From £15,8277
With its Golf R looks and sweet 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol, the Golf R-Line is a fine family hatch. But is it really worth more than £25k?

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Golf

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30 October 2015

What is it?

It’s essentially a Golf GT with a £995 styling package to look more like a Golf R. Golf aficionados will instantly spot the 17in wheels, instead of the R’s more purposeful 18in rims, body coloured rather than chrome door mirrors, and of course, just two, not four exhaust tailpipes at the rear.

So, what do you get? To start with, more aggressive front and rear bumpers, plus extended side sills, a boot spoiler and naturally, a rear diffuser - well that's de rigueur these days.

Inside you get a set of very smart sports seats trimmed in contrasting cloth with Alcantara inserts. There’s also an R-line multifunction steering wheel and neon-like illuminated strips in the door cards to make your mates go ‘wow’ after dark.

What's it like?

The R-Line comes with a choice of two engines: either a 2.0 TDI 150 diesel or this sweet 1.4 TSI 150 petrol. It might lack the low-down torque of the oil burner, but it’s gutsy enough for day-to-day pootling and encourages you to use the slick six-speed manual gearbox more often, and that’s no drag.

Actually, the fact you have to work it a little harder combined with its free-revving disposition quite suits the car’s sporty pretentions. It’s only a shame that the tone doesn’t; it’s very smooth-sounding but wholly unexciting. Surprisingly, for a petrol at least, what you do get is a fair amount of buzz through the steering wheel and pedals the minute the rev-needle hits 3000rpm.

This is a ‘clever’ engine, because it uses Active Cylinder Technology to make it cleaner and more economical. On part-throttle between 1000-4000rpm, and at speeds of up to 80mph, it shuts down the middle-two cylinders by switching off their injectors and using actuators to shift the camshaft lobes away from the valves so they remain closed. VW reckons it saves up to 10% in fuel, and reduces CO2 emissions by around 9g/km.

You would never know it’s going on, though. The switch from two- to four-pot power is totally seamless, the only tell-tale being an indicator on the multifunction display between the instruments.

All R-Line’s come with a Driver Profile selector that allows you to alter the engine’s throttle response and steering weight between Comfort, Normal and Sport modes. Because our test car had the optional Dynamic Chassis Control, this changes the suspension’s stiffness, as well.

In Comfort the steering is light and the suspension takes the edge off general bumps. However, because the R-Line gets sports suspension - which is stiffer and lowered by 10mm – there’s still a residual firmness to it which means you feel the odd thud over deeper ruts.

Switch to Sport and the setup is noticeably stiffer. The immediate decrease in body roll means the Golf settles quicker in bends, and the steering weights up to give more feedback at speed - albeit with no more feel.

As with all sporty Golfs, it makes for very tidy handling car that’s easy to drive on its door handles. However, if you’re the kind of person that needs something more edgy, then a tail-happy Focus ST is around the same money and is a lot quicker, too.

Mind you, a Focus can’t live with the Golf when it comes to interior look and feel. To some the Golf might be rather stayed, but the gloss-black fascia, aluminium pedals and fancy seat trim of the R-Line do make it swish in a retrained kind of way. Of course, the important surfaces are all made of soft-touch materials and every switch and knob operates like it’s from a premium exec.

This five-door version is very practical as well. The spacious cabin is big enough to fit four six-foot adults without too much of an issue, and the boot is big enough to deal with their luggage needs, too.

You also get an infotainment system with a DAB radio, Bluetooth and sat-nav, which includes a three-year subscription to VW’s Car-Net service. This offers online features such as traffic and weather reports, tells you the availability of parking spaces and where to find the cheapest petrol in the area. Adaptive cruise control with emergency city braking city braking, plus front and rear parking sensors are standard too.

Should I buy one?

The Golf R-Line is a funny car becasue it creates a dichotomy.

On one side there’s the Focus ST that I mentioned earlier, which is a proper hot-hatch, more fun to drive and cheaper. Or, if you’re excited by the Golf’s quality, then can I tempt you with an Audi A3 Sportback instead?  You can have an S Line Navigation with the same 1.4-litre engine, but for £80 less.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy the Golf R-Line, because it's a damn fine car. But do think very carefully about your options before you do.

Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI 150 R-Line

Price £24,845; Engine 4 cyls, 1395cc, turbocharged, petrol; Power 148bhp at 5000-6000rpm; Torque 184b ft at 1500-3500rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual; Kerb weight 1270kg; Top speed 134mph; 0-62mph 8.2sec; Economy 58.9mpg (combined); CO2 rating & BIK tax band 112g/km, 17%

 

 

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Comments
19

30 October 2015
Pointless car. I've seen a grand total of 1 out in the wild.

30 October 2015
That's a lot a money for that car. However VW know it will sell because consumers will only really care for the badge on the front. Hope that they can live with the rattles though.

A quick browse on one of the forums revels a number of posters complaining of numerous rattles - something my Focus doesn't do even after 46k miles....

30 October 2015
No rattles whatsoever on my 18 month old Mk7....doesn't affect every single one they make, clearly. Funny that.

30 October 2015
AddyT wrote:

No rattles whatsoever on my 18 month old Mk7....doesn't affect every single one they make, clearly. Funny that.

Funnily enough I also remember another car mag mentioning on of their long term Golf's rattled to. Made me chuckle...

31 October 2015
Jimbbobw1977 wrote:
AddyT wrote:

No rattles whatsoever on my 18 month old Mk7....doesn't affect every single one they make, clearly. Funny that.

Funnily enough I also remember another car mag mentioning on of their long term Golf's rattled to. Made me chuckle...

No rattles at all on my 5 year old Golf MK6. After the 3rd year, it even stopped going wrong. I'm even considering downgrading my RAC membership!

31 October 2015
winniethewoo wrote:
Jimbbobw1977 wrote:
AddyT wrote:

No rattles whatsoever on my 18 month old Mk7....doesn't affect every single one they make, clearly. Funny that.

Funnily enough I also remember another car mag mentioning on of their long term Golf's rattled to. Made me chuckle...

No rattles at all on my 5 year old Golf MK6. After the 3rd year, it even stopped going wrong. I'm even considering downgrading my RAC membership!

Actually something in the suspension has started creaking a bit on really big bumps (sub frame mountings?) but given the age of the car its forgivable.

31 October 2015
winniethewoo wrote:
winniethewoo wrote:
Jimbbobw1977 wrote:
AddyT wrote:

No rattles whatsoever on my 18 month old Mk7....doesn't affect every single one they make, clearly. Funny that.

Funnily enough I also remember another car mag mentioning on of their long term Golf's rattled to. Made me chuckle...

No rattles at all on my 5 year old Golf MK6. After the 3rd year, it even stopped going wrong. I'm even considering downgrading my RAC membership!

Actually something in the suspension has started creaking a bit on really big bumps (sub frame mountings?) but given the age of the car its forgivable.

Is it? 5 years is not exactly old in the modern era, perhaps people have started to believe cars only have a limited lifespan , like the latest iPhone, and need to be exchanged every couple of years.

4 November 2015
Jimbbobw1977 wrote:
AddyT wrote:

No rattles whatsoever on my 18 month old Mk7....doesn't affect every single one they make, clearly. Funny that.

Funnily enough I also remember another car mag mentioning on of their long term Golf's rattled to. Made me chuckle...

Just seen your comments and it's clear you prefer your Focus. That's fine...just because you hate the VW badge doesn't mean anyone else who buys one is wrong do they. The Focus is a good car but it doesn't beat a Golf in every area and therefore my choice of car or your choice of car isn't the right one - it's down to an individuals choice and what is right for them.

31 October 2015
I bet its some bushing on its way out. Not sure what anyone can do about bits of polyurethane. They are wear and tear items. Bit unreasonable to expect them to last much longer. My old Honda needed a new set around the same time.

31 October 2015
To be honest I am getting sick of reviewers branding cars bigger than a Ford Fiesta as "family cars". To me the only class of car the could be specifically designated "family car" is an MPV. I find it really annoying, just call it a small hatch.

Boulle

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