2016 Volkswagen Golf Review
2016 Volkswagen Golf Review
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Used Golf for sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Squared-off hatchback design provides lots of room for cargo
- premium interior materials
- engine is powerful and fuel-efficient
- excellent crash test scores
- new touchscreen has the latest smartphone integration systems.
- Automatic transmission doesn't shift as responsively or intuitively as we prefer
- slightly more expensive than rivals.
For 2016, Volkswagen has improved the Golf's tech features. There is a new 5-inch touchscreen on the base model, and all other trims get a 6.5-inch-touchscreen that supports Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink smartphone integration. All Golfs also get a normal USB port (no more proprietary cable) and all but the base model get a standard rearview camera. VW has also added new features to the Driver Assistance option package, including blind spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, automated parallel parking and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Note that the diesel TDI engine is not currently on sale as Volkswagen works to make it emissions-compliant.
It's possible to own a practical-minded car and still get a luxury-carlike experience. The 2016 Volkswagen Golf will impress you with its versatile hatchback design, upscale and well-equipped interior, and turbocharged engine that's both peppy and fuel-efficient. Find out more about why we think so highly about this premium small car.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2016 Volkswagen Golf TSI S 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.26 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
Golf TSI S
Avg. Compact Car
Traditional sedans like the Jetta and Passat may be more popular in the United States, but it's the Golf that's Volkswagen's bread and butter throughout the world. Four decades have passed since it debuted on the world stage, and in that time the Golf has become one of the best-selling cars of all time. Like all that came before, last year's all-new Golf followed an evolutionary path that maintained the Golf's traditionally best qualities and ironed out its deficiencies.
The 2016 Volkswagen Golf carries on the evolutionary styling that debuted last year.
One major change VW made was to swap out the old and inefficient five-cylinder engine for a new turbocharged 1.8-liter engine. It's a sweetheart. With a healthy 170 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque on tap, the Golf handily beats most compact cars in an old-fashioned stoplight duel. The latest Golf feels more stable and energetic when you're driving around turns, too. True, the GTI is still far sportier, but as economy-biased compacts go, the Golf is pretty fun to drive.
Inside, VW gave the Golf a bit more interior room last year, and it still looks and feels more expensive than its competitors. For 2016, a new touchscreen interface on all trims (including the base model) is quicker and more responsive to inputs than the old screen and adds comprehensive Apple and Android smartphone integration. There's finally a real USB port, too, replacing VW's less useful proprietary smartphone/media player plug. Finally, VW has added more features to the Driver Assistance package this year, including new safety features that were notably absent last year.
These changes have certainly boosted the Golf's standing in the small hatchback segment. But it's still a good idea to check out the competition. The 2016 Mazda 3 hatchback lacks the boxy interior space of the Golf, but counters with a fun-to-drive character, fuel-efficient engine and an impressive list of features. The 2016 Ford Focus is another top hatchback with a refined driving experience and interior materials quality that comes closest to the top-drawer VW. And given that the Golf can be one of the more expensive models in this segment, the 2016 Kia Forte SX hatchback is worth a look given its superior value and warranty. But overall, we think the legendary Golf is an excellent choice for a 2016 hatchback.
Performance & mpg
Powering the 2016 VW Golf is a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 170 hp and 199 lb-ft of torque with the automatic (the manual is limited to 184 lb-ft). A five-speed manual transmission is offered on base and S models (without a sunroof), while a six-speed automatic is optional. The S (with sunroof), SE and SEL models are only offered with the automatic.
The EPA estimates for this engine are 29 mpg combined (25 city/36 highway) with the automatic and 30 mpg combined (25/37) with the manual. On our mixed driving evaluation route, we managed to achieve an impressive 32 mpg from a loaded Golf SEL with the automatic.
In Edmunds testing, this same Golf SEL accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds, which makes it one of the quickest cars in the class.
Normally, the Golf would also offer a diesel-powered engine, the TDI. But for now, the 2016 Golf TDI is on hiatus while VW figures out how to actually make it emissions compliant.
Standard safety features for the 2016 VW Golf include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, a rearview camera (except on the base model), front side airbags, side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag. A post-crash braking system is also standard and automatically applies the brakes after an impact to reduce the likelihood of a secondary crash. The Driver Assistance package includes front and rear parking sensors, forward collision warning, forward collision mitigation with automatic braking, rear cross-traffic alert, a lane-departure warning system and blind spot monitoring.
On Golf S models and above, VW's Car-Net emergency telematics is standard with features that include automatic crash notification, roadside assistance, remote vehicle access, stolen vehicle location and geo-fencing (which allows parents to set boundaries for teenage drivers). A Car-Net smartphone app lets owners control many of these functions on the go.
In Edmunds brake testing, the Golf SEL stopped from 60 mph in 119 feet, which is a good result for this class.
In government crash tests, the two-door Volkswagen Golf earned a perfect rating of five stars for overall crash protection, with four stars for front impacts and five stars for side impacts. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing, the 2016 Golf earned the highest rating of "Good" in tests for moderate-overlap and small-overlap frontal-offset impact tests. It also earned a "Good" score in the side-impact, roof-strength and seats and head restraints (whiplash protection) tests.
With 170 hp on tap from its turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the 2016 Volkswagen Golf feels far more powerful than its contemporaries. The punchy engine makes overtaking cars on the highway uneventful, with smooth, quick downshifts coming from the snappy automatic transmission. Frequent stops reveal one of the only faults with the automatic, as the car tends to lurch from a standstill. The transmission has trouble figuring out which gear it wants to be in during low-speed travel, sometimes leaving the driver in a higher gear than necessary when quick lane changes are needed. The six-speed manual is easy to shift thanks to a light-effort clutch pedal and distinct shift gates.
On a typical commute, the 2016 Golf delivers a comfortable and compliant ride quality that smooths ruts and potholes with ease. Its small footprint and large windows make it an easy car to drive and park in tight spaces. The Golf goes where you point it in tight corners, although quick transitions produce a noticeable amount of body roll. It's an easy and fun car to drive, though competitors like the Mazda 3 or Ford Focus generally feel tighter in this regard.
The 2016 Volkswagen Golf's interior features well-grained plastics that are soft to the touch and a cabin design that is distinctly European, comfortable and sporty. Buttons and switches are placed close to the driver and offer intuitive, simple control. Pun intended, there really isn't that much of a gulf between a well-loaded Golf and entry-level luxury cars like the Acura ILX or Mercedes CLA.
The 2016 Golf's dash is trimmed in upscale materials and eschews fashion for function.
The 5-inch touchscreen on the base car is small compared to other typical systems, but it works well and is easily read at a glance. The extra room afforded by the 6.5-inch screen in S models and above makes the touchscreen far easier to use. The generally unloved proprietary iPhone connector plug has been replaced by a simple USB port, a move that coincides with the introduction of Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink functionality. These systems allow you to easily integrate, display and use many of the apps from your smartphone.
Front seats provide ample support and comfort, even during long-distance driving stints, and not at the sacrifice of rear seat passengers. The Golf's ample leg- and shoulder room make the small hatch feel big. There's enough room in back to make the Golf a viable family vehicle, although adults will find the low-mounted rear seat cushions somewhat uncomfortable. Up to 22.8 cubic feet of cargo can be accommodated behind the rear seats, while folding the seats flat provides a class-leading 52.7 cubic feet of space.
2016 Volkswagen Golf models
The 2016 Volkswagen Golf hatchback is available as a two- or four-door hatchback in four major trim levels: base, S, SE and SEL. The all-electric e-Golf, sporty Golf GTI and high-performance Golf R are similar models, but are reviewed separately.
The base Golf is only offered in the two-door body style. Standard features include 15-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, air-conditioning, full power accessories, cruise control, height-adjustable manual front seats (with manual lumbar adjustment), cloth upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 60/40-split folding rear seats with a center pass-through, hill-hold assist, a cooled glovebox, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 5-inch touchscreen audio interface and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack, a USB port and a media player interface.
The Golf S is available as either a two- or four-door and adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel (with audio controls), a rearview camera, VW's Car-Net emergency telematics system, and a 6.5-inch touchscreen audio interface with satellite and HD radios and enhanced smartphone integration (VW's Car-Net App-Connect that features Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink). Four-door models get power reclining front seats, and are available with a sunroof that comes bundled with the automatic transmission.
Most 2016 Golfs come with VW's new touchscreen interface that includes robust smartphone integration.
The SE trim is only available as a four-door with the sunroof and automatic transmission. Added features include 17-inch wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, automatic wipers, keyless ignition and entry, heated front seats, "V-Tex" premium vinyl upholstery and a premium nine-speaker Fender audio system.
To that, the range-topping SEL trim adds 18-inch wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, sport front seats with an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat (with power lumbar), a navigation system and interior LED reading and ambient lighting.
Two options packages are available for the SE and SEL trims. The Lighting package includes xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights and cornering lights that shine through turns (the SE's Lighting package also has the LED reading and ambient lights from the SEL). The Driver Assistance package includes adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, a forward collision warning and mitigation system, rear cross-traffic alert, a lane-departure warning system, blind-spot monitoring, an automated parallel parking system and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
This is a fantastic automobile
2016 Volkswagen Golf TSI S 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5M)
The 2016 Volkswagen Golf TSI S 4-door hatchback equipped with the 5-speed manual transmission is truly a great car. I chose the model without the sunroof for the reason that it costs around $1,000 more for that model, and the sunroof was not worth it for me. Starting with the exterior, the Golf looks sporty yet refined (not as bold as the GTI, yet still retains some sportiness). The … standard 15" Lyon wheels look good, and the 195/65 tires transmit almost zero road noise, which makes the ride very quiet and comfortable, especially when coupled with the suspension setup. The four-door model offers plenty of space as well. I am 6' 3", and with the driver's seat in my setting, I have 1.5"-2" of leg room in the back seat, which is more than I have in most sedans which outsize the Golf considerably. The hatchback design also allows for a ton of cargo room, which is great when compared to sedans. The door panels are tight and make a solid "thunk" when closed. The halogen lights on the Golf are good (the lighting package cannot be had on this trim, an $1,100 option) and give you good visibility at night. I was surprised that the signals on the mirrors are LEDs, and the Golf has heated mirrors standard (great for the northern folks). Moving to the interior, the Golf's seating surfaces are a sort of cloth, but it is thick and durable, not like that found in a Toyota or Honda. The steering wheel is the same as the one found in the GTI model, leather-wrapped and having a flat bottom, which is very comfortable and feels great. The gauge cluster is very appealing, with easy-to-read font and a well-spaced layout. The steering wheel controls allow the menus to be navigated easily on the mini-screen between the tachometer and speedometer. This moves me to one of my favorite aspects about the car, and that is the Volkswagen Infotainment System. I have driven many cars (Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Toyota, Honda, Porsche, and many more) and this is one of the top systems I have ever used. This is because it is simple, yet loaded with useful features that other vehicles lack. For instance, the VW system offers Apple Carplay and Android Auto, which essentially converts the screen to appear just like the phone you are using. It also has a wealth of vehicle information, such as MPGs, a ThinkBlue Trainer (which measures how much fuel the drivers' style saves or loses), and much more. This system arguably works better than vehicles with price tags double or triple of my Golf ($21,495). In the glove box, there are outlets for three SD cards and a CD player as well. In the center stack there are the USB and AUX input jacks for your telephone. The Golf also has three 12V power outlets, one by the E-brake, one in the center arm-rest, and one in the right side of the trunk. This allows for plenty of charging of any devices. The seats in the Golf are not as supportive as those found in the GTI, but they do the job. They are manually adjusting for forward/backward and height, but the backrest is electric for whatever reason (I found that rather odd) However, the overall quality of the interior is good. You can tell the quality of the materials used is economical, but altogether it is pretty good for the price point. Mechanically, the engine in this vehicle was one of the reasons I chose to go with the Golf. For the price point, you get the most power (170 hp, 200 lb-ft tq) and it is fantastic. The engine sounds great when it is revved up to around 5-6 thousand RPMs, and it does not sound annoying like some inline-4 cylinder turbos of today do. The 5-speed manual transmission is great as well, it is smooth, and the clutch is firm, which I like. The windows in the Golf are all auto up and down, and the actuators work well and do not feel/sound cheap at all. Driving the car is a blast. Though it is front wheel drive, there is virtually no torque-steer under full acceleration, and this car takes corners like a champ, despite the 195/65 tires. There are also many different accessories available for the Golf to make it an even better car than I have described it to be here. Overall, I give this car a 5/5 for the power, value, build quality, and overall fit-and-finish.
5 out of 5 stars
So Glad I Bought It
2016 Volkswagen Golf TSI S w/Sunroof 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
This little car is awesome. It's zippy and handles the road like a champ. Plenty of flexible cargo space. Great visibility, plenty of "get-up," fantastic turn radius, great for city driving also good on the highway. Very fun to drive, definitely the best small car I've driven. I was hesitant to buy a brand new car, but this turned out to be well worth it. I often get over 40 mpg on the … highway cruising at ~72/mph. In the city I get around 25 mpg so it is a little worse than my cheap old hyundai in the city, but vastly better. The cargo space is not as big as the Jetta but it's more flexible and the car looks a lot cooler. If you are bored by the Civic or Elantra and have an extra ~ $3,000 go for this. UPDATE 6/2018: this car still kicks a$$. I just drove from Toronto to Pittsburgh and back: 45 mpg the whole time, and I always use the lowest grade of fuel. Sometimes I wonder if I could get even better economy from premium gas. So far the only parts I've replaced include the wipers (cost $75 total, had to special order from Bosch) and the cabin air filter ($25). I've had the oil changed twice because the car has some kind of sensor or timer that tells you when to change it. So, my total maintenance cost the last three years has been about $280. The exterior still looks great, everything works well, I really enjoy the carplay feature. The interior has definitely deteriorated a little bit, just normal waer and tear, especially in the driver's seat. I sometimes regreat not getting the leather seats because of that. Anyway, overall, this is one of the best things I've ever bought, I like it more than my house LOL!
5 out of 5 stars
2016 Volkswagen Golf TSI SE 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
Smooth engine, precise responsive steering, clean tasteful styling, better ride height and visibility won me over from the 2016 Civic. I wanted the lighting package so migrated to the SE which gives you an amazing Fender stereo. Wasn't planning on the driver assist safety package but given the how distractable life can be, and the non-obtrusive nature of this German version, I decided to … fork out the extra $1500 in hopes it may safe my life in some way. The seats don't look impressive but are very comfortable and supportive. The new Honda Civic is their best version yet with lots of features on the touring. The best way to describe the difference between these two cars is the German car reflects the near perfection of unity between car and driver and the Japanese car reflects excellent car parts put together well but you still know it's a puzzle and not a photo. The Apple car play is a nice feature. Wind noise is exceptionally low. Not a fan of Mazda, but always rated high by professional reviewers.
5 out of 5 stars
Built to drive and have fun
2016 Volkswagen Golf TSI SE 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
It took a 10 minute drive to fall in love with this car.... and I've driven a LOT of cars. I didn't want to have anything to do with Volkswagen --- I wanted something that had a more reliable reputation -- but I suddenly find myself a devoted follower. The car is built to drive, to have fun and enjoy. Somewhere between the paddle shifters (makes the car FAST), technology and lighting … packages, I just lost it. And I'm still loving it! Update: After a year of owning the Golf, I still look forward to driving. No problems with the vehicle. More and more I appreciate the lighting package, frequently use the parking assist (parallel parking) feature and love apple-play for podcasts / audiobooks. A great package in a small car. The difference between my wife's top of the line Toyota Highlander (a very nice $50k car) and the Golf is striking -- the Golf is built for the driving experience, where you can easily see, maneuver and accelerate in a way that, in my opinion, out-performs any of Toyota's cars. I'd buy it again.
Features & Specs
- Base MSRP
- MPG & Fuel
- 25 City / 37 Hwy / 30 Combined
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 13.2 gal. capacity
- 5 seats
- Type: front wheel drive
- Transmission: 5-speed manual
- Inline 4 cylinder
- Horsepower: 170 hp @ 4500 rpm
- Torque: 200 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm
- Basic Warranty
- 3 yr./ 36000 mi.
- Length: 167.5 in. / Height: 57.2 in.
- Overall Width without Mirrors: 70.5 in.
- Curb Weight: 2901 lbs.
- Cargo Capacity, All Seats In Place: 22.8 cu.ft.
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver4 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover11.1%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Side Impact TestGood
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestGood
More about the 2016 Volkswagen Golf
Used 2016 Volkswagen Golf Overview
The Used 2016 Volkswagen Golf is offered in the following submodels: Golf Hatchback. Available styles include TSI S 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), TSI SE 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), TSI S w/Sunroof 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), TSI S 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5M), TSI SEL 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), TSI S 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), TSI S 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5M), TSI 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5M), and TSI 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A). Pre-owned Volkswagen Golf models are available with a 1.8 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 170 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2016 Volkswagen Golf comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2016 Volkswagen Golf 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 2016 Volkswagen Golf?
Price comparisons for Used 2016 Volkswagen Golf trim styles:
- The Used 2016 Volkswagen Golf TSI S is priced between $16,990 and$21,590 with odometer readings between 15395 and79587 miles.
- The Used 2016 Volkswagen Golf TSI S w/Sunroof is priced between $16,269 and$19,590 with odometer readings between 30105 and51082 miles.
- The Used 2016 Volkswagen Golf TSI SE is priced between $17,995 and$20,990 with odometer readings between 35576 and79454 miles.
- The Used 2016 Volkswagen Golf TSI SEL is priced between $23,990 and$23,990 with odometer readings between 24940 and24940 miles.
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Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2016 Volkswagen Golf for sale near. There are currently 24 used and CPO 2016 Golfs listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $14,998 and mileage as low as 15395 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 2016 Volkswagen Golf.
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Should I lease or buy a 2016 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.