic transmission also offers slightly better fuel economy than the manual.
The only real knock on the 2018 Volkswagen Golf R is its high price tag. It’s more expensive and powerful over the GTI, which is not quite capable but still a blast to drive. You are also in a V8-powered muscle-car area. However, the 2018 Volkswagen Golf R is the first choice for any performance enthusiast that wants great performance, excellent utility, and a plenty set of features.
Trim levels and features
Standard equipment for the Golf R includes keyless entry, an adaptive suspension, performance tires, 19-inch wheels, adaptive LED headlights, a rear spoiler, heated mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button ignition, leather upholstery, heated front seats and a power-adjustable driver seat.
Tech features include a rearview camera, a digital gauge cluster, a navigation system, an 8-inch touchscreen, VW Car-Net communications, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker Fender audio system with satellite radio and CD player.
Advanced safety and driver aids include adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, a lane departure warning system, front and rear parking sensors, pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning and mitigation.
Powering the 2018 Volkswagen Golf R comes from a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that generates 292 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. A traditional six-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive are standard. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (called DSG) with paddle shifters is available as an option.
In performance testing, the 2018 Volkswagen Golf R accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds with DSG, a very quick time for a hatchback in this price range. The manual transmission did it in 4.8 seconds, that still quicker than most competitor.
EPA fuel economy estimated at 24 mpg combined (21 city/29 highway) with the manual and 25 mpg combined (22 city/29 highway) with DSG.
Inside, the 2018 Volkswagen Golf R interior is very similar to the one in the GTI. It’s highlighted by a conservative design that uses high-quality materials and easy-to-use controls. The Golf R adds unique touches such as embossed “R” logos on the seats, blue gauge needles, and carbon-fiber-look door inlays and dashboard. Some buyers may find this change too subtle given the huge price difference between the GTI and Golf R.
In terms of comfort, the 2018 Volkswagen Golf R mark a high score. The standard sports seats offer lateral support during aggressive driving, but they are also comfortable for long trips. There’s plenty of space in the front, even for larger drivers and passengers. Compared to other compact hatchbacks, the VW R Golf rear seat is also quite roomy, providing enough headroom and legroom for adults. However, the rear seat cushions are mounted a bit low and make them more suitable for smaller passengers.
Behind the rear seats, there are 22.8 cubic feet of cargo space available, which is more than enough for day-to-day duties. Folding the rear seatback flat and you have up to 52.7 cubic feet, making the Golf R a leader in the class.
Release date and price
The 2018 Volkswagen Golf R is on sale and arriving now at dealers nationwide. Key competitors include the MINI Hardtop, Ford Focus RS and Honda Civic Hatchback.
The 2018 Volkswagen Golf R starts at about $39,785 for the manual transmission and $40,885 seven-speed automatic transmission (DSG). The Golf R also comes with a new Volkswagen People First Warranty, which offering customers a six-year or 72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper New Vehicle Limited Warranty.