2014 Volkswagen Golf Review

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • Class-leading cabin quality
  • fuel-efficient, torque-rich diesel engine
  • versatile hatchback design
  • adult-sized backseat
  • excellent road manners.
  • Inefficient base gasoline engine
  • diesel version can get pricey
  • no Bluetooth on base 2.5L model.
List Price Range
$13,990 - $14,839

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2014 Volkswagen Golf may be in its final year of production, but it's still one of the most rewarding compact cars on the market.

Vehicle overview

Some cars limp down the home stretch, but the 2014 Volkswagen Golf is still in full stride. Although a new, fully redesigned VW Golf hatchback will debut next year, the current Golf remains a desirable pick in its class. It takes a pretty special car to pull this off -- the BMW 3 Series has made a habit of it, but it's hard to think of other examples. Bottom line, Volkswagen got most things right with this Golf, and we'll be sad to see it go.

OK, well, there is one thing that we won't miss at all: the Golf's standard 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine. Rated at just 26 mpg combined with the now-mandatory automatic transmission, the 2.5's fuel economy pales in comparison to the engines in the VW's main rivals. But opt for the admittedly pricey TDI model and you'll get a turbocharged diesel four-cylinder that delivers plenty of low-end power and an impressive EPA rating of 34 mpg combined (including 42 mpg highway).

In practically every other respect, the 2014 Golf is a winner. It drives down the road with a solid, European feel that's unusual for a small car like this. You'll also be pleased with the upscale interior that wouldn't look out of place in an Audi. The backseat is exceptionally adult-friendly, accommodating two 6-footers with unexpected ease. Similarly, just fold down those rear seats and the Golf's relatively boxy shape is ideal for loading up bulky items.

As accomplished as the Golf is, certain competitors also merit strong consideration. Chief among them is the redesigned 2014 Mazda 3, which approaches the VW in cabin quality -- albeit with a more cramped backseat -- and offers sharper handling reflexes. The 2014 Ford Focus mostly mirrors the Mazda's pros and cons, and the 2014 Hyundai Elantra GT is a stylish, well-rounded entrant with a strong value proposition. Within this group, though, we're pleased to see that this old favorite is finishing strong.

2014 Volkswagen Golf models

The 2014 Volkswagen Golf is a five-passenger hatchback offered solely with four doors this year. There are two trim levels, 2.5L and TDI, indicating the selected engine. The performance-oriented GTI is reviewed separately.

Standard equipment on the base 2.5L includes 15-inch steel wheels, heated mirrors, full power accessories, cruise control, air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, power-reclining front seats, 60/40-split-folding rear seatbacks and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.

The 2.5L Convenience & Sunroof package adds a sunroof, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, iPod/USB integration, a touchscreen interface and satellite radio.

The well-equipped Golf TDI starts with the 2.5L's standard features and adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a lowered sport-tuned suspension, foglights and the contents of the Convenience & Sunroof package except the sunroof.

The TDI Sunroof & Navigation package adds, yessiree Bob, the sunroof and a navigation system. All Golfs can also be equipped with a sport body kit that includes a rear spoiler (also available separately).

2014 Highlights

All 2014 VW Golfs come with four doors, as the two-door body style has been discontinued. The 2.5L model is no longer offered with a manual transmission. Also, the 2.5L Convenience package has been discontinued, as has the desirable TDI Tech package.

Performance & mpg

The 2014 Volkswagen Golf 2.5L is motivated by a 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine that produces 170 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. In states with California emissions, this engine can be classified with the partial-zero-emissions vehicles (PZEV) tailpipe standard. A six-speed automatic is the only available transmission. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 26 mpg combined (23 mpg city/30 mpg highway), which is considerably less efficient than the Golf's primary rivals.

The Golf TDI gets a turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel four-cylinder that puts out a modest 140 hp but a robust 236 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a six-speed automated manual (DSG) is optional. In Edmunds performance testing, a Golf TDI with the conventional manual cantered from zero to 60 mph in 8.7 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy with either transmission is excellent at 34 mpg combined (30 mpg city/42 mpg highway).

Safety

Standard safety features for the 2014 Volkswagen Golf include traction and stability control, antilock disc brakes, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. In Edmunds brake testing, a Golf TDI stopped from 60 mph in 121 feet -- a solid showing for this segment.

In crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Golf received the highest possible score of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests. Its seat/head-restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.

Driving

The 2014 Volkswagen Golf's tidy dimensions and supple, well-controlled ride make it a perfect around-town runabout, but it's a different animal on the highway. You don't expect a compact hatchback to command the road like this. High-speed stability is impeccable, and although tire noise is a frequent companion, it's modest by class standards. The Golf isn't quite as self-assured on twisty roads (the Mazda 3 and Focus outdo it here) but there's respectable athleticism to be found if you're looking for it.

In the engine room, the base 2.5 serves up sprightly acceleration when you get on it, but its fuel economy and lack of refinement are real drawbacks. The TDI, on the other hand, comes up aces, providing stellar fuel economy along with great drivability thanks to all that torque. It pairs well to either the easy-to-use manual transmission or the automated, quick-shifting DSG. The DSG does exhibit a noticeable delay between the time the gas pedal is pressed and when the engine actually responds, but most owners get used to this behavior in time. There's a similar story with the Golf's brakes, where a committed effort to press the pedal is more confidence-inspiring than a casual one.

Interior

There aren't many small cars that impart a genuinely premium vibe from behind the wheel, but the Golf has been doing it for years. Low-gloss, high-quality materials spruce up the dashboard and door panels, while restrained lines and classy color combinations make the cabin seem more mature than most. There are a couple downsides, including a lack of useful interior storage and the navigation system's small screen, which makes it harder to view the map and limits its overall usefulness.

The 2014 Golf's front seats are a highlight, delivering firm support along with driver and passenger height adjustability: a rarity in this class. And if backseat space is a priority, don't be fooled by the compact exterior. Even with tall adults situated up front, there's room in back for a couple full-size passengers, making the Golf a wonderfully space-efficient alternative to today's hefty family sedans. Behind the rear seats, the cargo area measures 15.2 cubic feet; fold down the 60/40-split rear seatbacks and you've got an impressive 46 cubes.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2014 Volkswagen Golf.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

If FUN to DRIVE is high on your list of priorities!
skater69,03/13/2014
My 2.5 doesn't have Bluetooth/phone capability nor a touch screen. But it has what matters most to me; a huge fun to drive personality. I put sticky 225/45/17/wheels on the car shortly after buying it. Highly recommended as it handles insane now and looks way better. The stock rubber/wheels need to go straight to Craigslist. Driven 2500 miles since new. My impressions so far: -Prefer to now drive it all the time in manual mode except on the freeway. I find manual shifting the automatic to be a lot of fun and the shifts are responsive. I also like downshifting when coming to a stop. All this with while getting to rest my left leg. -While it's not blazing "fast", it's far from slow eith
A great little car
sudie cunnane,05/12/2018
2.5L PZEV 4dr Hatchback w/Convenience, Sunroof (2.5L 5cyl 6A)
A lot of overpricing
HAPPY LITTLE CHAMPY
Tim Faulkner,07/07/2020
2.5L PZEV 4dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 6A)
This is a happy car. The 2.5 liter gas-engine defies physics by providing the same kind of gas mileage as the 1.8 T gas engine in my 2015 Sportwagen. It’s just so unstressed. At highway speeds it is just so relaxed. And, so, it sips. VW-Audi needs to reconsider the 5 cylinder, for its supreme smoothness and economical operation. This Golf is also fun to drive. It makes one feel so connected to the driving experience. As I’ve said, it is just so happy. Around town, highway – it just feels eager to do its job. My partner wants to trade up to a Tiguan (literally, the only reason, to sit higher off the ground. . . he just doesn’t get that close proximity to the ground is a major ingredient to driving pleasure). The car now has 126K miles, and it pains me to see it go. If I could find a way, financially-speaking, I would keep it around just because I like its positive go-anywhere attitude. I also happen to like its timeless shape; and how the primary-red color showcases this. I can say this: it’s provided 94,000 trouble-free, fun motoring miles for us (we've literally only replaced oil every 10K miles, and brake fluid every 2 years) -and, this is more than most can claim.

Features & Specs

MPG
23 city / 33 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
170 hp @ 5700 rpm
MPG
30 city / 42 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed automated manual
Diesel
140 hp @ 4000 rpm
MPG
23 city / 33 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
170 hp @ 5700 rpm
MPG
30 city / 42 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed automated manual
Diesel
140 hp @ 4000 rpm
See all Used 2014 Volkswagen Golf features & specs

Safety

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 2014 Volkswagen Golf
More About This Model

Some of us can measure our lives out in the seven generations of the Volkswagen Golf, now in its 38th year of production.

In that time, the VW Golf has become one of the best-selling cars in all of Europe, but its start in the U.S. was a little rocky. Part of the problem was that it wasn't a Golf at all. It was badged Rabbit and Americanized in a way that spoiled the clean simplicity of its European lines. The Rabbit was a lower-grade device than its European-built cousin, its low-rent, utility tailgate also deterring Beetle buyers by the thousands.

But America's taste for hatchbacks is growing — or its distaste diminishing at least, so VW hopes that the seventh version of the car will take one more small step toward making it more mainstream. We went for a drive to see if it has a chance.

A Familiar Face
It takes only the swiftest of glances to see that this car is a Golf and that is entirely the point, its instantly recognizable identity the key to its success. But there are distinct differences like a longer wheelbase and lower ride height that make this version unique.

The 2014 Volkswagen Golf now rides on the VW Group's all-new modular MQB platform (for Modularer Querbaukasten), which allows the front axle to be pushed forward within the length of the body. That reduces the front overhang, stretches the wheelbase and frees up more passenger space.

Though these new proportions gave the Golf's shapers a bit of challenge, says designer Andreas Mindt, early versions of the car "looking a bit like a dachshund," the awkwardly long-bodied look was eliminated by pushing the cabin rearward. Aerodynamic aims have resulted in smoother fenders, and the quest to produce a low-slung, sporting look has given it shallow, slightly wedged side windows and subtle indents at the roof's edges.

A Slimmer Structure
Apart from the styling changes, there are significant engineering advances, too. Chief among these is the shaving of up to 220 pounds from the Golf's weight despite the modest increase in length and width. The weight savings were achieved by increasing the use of high-strength steels in the body, lightening the interior trim and redesigning most of the engine lineup to pare poundage and increase efficiency.

That lineup begins with a 1.2-liter turbo gasoline engine and a 1.4 turbo for Europe along with a 1.8-liter turbo and a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter five-cylinder that will be used in the U.S. models. There are substantially redesigned 1.6- and 2.0-liter diesels, too, the bigger of which is also destined for America. Transmissions include a six-speed stickshift and VW's dual-clutch, DSG self-shifter with six or seven speeds.

The Golf's MacPherson strut front and multilink rear suspension has been redesigned for reduced weight, and there's a new, simple twist-beam rear axle for smaller-engined European models. In other words, no radical reengineering, but plenty of incremental improvements.

The Diesel Does Nicely
Our seat time was limited to the 2.0-liter diesel, which produces 148 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque from as little as 1,750 rpm. It delivers it all with impressively smooth civility, too. You'll hear the odd light rattle from up front during warm-up, and a little vibration through the steering wheel, but otherwise the only things to remind you that this is a diesel are positive, in the form of really strong pulling power and the excellent economy. There are no EPA numbers yet, but expect over 40 mpg in the real world.

The manual shifter is unusually silken and so are the gearchanges from the DSG, although it will occasionally jolt from gear to gear. With Sport and Manual paddle shift options, this automatic is a good compromise for those who don't want to work a clutch in traffic.

There's a new driving profile selector that offers four modes to choose from: Eco, Sport, Normal and Individual. The various modes allow for adjustment of the throttle map, transmission shifts, steering weight and even shock stiffness if the Dynamic Chassis Control option is selected. The effect isn't that great, though, as the ride only firms slightly and the throttle sharpens a fraction. The most noticeable effect is on the steering, which gains some pleasing weight in Sport mode.

Predictable. Maybe Too Predictable
Despite these changes, the fundamental behavior of the 2014 Volkswagen Golf does not change much when you're thrusting hard along a twisting back road. It corners with precision, it's slow to let understeer build and feels completely stable and safe. But it also feels a little dull — the front end doesn't dart into corners with the enthusiasm of a Ford Focus, and there's virtually no scope for refining your trajectory through a fast curve with deft throttle adjustment. Instead, it's very capable, but pretty inert.

And though you can switch off the stability control, its interventions don't completely disappear. Which is probably a good thing considering the vast array of buyers expected to buy this new Golf. The only occasional disappointment is the ride, the suspension thumping like an unwanted neighbor's party over ridges and potholes. That's a surprise given this VW's sophisticated multilink rear axle.

Feels Sturdy, Looks Much the Same
Inside there's a grander-looking dashboard than previously, its center console angled toward the driver to produce a slightly sportier ambience, and an increased surface area of decorative trim to heighten the aura of quality, which this car oozes in spades. From the reassuringly solid structure of its dashboard to the classy piano-black steering wheel inserts, it's a finely built piece.

The center of the dash is dominated by an infotainment screen that's offered in three sizes and five levels of sophistication, some including an iPad-like swipe feature to access music. All of this creates a pleasing first impression of this seventh-generation Golf, from the muted clunk of a closing door to the subtly enveloping support provided by the seats.

The cabin is not only comfortable and convenient but quiet, too, only the faint rush of air at 80 mph intruding on the impressive calm at speed. There's no question that the Golf Mk7 makes an impressive long-distance device, especially with the turbodiesel's pulling power.

Built in Mexico?
It will be a long time before American drivers even get a chance to see what this new Golf is all about, as it's not scheduled to arrive until early 2014. Why? Mainly because Volkswagen is more concerned about Golf sales in Europe, where it's the company's bread-and-butter model. There's also the possibility that American Golfs will be built in one of Volkswagen's factories in Mexico to make it less expensive.

A competitive price would go a long way toward making the Golf more acceptable to American consumers. The Golf may be the most refined hatchback in its class now, but it's a growing segment that includes plenty of competent contenders. And who knows? By 2014 there could even be a few more with newer and better features. We'll have to wait and see.

For now, the 2014 Volkswagen Golf feels much like the old Golf in terms of refinement, which is a good thing. It's solid on the highway and the diesel is as good as it's ever been. The extra space inside doesn't hurt either, so it's well positioned to grab even more buyers if the price is right. We'll find out in about 12 months.

Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.

Used 2014 Volkswagen Golf Overview

The Used 2014 Volkswagen Golf is offered in the following submodels: Golf Hatchback, Golf Diesel. Available styles include 2.5L PZEV 4dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 6A), TDI 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM), 2.5L PZEV 4dr Hatchback w/Convenience, Sunroof (2.5L 5cyl 6A), TDI 4dr Hatchback w/Sunroof, Navigation (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6AM), TDI 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6M), and TDI 4dr Hatchback w/Sunroof, Navigation (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2014 Volkswagen Golf?

Price comparisons for Used 2014 Volkswagen Golf trim styles:

  • The Used 2014 Volkswagen Golf TDI is priced between $13,990 and$14,839 with odometer readings between 24083 and41752 miles.

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Which used 2014 Volkswagen Golfs 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) 2014 Volkswagen Golf for sale near. There are currently 3 used and CPO 2014 Golfs listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $13,990 and mileage as low as 24083 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 2014 Volkswagen Golf.

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Find a used Volkswagen Golf for sale - 10 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $14,873.

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Should I lease or buy a 2014 Volkswagen Golf?

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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Check out Volkswagen Golf lease specials