2017 Volkswagen Golf Review

Pros & Cons

  • Squared-off hatchback design provides lots of room for cargo
  • Premium interior materials
  • Engine is powerful and fuel-efficient
  • Automatic transmission doesn't shift as responsively or intuitively as we prefer
  • Fewer luxury and convenience features offered than on rival hatchbacks
List Price Range
$13,553 - $18,999

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

If you're interested in a car with a small footprint, economical engine and sizable cargo area, it's a great idea to look at a compact hatchback. Although this segment has numerous entries (most automakers with compact sedans offer a hatchback version), the 2017 Volkswagen Golf is one of the best. Volkswagen has been refining its world-dominating hatch over four decades, and it shows with the Golf's classy cabin and a sophisticated ride quality. And unlike years past, you don't have to pay a hefty premium to get into a well-equipped Golf.

Both Golf trims are less expensive than their 2016 counterparts, in part due to a consolidation of the lineup. VW has discontinued the two-door Golf and reduced the number of trim levels from four to two. The deletion of the two-door and its base trim means the Golf S is the new entry-level model. Last year's SE model has been replaced by the significantly less expensive Wolfsburg Edition trim, with only the SE's Fender audio system and 17-inch wheels not making the transition. The top-range SEL has also been discontinued, as have the eye-catching Lighting and safety-tech-heavy Driver Assistance packages.

It's an odd change for Golf, which, in recent years, we viewed as a slightly more upscale and expensive choice for a hatchback. This 2017 Golf is still quite desirable, but there's less stuff to help it stand out. Some high-end features can still be found on the Mazda 3, which offers sporty styling and handling to boot. Another strong contender is the Honda Civic, which comes in a hatchback version this year. Other smart choices include the new Chevrolet Cruze hatch, the popular Ford Focus and the value-packed Kia Forte. Overall, though, the Golf 's first-class cabin and punchy engine help it stay one of our top picks.

Standard safety features for the 2017 Volkswagen Golf include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, hill hold assist, a rearview camera, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. 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 Wolfsburg Edition trim includes forward collision warning, forward collision mitigation with automatic braking, rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring.

Also standard is VW's Car-Net emergency telematics system, 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, a Golf with 18-inch wheels stopped from 60 mph in 119 feet, which is a good result for this class.

In government crash tests, the 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 Golf earned the highest rating of Good in tests for moderate-overlap and small-overlap front-impact tests. It also earned a Good score in the side-impact, roof strength and head restraint (whiplash protection) tests.

Notably, we picked the 2017 Volkswagen Golf as one of Edmunds' Best Used Cars.

2017 Volkswagen Golf models

The 2017 Volkswagen Golf four-door hatchback is available in two trim levels: S and Wolfsburg Edition. The all-electric e-Golf, sporty Golf GTI and high-performance Golf R are similar models but are reviewed separately.

Standard features for the Golf S include 15-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, a rearview camera, air-conditioning, cruise control, a driver information display, height-adjustable manual front seats (with power recline and manual lumbar adjustment), a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 60/40-split folding rear seats with a center pass-through, a cooled glovebox, a 6.5-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity, and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, auxiliary audio input, a USB port, HD and satellite radio and smartphone integration (VW's Car-Net App-Connect that features Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink). Opting for the automatic transmission adds steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Upgrading to the Wolfsburg Edition model adds 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights and wipers, a sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, heated front seats, imitation leather (premium vinyl) upholstery, a forward collision warning system with automatic emergency braking, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.

The only option is a set of 18-inch wheels, available for either trim.

Powering the 2017 VW Golf is a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that drives the front wheels through either a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic. Rated power output is 170 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque with the automatic. On manual-equipped Golfs, engine torque is limited to 184 lb-ft.

The EPA estimates for this engine are 29 mpg combined (25 city/35 highway) with the automatic. The manual-transmission model also gets 29 mpg combined. These are decent figures, though some top rival hatchbacks do even better. On our mixed driving evaluation route, we managed to achieve an impressive 32 mpg from a loaded Golf with the automatic.

In Edmunds testing, this same Golf accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds, making it one of the quicker cars in the small sedan/hatchback class with a base engine.

Driving

Thanks to the 170 hp on tap from its turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the 2017 Volkswagen Golf feels more powerful than most other small hatchbacks or sedans. The punchy engine makes overtaking cars on the highway uneventful, with smooth, quick downshifts coming from the snappy automatic transmission. Driving in heavy traffic reveals some faults, though. The car tends to lurch from a standstill, and the transmission has trouble figuring out which gear it wants to be in during low-speed travel. If you don't mind rowing your own, getting the five-speed manual is a solution; it's also easy to shift thanks to a light-effort clutch pedal and distinct shift gates.

On a typical commute, the 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 see out of and park in tight spaces. Around turns, the Golf goes where you point it, but it's not particularly sporty. Competitors such as the Civic, Focus and Mazda 3 feel tauter and are generally more fun to drive with enthusiasm.

Interior

The 2017 Volkswagen Golf's interior features attractive 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. Honestly, there isn't much of a difference between a well-loaded Golf and entry-level luxury cars such as the Acura ILX, Mercedes-Benz CLA or Audi A3.

Every Golf comes with a 6.5-inch touchscreen as standard. It's a little small by 2017 standards, and the graphics aren't supersharp, but otherwise there's a lot to like. It has an intuitive menu structure and large virtual buttons. Another positive attribute is standard Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink functionality. These systems allow you to easily integrate, display and use many of the apps from your smartphone, including Spotify and Audible.

Front seats provide ample support and comfort, even during long-distance driving stints, and not at the sacrifice of rear passengers. The Golf's ample legroom 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 substantial 52.7 cubic feet of space.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2017 Volkswagen Golf.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Impressed
J F,01/03/2017
TSI S 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5M)
Great fuel mileage, very sturdy on the highway. Previous GTI owner (1989 European model)...performance with manual is better than the 8valve GTI. Shifting is a bit vague, and clutch release is very short. This Golf continues to be fun to drive, extremely economical, and after almost 16,000 miles, still surprising. I am averaging over 35 mpg combined, and often see over 40 mpg going to work--no traffic and hitting no traffic lights. Have considered trading for a new truck, but the trade value is very low in my opinion. The clutch is finally feeling good--a gearbox support installed by the local VW speed shop made all the difference. I was hesitant, but was assured they would remove it if I didn't like it. The guys at the dealership car wash even commented on how much better the clutch felt. Perhaps I drive like a grandma, but I am greatly exceeding the EPA estimates for fuel mileage. As far as handling and interior quality--the car feels as tight as it did new. If you are looking for a car that is relatively fun to drive, but do not want to fork out the money for A GTI or Focus ST, the Golf is a superb alternative at a fraction of the price.
GTI Lite
Dan,01/04/2017
TSI Wolfsburg Edition 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
Have had a 2017 TSI Wolfsberg w 6 spd AT for a month and 800 miles now. Still a little too new for good evaluation but so far I'm thinking this is gonna be a great car. Nice thing about the '17 Wolfie is that it is better equipped than the any of the 2016 TSIs. Comes standard with 16" Alloys, Front Assist with Autonomous Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Monitor with rear traffic alert, automatic headlights, and such niceties as a power sunroof, heated front seats, keyless access & start, and rain sensing wipers. Although I have desired a GTI for the last 6 years, I realized the extra performance was something I would benefit from or use < 5% of the time & simply couldn't justify the added cost. Got the Wolfburg for $20,830 + T & L; that was about $10K less than a GTI with DAP which was a must for me. But of course to be perfect (at least for me) it needs about $1,500 in accessories such as larger rear sway bar, Auto dim Homelink mirror, pop up hatch, LED tails & headlights; and of course better tires - upgraded to Michelin Premiers for best suite of AS characteristics for Pacific Northwest weather. Even with these upgrades it is still a steal compared to the GTI. Items such as pop up hatch, larger RSB & Homelink mirror not available on GTI at any price so I would added them to a GTI also. Only weak point I have detected so far is the OEM lights are quite poor. It's a shame that the Lighting Package was discontinued as an option for all Golfs except high end GTI models. This Golf replaced a much loved 2011 Honda Fit -- very similar utility, almost identical interior & exterior dimensions, but quite a significant boost in performance & comfort over the Fit. The best brief description I can give for the Wolfsburg edition is "GTI Lite" or "Honda Fit On Steroids". So far in love with my Wolfie, but with < than 1,000 miles so far I've got my fingers crossed for reliability compared to many Hondas & Subies I have owned. 1-8-18: First Year Update: My Golf now has 7,800 miles on it and has done a great job hauling my butt and stuff. I did the fore mentioned upgrades including replacing the poor head & tail lights with Euro spec aftermarket units - mucho better! I'm averaging 35 mpg highway & 28 in Seattle traffic which pretty good but a bit less than I had hoped. So far it has needed two repairs: fuel door was sticking & replaced under warranty and blind spot warning signal on drivers mirror just stopped workingwas due to snow covering sensor after heavy snowfall. Overall I'm happy with car, but unfortunately it the minor repairs tend to support the impression that this car is gonna have more problems then my previous Hondas and Subarus. 6-7-18: running trouble free past 7 months. Highway mileage has improved to 37 (ave speed 65 mph) 1-9-19 Update: Still enjoying the ride but not the leaky sunroof. Was repaired under warranty and no longer leaking. 7-9-19: No issues the past 6 months, still happy with it except I have a hankering for slightly larger car that uses less fuel. Looking hard at a Kia Niro PHEV 10-2019: Past 3 months have been trouble free with my Golf , no issues. But our city driving had more than doubled due to becoming "taxi service" for our granddaughter & a friend. We decided we would like something a bit larger and better city fuel economy. So we traded Golf for Kia Niro PHEV.
My third Volkswagen Golf
LowerEastSider,05/25/2017
TSI S 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
I turned in my 2014 Golf TDI (diesel powered) and bought my new 2017 TSI (gas powered). The new car is better than the old one in almost all respects. The engine is smooth and powerful. I don't miss the diesel vibration at all. It's hard to imagine anyone wanting more power. The new Golf feels less nervous and handles with greater precision than my old Golf. I also fit a little better behind the steering wheel. Trunk space is a little bit bigger than in my old Golf. I purchased the below trunk floor organizer accessory. This reduces overall trunk room somewhat, but provides hidden storage for tools and small valuable items. The radio, while very functional, does not sound as good as the radio in my 2014 Golf or in my old 2002 Golf. But it is adequate. The car driving position is a little bit low, but I have gotten used to it. I ordered the base "S" model, which is fairly well equipped, but missing heated seats and a few other items. I bought the "S" because I did not want a car with a sunroof (I'm tall). The ventilation system is exceptional, probably the best I've had in any car so far. There's just something about the way it moves air through the car. The seats are OK. They could be a little more comfortable, but they do not give me backaches. The car is a very easy car to drive, especially in city traffic.
Good car for daily commuter
Shushera,01/17/2017
TSI Wolfsburg Edition 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5M)
At first I dismissed VW since I could not get features I needed with manual transmission. VW came up with Wolsfburg edition. This was perfect configuration. I loved the car when I bought it. Very smooth, you ride it like on rails, quiet too - unlike Civic and Mazda 3 I testdrove. Has enough power and good pickup on low RPMs. I thought I got luxury car for a price of econobox. Still happy with the car 15K and almost two years later. Ride is smooth and car is quiet, in fact first car I did not add additional noise insulation to. Initially had some vibrations around 1200 RPM on higher gears but I learned to avoid that area. Have not tried GTI but this car is good enough for me. I do my own maintenance and certified oil is on expensive side especially if you are after newer VW 504.00/507.00 standard. Dealer will use older VW 505.00 and that has a potential to create more intake valve deposits. Expensive cleaning will be needed then, reported time is 60-100K miles. Just something to keep in mind.

Features & Specs

MPG
25 city / 35 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
170 hp @ 4500 rpm
MPG
25 city / 35 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
170 hp @ 4500 rpm
MPG
25 city / 36 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
Gas
170 hp @ 4500 rpm
MPG
25 city / 36 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
Gas
170 hp @ 4500 rpm
See all Used 2017 Volkswagen Golf features & specs

Safety

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%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2017 Volkswagen Golf

Used 2017 Volkswagen Golf Overview

The Used 2017 Volkswagen Golf is offered in the following submodels: Golf Hatchback. Available styles include TSI Wolfsburg Edition 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), TSI S 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), TSI S 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5M), TSI Wolfsburg Edition 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5M), TSI SE 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), and TSI SEL 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A).

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

Price comparisons for Used 2017 Volkswagen Golf trim styles:

  • The Used 2017 Volkswagen Golf TSI Wolfsburg Edition is priced between $13,553 and$18,299 with odometer readings between 13129 and43292 miles.
  • The Used 2017 Volkswagen Golf TSI S is priced between $14,499 and$16,890 with odometer readings between 19249 and56662 miles.
  • The Used 2017 Volkswagen Golf TSI SEL is priced between $18,999 and$18,999 with odometer readings between 18344 and18344 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 2017 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) 2017 Volkswagen Golf for sale near. There are currently 14 used and CPO 2017 Golfs listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $13,553 and mileage as low as 13129 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 2017 Volkswagen Golf.

Can't find a used 2017 Volkswagen Golfs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Volkswagen Golf for sale - 6 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $24,434.

Find a used Volkswagen for sale - 5 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $10,570.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen Golf for sale - 4 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $14,337.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen for sale - 8 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $9,186.

Should I lease or buy a 2017 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.

Check out Volkswagen lease specials
Check out Volkswagen Golf lease specials