When launched in 2015, this generation Golf is stranger in economy class. It offers smoother driving and handling characteristics and higher quality interior materials than its competitors, along with a hatchback practicality. In many ways, the 2018 Volkswagen Golf is better than ever. This year, you’ll get more standard features, including automatic headlights, LED running lights and taillights, automatic wipers, smartphone integration and the option of a new 8.5-inch infotainment touchscreen.
Although the 2018 Volkswagen Golf retains its old charm and adds more features, many competitors in the class have evolved. The Honda Civic hatchback offers an entertaining performance, high fuel economy along with a spacious back seat and plenty of technology and safety features. Or the Mazda 3, which is fun on the road and has a more luxurious interior than the Golf.
It’ll be worth your while to scout out these rivals, or even the redesigned Hyundai Elantra GT. But, the 2018 VW Golf positive attributes greatly surpass its negatives.
Trim and Features
The 2018 Volkswagen Golf is a four-door small hatchback available in two trim levels: the base S and SE.
Standard equipment for the base S includes 15-inch alloy wheels, automatic rain-sensing wipers, LED daytime-running lights, halogen headlights, LED taillights, heated side mirrors, cruise control, cloth upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, manually adjustable seats with lumbar adjustment and power recline, a rearview camera, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, a 6.5-inch touchscreen system with USB and Bluetooth connectivity and an eight-speaker sound system.
The SE trim adds 16-inch alloy wheels, heated washer nozzles, a sunroof, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, keyless entry with push-button start, heated front seats, simulated leather upholstery, an 8-inch touchscreen with a CD player, satellite radio, VW Security and Service app. Pedestrian recognition will be added to the collision mitigation system later this year.
The 2018 Volkswagen Golf is powered by a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Power sent to the front wheels through either a standard five-speed manual or an optional six-speed automatic transmission. On automatic-equipped Golfs, engine torque increase to 199 lb-ft.
EPA estimates fuel economy at 28 mpg combined (24 city/33 highway) with the automatic. The manual rated at 29 mpg combined (25 city/34 highway). These are decent figures, though some rival does even better. In performance testing, the 2018 Volkswagen Golf with automatic transmission accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds, making it one of the quicker cars in the small sedan/hatchback class.
Inside, the 2018 Volkswagen Golf interior features an attractive plastic that is soft to the touch and the sporty and comfortable European cabin design. Switches and buttons are placed close to the driver and offer simple intuitive controls. In fact, there is not much difference between a well-equipped Golf with entry-level luxury cars like Audi A3, Mercedes-Benz CLA or Acura ILX.
The 6.5 and 8-inch touch screen entertainment system is not the best in the market, the graphics are not too sharp, but there is a lot to be liked here. It has an intuitive menu structure and large virtual button. Other positive features are standard Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink functionality. This system lets you easily integrate, display and use many apps from your smartphone.
The front seats provide enough comfort and support, even during long-distance driving, and do not sacrifice rear passenger space. The 2018 Volkswagen Golf spacious legroom and shoulder room make the small hatch feel big. There is enough space in the back to make the Golf a decent family vehicle, although adults will find the low-mounted rear seat cushions rather uncomfortable. There are 22.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, and folding the seats flat increases the space capacity to 52.7 cubic feet.
Release Date and Price
The official price for the entry-level Volkswagen Golf S starts at $21,760, while the SE starts at $24,505.