2013 Volkswagen Golf R Review

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List Price:$27,995
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Volkswagen Golf R model years
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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Strong turbocharged engine
  • standard all-wheel drive
  • sharp handling and composed ride
  • hatchback versatility
  • two- or four-door configurations
  • interior sophistication.
  • Considerably more expensive than the GTI
  • lack of interior storage space
  • manual gearbox only
  • no power seats.

The 2013 Volkswagen Golf R is a remarkably well-rounded performance car. Unfortunately, its price can be hard to justify.

Vehicle overview

There appears to be an elephant in the room, so let's clear Dumbo out of here before going any further. The 2013 Volkswagen Golf R starts at around $34,000 when new. It is without question an extraordinary amount of money to pay for a VW Golf. Yet, if you can see around the understandable preconceived notions about paying this much money for a VW compact hatchback, the Golf R is a remarkably desirable car.

Now entering its second year, the Golf R continues to provide strong performance, sharp handling, all-weather traction, long-distance comfort, an impeccably finished interior, generous passenger space and, since it's a hatchback, ample practicality. It may seem shocking that a VW Golf is priced like an entry-level luxury sport sedan, but to be honest, it certainly looks, feels and drives like one when seated behind its chunky steering wheel.

Indeed, such sport sedans are a good point of comparison for the Golf R. It is not a Mitsubishi Evo or Subaru STI, which take a simple compact sedan and add a wide variety of near-racing hardware to produce a max-attack driving machine. The R definitely turns up the volume from the VW GTI with its more powerful turbocharged four-cylinder, all-wheel-drive system and sharper suspension tuning, but it's not a track-day weapon. Instead, like a sport sedan, it's comfortable on a road trip, easy to drive on a commute and fun enough when you want to shed the tie (and the kids) for a weekend romp down your favorite road.

When you compare the 2013 VW Golf R to an Audi A4 2.0T Quattro you'll discover that the two cars are almost equally priced. However, though the Audi includes power seats, the VW gets even more stuff that is optional on its corporate cousin, such as Bluetooth and active bi-xenon headlights. It also boasts more power, fun and practicality. These comparisons hold true when stacked up to a BMW 328i or Mercedes C250 as well.

We're not delusional, though. It seems unlikely that a Volkswagen Golf -- no matter how good it is -- will be winning over many potential buyers of those fine sedans. Hard-core driving enthusiasts may also scoff at the R's emphasis on comfort. Inevitably, though, the ultimate argument against the Golf R is VW's own GTI. It may not provide the same degree of fun and capability, but it, too, is remarkably well-rounded and about $8,000 cheaper. Either way, you're getting an excellent car.

2013 Volkswagen Golf R models

The 2013 Volkswagen Golf R is available in two- and four-door hatchback body styles. There is a single trim.

Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, heated washer nozzles, heated mirrors, LED running lights, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear seat air vents, heated eight-way manual front seats, leather upholstery, a height-adjustable front armrest, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and an eight-speaker sound system with a touchscreen interface, a CD player, HD radio, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod interface.

The Sunroof and Navigation package adds, besides the obvious, keyless ignition/entry and a Dynaudio premium sound system.

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2013 Highlights

There are no changes for the 2013 VW Golf R.

Performance & mpg

The 2013 Golf R comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 256 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission are standard. There is no automatic option.

In Edmunds performance testing, the Golf R went from zero to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds. It's a quick time, but hardly outstanding for this class of car. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 19 mpg city/27 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined.


Standard safety equipment for the all-wheel-drive 2013 Volkswagen Golf R includes antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the related GTI earned a top rating of "Good" in frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests.

In Edmunds brake testing, the Golf R stopped from 60 mph in 124 feet, which is average for a car with all-season tires.


The 2013 Volkswagen Golf R takes the successful recipe of the GTI and improves it considerably with more power and sharper handling. The turbocharged inline-4 has plenty of torque, making it easy to burble about on congested city streets. But you don't really get the full whack of turbocharged thrust until about 2,800 rpm, meaning you have to keep the engine on boil if you want immediate acceleration. The transmission shifter's light-effort action is very similar to the GTI's, but the throws are shorter. Not only is it excellent for spirited driving, it's remarkably easy to use around town.

Thanks to all-wheel drive, the 2013 Volkswagen Golf R carves through the corners with perfect composure, and the GTI's occasional torque steer is nowhere to be found. It's certainly a fun car to drive aggressively around corners. Pushed to its limits, though, the R is let down by its all-season tires; many competing cars come with grippier summer-spec tires. In terms of ride quality, the Golf R is firm, but never objectionable unless the pavement is in truly miserable shape.


Among sporty hatchbacks, we rank the 2013 Golf R's interior at the top, and it's certainly nice enough for a car that costs this much. The cabin reflects a serious and mature design, with hints of Audi's upscale trim and switchgear throughout. You won't find better materials in the segment, nor front seats that are as sporty and supportive for punchy driving or casual cruising. However, despite those seats adjusting to an impressive degree for all heights, there is no option for power adjustments. You also won't find many places to stash phones, wallets and sunglasses, since all Golfs suffer from a lack of useful storage spaces.

We're big fans of the standard touchscreen audio interface, which in particular does a nice job of controlling an iPod/iPhone in particular. The optional navigation system is easy to program, but its map size and displayed street names are noticeably hobbled by the small display screen.

Gaining access to rear seats is naturally easier with the four-door model, but ingress and egress to the two-door's rear seat is relatively painless. The rear seats, regardless of door number, are surprisingly spacious and very comfortable. Behind them, the cargo area can hold up to 12.4 cubic feet, which is average for a hatchback. So is the 46 cubic feet of maximum cargo room with the 60/40 split rear seats folded down, but it nevertheless represents a significant practicality advantage over similarly priced sport sedans.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2013 Volkswagen Golf R.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

5 out of 5 stars
A magnificent true driver's car
JT Noonan,05/16/2016
4dr Hatchback AWD w/Sunroof, Navigation (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
I did a lot of research on the R, including comparing the 2012/2013 model mk6 with the current mk7. I bought a used mk6 with 21k miles for about $12k less than a new one and I couldn't be happier. The AWD is fantastic, especially in cornering. It has plenty of power, any more and you run the risk of multiple speeding tickets. The 6 speed is the best I've ever used. The turbo sound is beautiful. The pervasive criticism of the mk6 R has been mainly that it should do more and offer more, such as offering a DSG transmission (as in Europe), more aggressive styling and the ability to turn off stability control and more HP. Not for me. I'm not going to take it to the track. I hate automatics (even DSG's) and I prefer the understated styling. I want people to think it's just a Golf. Further, the new mk7 doesn't offer a sunroof (my mk6 does) and has limited and basic colors to choose from (none that I liked). My dark grey/greenish understated R mk6 is perfect. My only complaint is that there is no basic USB (why they put in a proprietary MIDI cable I don't know). The integration with iPhone could have been done better, even in 2012. Sat/Nav is acceptable. The sound quality is superb, however. This is a driver's car for old school manual transmission enthusiasts that enjoy *the art* of driving, more than just shaving .5 seconds off 0-60 that a DSG would give you.
4.38 out of 5 stars
2013 Golf R
2dr Hatchback AWD w/Sunroof, Navigation (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
I love driving. And I'm getting older and need something more practical. Enter the Golf R. I've always enjoyed the practicality that hatchbacks offer and there are reasons why Golfs have sold so well. I have not been disappointed with her the past 2 months since I purchased it. Interior is excellent and offers everything I need and more. The drive quality is firm, but German. It corners nicely, and being 4wd it never scares and the tires let you know when you're on edge and about to break traction. It's predictable and its growl at highway speed is great. There is turbo lag but no torque steer--as expected since its 4wd. Nobody pulls up next to race. Only Golf GT/DI people know what it is.
5 out of 5 stars
This car is a blast to drive
peter emmons,04/19/2016
4dr Hatchback AWD w/Sunroof, Navigation (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
Buy the manual shift. I thought the automatic in my GTI was great, but this manual is much nicer and gives a better driving experience. The power and acceleration of the R is fantastic. Great comfort and relative fuel economy is an added bonus.
5 out of 5 stars
I won't grow up
Aaron Maas,03/26/2016
2dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
The PERFECT commuter car. All the appearance of maturity but silly enough for any true car guy.


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover12.1%

More about the 2013 Volkswagen Golf R

Used 2013 Volkswagen Golf R Overview

The Used 2013 Volkswagen Golf R is offered in the following submodels: Golf R Hatchback. Available styles include 4dr Hatchback AWD w/Sunroof, Navigation (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), 2dr Hatchback AWD w/Sunroof, Navigation (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), 2dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), and 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M). Pre-owned Volkswagen Golf R models are available with a 2.0 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 256 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2013 Volkswagen Golf R comes with all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed manual. The Used 2013 Volkswagen Golf R comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2013 Volkswagen Golf R?

Price comparisons for Used 2013 Volkswagen Golf R trim styles:

  • The Used 2013 Volkswagen Golf R Base is priced between $27,995 and$27,995 with odometer readings between 44900 and44900 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2013 Volkswagen Golf RS are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2013 Volkswagen Golf R for sale near. There are currently 1 used and CPO 2013 Golf RS listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $27,995 and mileage as low as 44900 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2013 Volkswagen Golf R.

Can't find a used 2013 Volkswagen Golf Rs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Volkswagen Golf R for sale - 5 great deals out of 7 listings starting at $17,332.

Find a used Volkswagen for sale - 2 great deals out of 5 listings starting at $17,202.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen Golf R for sale - 10 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $19,261.

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Should I lease or buy a 2013 Volkswagen Golf R?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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