2020 Volkswagen Golf review: Supremely practical, somewhat sleepy

2020 Volkswagen Golf TSI

The Golf’s styling is a little drowsy, but this car’s looks should age well.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

It can be not likely to gain any accolades for groundbreaking design, and nobody will confuse it with some souped-up sports activities vehicle, but what the Volkswagen Golf lacks in psychological attractiveness, it a lot more than tends to make up for in other regions. This machine is simple and genuine, a authentic salt-of-the-earth hatchback that’s not only versatile but unexpectedly enjoyable.


  • Slick-shifting guide transmission
  • Incredible authentic-environment performance
  • Powerful midrange torque
  • Versatile cargo keep

Never Like

  • Odd rev-hang at higher rpm
  • Motor can really feel flatfooted
  • Lacks some driver aids

The Golf has been around since the mid-seventies, which suggests VW has had many years to perfect its develop. Hatchback variations of the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla are sturdy levels of competition for this VW, but the people in Wolfsburg have completed their research. The Golf has a lot more backseat legroom and passenger volume than possibly the Mazda3 or Corolla, its exterior design is pretty much specified to age improved than the Civic’s, and it can be got appreciably a lot more torque than that Elantra GT.

Building issues easy, the 2020 Golf is available in just a single trim degree. Common devices is quite generous and consists of driver aids like blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-targeted traffic warn and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. Rain-sensing windshield wipers, keyless entry with pushbutton start and a sunroof are also incorporated at no further cost, as are a single-contact down and up electric power windows. That final item is a authentic convenience that should be common on every single vehicle these days.

However, Volkswagen does not offer adaptive cruise command, lane-centering tech or automatic significant beams. To get these goodies, and a lot more, you have to move up to the sporty GTI, which, to be truthful, is a excellent little hot hatch, but it prices 1000’s a lot more than the humble Golf. Yet another disappointment is the instrument-cluster display. A simple white-on-black affair, it looks like it was ripped from an old-school graphing calculator and is absolutely out of area in the twenty first century. Flanking that display is a quartet of analog gauges that are crisp and beautiful.

On the infotainment entrance, just a single procedure is presented, Volkswagen’s MIB II touchscreen array with a 6.5-inch shade display. This bare-bones affair is unattractive and not particularly nice to use, while it will get the position completed. Apple CarPlay and Android Car are incorporated, but infuriatingly the vehicle only has a single USB port and it can be of the style-C selection. This is wonderful if you have got the hottest and biggest mobile phone, not so fantastic if you happen to be rocking an older design and never have an adapter. Also, how are travellers intended to cost their units if there’s only a single port?

2020 Volkswagen Golf TSI

Very simple and genuine, the Golf’s inside is a no-frills zone and it can be all the improved for it.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

For improved or worse, leatherette seating surfaces are your only possibility. A extravagant title for imitation cow pores and skin, this product looks fantastic and feels Okay, but fabric may possibly have been a improved alternative. The Golf’s cabin options a wonderful blend of challenging and smooth plastics the squishy stuff is richly textured and utilized generously through the inside, although the reliable polymers are not egregiously inexpensive. I’m particularly fond of this car’s dashboard layout, which is clean and unpretentious. 

Most of the Golf’s buttons and switches are Audi-esque: substantial experience and of significant quality. Curiously, having said that, the climate-command dials are tremendous small-rent, limp and flimsy as you rotate them. Flanking the shifter on the middle console is an array of plastic block-offs, injection-molded reminders of all the options you never get.

This Vee-Dub’s entrance bucket seats are flat and wide, made for larger clientele. Scrawny people like me are unlikely to uncover them particularly comfy or supportive, but hey, at least they are heated. Rear-seat riders should have little to complain about. The Golf’s aft lodging offer lots of house for heads and legs, while the backrest by itself is a contact also upright for very long-haul ease and comfort. 

2020 Volkswagen Golf TSI

Look at all that place!

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Correct to form, the Golf has a generously sized cargo keep. With the rear seats upright, it presents 22.eight cubic feet of volume fold them flat and that determine grows to 52.seven. For further flexibility, there’s a two-degree ground at the rear. In its decreased situation, it offers you a pair further inches of height, which is ideal for hauling taller merchandise. 

In trying to keep with its single trim degree, just a single motor is presented in this vehicle, a clean and quiet-managing 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. With direct injection, it cranks out a middling 147 horsepower, a lot less than what you get in the Civic, Corolla or Elantra, and appreciably powering than the Mazda3’s 186 ponies. Somewhat than likely for a enormous horsepower determine, VW engineers tuned this motor for torque. And with 184 pound-feet available at just 1,four hundred rpm, it has a lot more twist than any of people rivals, preserve the Mazda, which has a mere two lb-ft advantage.

Supplying motorists some below-hood alternative, two transmissions are presented in the Golf. You can get a common six-speed guide, which is what my tester is equipped with, or you can invest an further $800 for the available eight-speed automatic. This Golf’s shifter isn’t rather as crisp as I remember from earlier VWs, but it can be even now an exceptional piece of engineering that moves slickly through its gates. The clutch’s weighting is just about perfect, and it has a wide engagement variety for easy use. This is a single of people cars you can just bounce in and drive without the need of contemplating about something. Shifting with buttery smoothness, possibly up or down, is easy as pie. 

2020 Volkswagen Golf TSI

In trying to keep with the rest of this vehicle, the Volkswagen Golf’s motor is no fireplace-breather, but it can be a hugely economical workhorse.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The Golf’s boosted four-cylinder provides lots of midrange torque and offers the vehicle unexpectedly rapid acceleration, but it is achievable to catch this hatchback flat-footed. You have to have at least two,000 revs on the clock for it to genuinely respond. Change a little also early and the motor can drop into a gap that’s tough for it to climb out of, a issue with other downsized, turbocharged powerplants. Yet another small annoyance is this VW’s pattern of hanging on to revs. When you stab the clutch at or close to redline to grab the subsequent gear, the motor is not going to gradual down, it lags for a second or so in advance of the revs drop, anything that can make modifying gears a little jerky. Fortunately, when driven at a a lot more leisurely tempo it isn’t going to do this. 

Geared up with a guide transmission, the Golf stickers at 28 miles for every gallon metropolis and 36 mpg highway. Mixed, it should return 31 mpg. There’s nothing incorrect with people performance scores, while in authentic-environment driving they confirm to be woefully inaccurate. At least according to the onboard computer, I have no problems demolishing that blended determine, averaging improved than 37 mpg, even following lots of vast-open-throttle romps. To be truthful, that determine does not consist of any authentic stop-and-go commuting, but even now, you should have no problems having astonishing gasoline financial system in this VW. 

The car’s 205/55R16 Bridgestone Ecopia tires without doubt assistance provide that wonderful performance rating. But although wonderful for slicing consumption, I do not treatment for them. They really feel challenging, a little bit greasy and seem to deficiency grip when cornering. At least the tires are pretty quiet. Even when ripping down the highway they never generate significantly sound.

2020 Volkswagen Golf TSI

There’s little to grouse about with this hatchback.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Talking of corner-carving, the Golf’s leatherette-wrapped tiller feels wonderful in my hands, being equally well sculpted and reliable. Snake this VW through turns and it feels forgiving, while there is a contact a lot more physique roll than I would like. Improving maneuverability, the steering is tremendous light-weight at small speeds, which tends to make this vehicle a snap to park, while it bulks up properly when driving faster for appropriate straight-line security.

While it isn’t going to appear with every single single present day convenience, the 2020 Volkswagen Golf is even now a ton of vehicle for the income. Which include $920 in location fees, my tester rolled off the assembly line in Puebla, Mexico putting on a sticker price tag of $24,a hundred and fifteen, which tends to make it a relative bargain in modern environment exactly where you can push a Mazda3 hatchback into the mid-$30,000 variety.

No, I never enjoy every little thing about this VW — the entrance seats could be improved, and I desire it presented adaptive cruise command — but it can be even now a refined machine that’s equally versatile and impressively economical. It is not going to established the environment on fireplace, but the Golf is in the long run a enjoyable machine.

Maria J. Danford

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