2017 Volkswagen Golf R Review

Pros & Cons

  • Impressive performance from the all-wheel-drive system
  • Great handling without sacrificing ride quality
  • Interior is well built with excellent materials
  • Accommodating and flexible cargo space
  • Performance gains may not justify the hefty price tag
Other years
Volkswagen Golf R for Sale
List Price Estimate
$24,834 - $28,517

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Which Golf R does Edmunds recommend?

The base Golf R production is limited for 2017, so chances are your only choice will be the upgraded Golf R with the adaptive suspension and navigation system. We recommend upgrading to the optional dual-clutch automatic transmission for improved acceleration.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

4.5 / 5
The Volkswagen Golf R is a wildly entertaining hatchback with an abundance of power, the control of all-wheel drive and sporty handling that'll get your pulse racing. Even more significant, however, is that it also gets high marks for comfort and convenience.

2017 Volkswagen Golf R models

The 2017 Volkswagen Golf R is a higher-performance version of the Golf and GTI. It is only available as a five-passenger, four-door hatchback with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (292 horsepower, 280 pound-feet of torque). Power is sent to all four wheels through either a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DSG).

A base model Golf R is available in very limited quantities with standard feature highlights that include 18-inch wheels with performance tires, adaptive xenon headlights, heated mirrors, a rear spoiler, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, a 12-way power driver seat, heated front seats, VW Car-Net emergency telematics and infotainment, Bluetooth, a 6.5-inch touchscreen, a rearview camera, an eight-speaker CD player with satellite radio and USB/auxiliary input.

The Golf R with DCC and Navigation is more common and adds an adaptive suspension system (called DCC) and a navigation system along with 19-inch wheels, front and rear parking sensors, forward collision warning and mitigation, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, a lane departure warning system, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control and a Fender premium audio system.

Trim tested

2016 Volkswagen Golf R (2.0L 4-cyl. turbo; AWD; 6-speed dual-clutch automatic)

Driving

5.0
The Golf R's 292-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder produces strong power that few competitors can match, and its braking and handling are impressive as well. Importantly, the R's upgrades represent clear improvements over the Volkswagen GTI. As a performance machine, it doesn't disappoint.

Acceleration

5.0
There's plenty of torque right off the line, but power really explodes around 4,000 rpm. It reaches 60 mph in an effortless 4.6 seconds with the DSG automatic and launch control. Our best GTI time is 6.2 seconds; the Subaru STI takes 5 seconds. AWD assures there's no torque steer, either.

Braking

5.0
Stopping from 60 mph required only 102 feet thanks in part to the summer tires, but that's still fantastic for any car. The reassuring, progressive pedal response is accompanied by good feedback. It's easy to get just the right amount of braking you want.

Steering

4.0
In Normal mode, the steering can feel numb and overly light considering the car's sporting intent. Race mode is better and feels more responsive, but in the end, the Golf R's steering is good but not great.

Handling

4.5
The combination of all-wheel drive, summer tires and a smart stability control system makes the Golf R very easy to drive aggressively. When going around turns, there's lots of grip, and it's predictable and manageable.

Drivability

5.0
The DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission fires off smooth shifts without the slow-speed stuttering and hesitation of other such transmissions. It's an easy car to drive quickly or slowly. The traditional manual is also easy to use, even in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Comfort

4.5
Despite its performance potential, the Golf R is surprisingly comfortable, especially compared to other sport compacts. Your daily commute or your date doesn't have to suffer because of your weekend fun, but it's obviously less comfy than like-priced luxury cars.

Seat comfort

5.0
The seats are superb, offering just enough side bolstering to keep the average person in place through turns without feeling confining the rest of the time. They're also very supportive over long distances.

Ride comfort

4.0
The ride is firm compared to similarly priced luxury cars, but it's a La-Z-Boy compared to some rival hot hatches. Ruts and bumps are well-damped and rarely harsh. The mostly standard DCC adaptive dampers further improve the ride.

Noise & vibration

4.5
Tire and wind noise is minimal, especially compared to other high-powered sport compacts. The engine note has a fantastic snarl, and it sounds even better when the car is put in Race mode. You can also select the louder engine note individually.

Interior

5.0
Yes, this is a very expensive compact hatchback, but it's arguably the best in terms of practicality. The added R touches don't take anything away from that, making the Golf R a car you'd be happy to use every day.

Ease of use

4.0
Driver-centric controls are close, clearly labeled and easy to use. The touchscreen is better than those of rivals, thanks to sharp graphics, large icons and quick responses. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also included.

Getting in/getting out

5.0
Wide and tall doors with a moderately high seat make this an easy car to get into and out of, especially for its size. Given that cars of similar performance are often coupes, this four-door hatch gains an even greater advantage.

Driving position

5.0
With 10 power adjustments for the driver and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, drivers of nearly any body type will be able to find their ideal position.

Roominess

5.0
The cabin feels spacious, and the backseat offers plenty of leg- and headroom for even tall passengers. This is as good as it gets for cars in this class.

Visibility

5.0
Visibility is superior all around, and a high seating position gives the driver an unobstructed outward view. A rearview camera is standard but not entirely necessary, and the same holds true for the advanced safety features.

Quality

4.0
Unlike other high-dollar sport compacts, the regular Golf already has a near-luxury cabin with superior materials and switchgear. The Golf R sweetens the deal with standard leather and attractive blue stitching. In this case, the quality matches the price.

Utility

4.0
In general, hatchbacks gain an edge for their versatility and generous cargo capacity for the size. The Golf R is no different and gets a slight advantage for everyday usability as a result.

Small-item storage

4.0
We like the anti-tip cupholders and forward media bin, but the center armrest bin annoyingly doesn't open for extra storage space.

Cargo space

4.0
The cargo area has a maximum of 22.8 cubic feet with the rear seats up, or 52.7 with them down, which is comparable to some compact SUVs.

EdmundsScorecard

Overall4.5 / 5
Driving5.0
Comfort4.5
Interior5.0
Utility4.0

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2017 Volkswagen Golf R.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Scary quick.
rpeyw1@gmail.com,02/10/2017
w/Dynamic Chassis Control and Navigation 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)
This vehicle has interested me for almost 2 years. When the 2017 came out with DCC, I started a little more research and decided to pull the plug. The ride home from the dealership on I-95 left a smile on my face until the next day, when I got an even bigger smile after understanding more about the systems. The car is scary quick, and goes exactly where you point it. The seats are very comfortable, even after spending over 4 hours in the vehicle on the second day. The tech may be a little intimidating at first, as the vehicle has almost every conceivable bit of information at your finger tips. VW's carnet blows away Onstar. The fender sound system is absolutely outstanding. I leased mine because of my previous experience with VW products. They all developed "issues" around 60K miles. Assuming this vehicle hangs with me, I will probably buy it outright at the end of my lease. There is supposed to be a limited quantity of these this year. I say if you can find one, drive it, and you will smile like a lil kid. Hatchbacks are not everyone's cup of tea, but if you are a hatchback type of person, IMHO, this one is very hard to beat. Happy motoring!
2017 rrrrrrrrr is a true pirates car
Alan,10/18/2016
w/Dynamic Chassis Control and Navigation 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)
I love my new golf R! I was skeptical at first even with all the reviews, however after I test drove the car I was hooked. The car moves like a rocket, but holds the road tight. The 19 inch tires are wonderful,and I bought a set of 17 inch snows that will come in handy here in the northeast. The fender sound system is better than most, and the ability to switch driving modes from comfort to race really makes a difference.I can truly say this is a great car to drive and enjoy!
A real "Q" ship
75 year old car lover,02/20/2017
w/DCC and Navigation 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)
The Golf R is a car that many just can't understand. $41K for a mere VW Golf? It's certainly no chick magnet regardless of color. And it's not designed to cosset the boss on a ride to a sales appointment. But like the mundane-appearing WW II freighters that packed hidden heavy guns, it is a real "Q ship." For those who value performance , it equals or exceeds more than a few so-called sports-cars. Compare its acceleration, handling, and braking statistics, for example, to those of the last generation C5 Corvette. While equipped with the same engine and transmission as the Audi S3 and TTS, it sells for thousands less with fit and finish to match. Unlike some ostensibly competitive "hot hatches," it doesn't beat you up in daily driving. It's as quiet as many popular sedans, it absorbs road irregularities with aplomb, and provides all the convenience of a four-door hatchback that can haul all kinds of stuff home from Best Buy and Home Depot. Oh yes, it's not perfect. The video screen is simply too small and the lack of an automatic garage door opener is inexplicable. Similarly, I very much dislike the car's inability to run the navigation system without having to listen to the radio. The new adaptive cruise control is terrific, but the lane-keeping system needs a good bit of work. Whatever you, do not compare this car to the previous generation Golf-R. Having just sold my 2012 R, I can say without the slightest hesitation, it's vastly better, particularly in NVH. The car's greatest problem are its beautiful, very light alloy wheels. They simply are not sufficiently strong to withstand the potholes of late Midwestern winters. And at a replacement cost of $800 a wheel, that's not a trivial issue. Additionally, VW needs to do some work with its proximity warning system and integrated navigation system. Unless you turn it off completely, there is no way to shut off the proximity system's warning sound, which most times remains on far too long. Similarly, there is no way to use the navigation system without also having the radio running. Honda's figured that one out, VW should, too.
Performance, comfort, luxury, & practicality
Chris Stiles,05/09/2017
w/Dynamic Chassis Control and Navigation 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)
6 months of ownership in Lapiz Blue, DSG, & dynamic chassis control, and overall I'm very satisfied. A hoot to drive, very fast, excellent grip, reasonably luxurious, stops on a dime, & practical. Handled well in snow with high performance all season tires. An Audi S3 for $4500 less. The Fender audio is excellent, but my entertainment & navigation shut down and required a dealer refresh to get it back up again. For $40K this car should have a Homelink garage door opener, LED tail lights, and a sunroof should be an option since the interior is black, dark & serious. An open roof would give the car a more airy interior. And how come the center console is bolted shut? Makes no sense and the dealer was unaware & of zero help. But other than these minor gripes, this car is special and exclusive. Hope it proves reliable. Highly recommended if you can strike a good deal.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2017 Volkswagen Golf R features & specs

Safety

Our experts like the Golf R models:

VW Car-Net
In an emergency or breakdown, help is only a button push away.
Front Assist
This system will warn you if you're in danger of rear-ending the car in front and apply the brakes if you don't.
Automatic Post-Collision Braking System
In a crash, the brakes automatically engage to prevent additional impacts.

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover13.4%

More about the 2017 Volkswagen Golf R

Used 2017 Volkswagen Golf R Overview

The Used 2017 Volkswagen Golf R is offered in the following submodels: Golf R Hatchback. Available styles include w/DCC and Navigation 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), and w/DCC and Navigation 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM).

What's a good price on a Used 2017 Volkswagen Golf R?

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 2017 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) 2017 Volkswagen Golf R for sale near. 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 2017 Volkswagen Golf R.

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Find a used Volkswagen Golf R for sale - 9 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $17,306.

Find a used Volkswagen for sale - 4 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $16,698.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen Golf R for sale - 10 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $16,662.

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Should I lease or buy a 2017 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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