2019 Volkswagen Golf Review

Pros & Cons

  • Squared-off hatchback design provides lots of room for cargo
  • Premium interior materials
  • New engine and transmission significantly improve fuel economy
  • Excellent handling abilities for a car in this price range
  • Fewer luxury and convenience features offered than on rival hatchbacks
  • Touchy brakes
  • Less power than similarly priced hatchbacks
List Price Range
$17,995 - $24,499

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Which Golf does Edmunds recommend?

If we were looking for a car with all the gizmos, we'd pass on the Golf. Competitors have more to offer. That's why we'd stick with the base Golf S. You only forgo a handful of features, and you still get a lot of refinement. As the engine can seem a little overworked with the six-speed manual, get the automatic transmission.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

7.8 / 10

There's a lot happening underneath the hood of the 2019 Volkswagen Golf. VW has replaced the previous turbocharged 1.8-liter engine in favor of a smaller turbocharged 1.4-liter engine. Also gone are the aging five-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions. In their place are six-speed and eight-speed units, respectively.

You rarely hear "smaller is better" in America. And true enough, the 2019 Golf is down on power: 147 horsepower, compared to 170 hp last year. Fortunately, the new engine, which is also used in the Jetta, makes a strong 184 pound-feet of torque almost from idle. The new eight-speed automatic shifts quicker and smoother, too. Then there's fuel economy. The EPA estimates you'll get 32 mpg in combined city/highway driving from a 2019 Golf with the automatic, which is a 4-mpg improvement.

Overall, we're optimistic about the change, and it keeps the Golf relevant. And if the horsepower loss really troubles you, you can always upgrade to the Golf GTI. But you might have a harder time deciding after you look at what else you can get for a similar price. The Honda Civic hatchback is an excellent car, especially with its punchy and efficient 1.5-liter engine, and the Kia Forte hatchback gives you a surprisingly long list of available features. There's also an all-new Mazda 3 hatchback on the way.

2019 Volkswagen Golf models

The 2019 Volkswagen Golf is available in two trim levels, S and SE. Both trims receive the same turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine (147 horsepower, 184 pound-feet of torque) and send power to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. An eight-speed automatic is available as an optional upgrade.

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Standard equipment on the Golf S now includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. You also get 15-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights and taillights, automatic wipers, and heated side mirrors. Inside, you'll find a leather-wrapped steering wheel, manually adjustable seats with lumbar adjustment and power recline, cloth upholstery, cruise control and a rearview camera.

Infotainment is handled by a 6.5-inch touchscreen system with Bluetooth and USB connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and an eight-speaker sound system.

Upgrading to the SE gets you heated washer nozzles, 16-inch alloy wheels and a sunroof. Inside, the SE upgrades to simulated-leather upholstery, heated front seats, and keyless entry with push-button start. The SE's infotainment system is upgraded to an 8-inch touchscreen that comes with a CD player and satellite radio, along with VW's Security & Service app.

The optional Driver Assistance package for the SE adds 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic high beams, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Volkswagen Golf SE (turbo 1.8L inline-4 | 6-speed automatic | FWD). Note: Since this test was conducted in 2018, the Golf's engine and transmissions have changed. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Golf, however.

Driving

Handling and steering are exceptional, but a strange brake pedal feel imparts the sensation that you are learning to use the brakes for the first time, every time. The new engine is down on power but not torque. Based on our impressions from the new Jetta, we think the new engine-transmission combo will improve drivability.

Acceleration

For 2019, the Golf loses some power, coming down to 147 horsepower. However, the down-low torque and automatic transmission's extra gears mean most drivers won't miss the ponies.

Braking

5.5
There's bite from the brakes when you initially press the pedal but little effectiveness as you gradually increase pressure. Combined with a lack of feedback from the pedal, it makes it difficult to stop smoothly. More often than not, you'll crunch to a stop and dip the front end. Also, every downshift along the way causes a lurch. Our panic stop from 60 mph lasted 129 feet, which is slightly longer than average in this class.

Steering

8.5
Steering effort is light with a slight increase in resistance at higher speeds. Although the vehicle seemingly starts turning as soon as you steer away from center, the Golf is never darty. Overall, the car's response to steering inputs feels very natural and intuitive.

Handling

9.0
The Golf is easily one of the best-handling cars in the segment. Body roll is well-controlled in sweeping corners; you'll really only feel it in quick and tight left-right transitions. It feels like VW started with the sporty Golf GTI and worked backward to make the standard car rather than the other way around.

Comfort

7.5
Even though it is one of the best-handling vehicles in the class, the Golf rides smoothly on city streets. The seats hold up well over long distances, too. At higher speeds, the cabin is slightly quieter than other compact hatchbacks.

Seat comfort

8.0
Both front seats are height-adjustable and feature manual fore/aft and power recline adjustment. The seats are comfortable overall, but the seat bottom is a little flat. There's also not much lumbar adjustment. The rear seatbacks and bottoms are set at comfortable angles, but the bottom is short.

Ride comfort

8.5
Perhaps due in part to the smallish 16-inch wheels, the Golf's ride quality is comfortable on most surfaces. It glides over broken pavement, but you'll feel the typical high-frequency vibrations on washboard roads. Uneven road dips can cause the body to lean heavily to one side.

Noise & vibration

7.5
The cabin is well-insulated from outside noise at a stop, but you will hear the engine idle. Engine noise is also apparent at low to moderate speeds, but it's nearly unnoticeable while cruising on the highway. Road noise is muted at all speeds. There's some mildly intrusive wind noise at highway speeds.

Climate control

7.0
The Golf's manual climate control system is as basic as it gets. There are no rear vents for backseat passengers. Heated front seats get comfortably warm rather than truly hot. Even though the shade is perforated, the sunroof does not let heat radiate into the cabin.

Interior

8.5
There's not as much legroom as in class leaders, but a tall roofline ensures easy entry and exit, along with plenty of headroom for adults. The driving position is fantastic thanks to a clear view out and plenty of steering wheel and seat adjustment. The narrow pillars allow for excellent visibility.

Ease of use

8.5
Most physical controls are within reach and easy to understand. The only exception is those on the steering wheel; it will take some time to figure out what all 17 buttons do. The touchscreen's user interface features a logical menu layout and numerous buttons to access high-level functions easily.

Getting in/getting out

8.5
The Golf's tall, flat roofline provides easy entry for all passengers. Due to the high doorsills, you'll have to pull your feet closer to your body than you would in rivals as you exit the vehicle. The grab handles are large, sturdy and don't require much force to close.

Driving position

8.5
The standard height-adjustable front seats and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel provide a generous range of motion. The instrument panel is easy to see no matter how you position the wheel. But the armrests aren't close enough to the wheel to plant your elbows on them.

Roominess

8.0
The Golf has abundant headroom for tall passengers front and rear, even with the SE's mandatory sunroof. The rear seat is a little tight for adults, and the narrow middle seat and intrusive transmission tunnel mean that three-across seating should only be attempted occasionally.

Visibility

9.0
The thin front pillars and tall windows provide an expansive view forward and to the side. The long rear doors allow for plenty of glass in the rear three-quarters view, helping to eliminate blind spots. The rear pillar is slightly wider than average, but it's still easy to see out the back.

Quality

7.0
Soft-touch plastics and faux-leather door trim give the Golf's interior a high-quality look, but the center console's hard plastic looks a little low-rent. Turn up the bass and the speakers rattle. We could hear some panels in our test car rattling against each other.

Utility

8.5
Whether the rear seats are up or down, the Golf can carry more than its chief competitors. Despite the Golf's tight packaging, it has many places to store small items.

Small-item storage

9.0
The Golf makes excellent use of its limited interior space. The tall, long front door pockets can each accommodate a pair of water bottles, while the rear door pockets will hold one water bottle each. And there's additional storage beneath the center console, under the armrest, and in the sizable glovebox.

Cargo space

8.5
The cargo area is wide and flat, and it has an adjustable load floor. It's also massive, with 22.8 cubic feet of space with all seats in use. Folding the rear seats flat requires moving the front seats forward a bit, but it's worth the effort. The cargo area then measures 53.7 cubes, one of the largest in the segment.

Child safety seat accommodation

8.0
Two Isofix anchors are located on each of the outboard rear seats; they are concealed under removable plastic covers that are easy to access. Attaching a strap to either of the seatback tethers requires removing the cargo cover. The cramped back seat might make installing a rear-facing car seat difficult.

Technology

8.0
VW's latest infotainment system improves upon its predecessor in a number of ways, including quicker response times and a larger screen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, but there's only one USB port. Some advanced safety features aren't available. There's no onboard navigation either.

Audio & navigation

8.5
We liked the Golf's previous infotainment system, and the new version, paired with a larger 8-inch touchscreen, is even better. The high-definition graphics complement an easy-to-operate user interface. Thoughtful touches, such as virtual buttons that fade away as you move your hand from the screen, further enhance its appeal. We like that you can preview artist and song info before switching radio stations. Audio quality isn't great, but it is on par with systems in competitors' midtier models.

Smartphone integration

8.5
The Golf supports multiple physical media inputs for listening to audio files. A CD player and SD card reader are located in the glovebox, while an auxiliary input and USB port reside under the center console. Many competitors offer multiple USB ports. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard.

Driver aids

7.0
Our SE tester came with a rearview camera, a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, and forward collision system with automatic braking. The blind-spot system can be a little slow to react to vehicles entering your blind spots. Some rivals offer a more comprehensive set of aids.

Voice control

7.0
The voice control system is quite good at identifying names in your contact list. If you're in the correct radio band, it's also easy to switch radio stations. Switching stations on different bands — between satellite radio and FM, for example — is more difficult. Natural speech detection is minimal.

EdmundsScorecard

Overall7.8 / 10
Comfort7.5
Interior8.5
Utility8.5
Technology8.0

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2019 Volkswagen Golf.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

What a GREAT car!!
Taylor Family,12/05/2019
1.4T S 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 8A)
Tremendous handling, quick, responsive and GREAT on gas!! Plenty of leg room front and back. Seats 4 adults comfortably!
White lightning
Richard,06/28/2020
1.4T SE 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
I have a white se with a six speed manual. It’s a pocket rocket. I find myself doing 80 on the interstate without realizing it and it’s ready to go at the green light. I’m 6’2 and this car has amazing leg and head room. I have no idea what gas mileage I’m getting I just no it is on par with my last car, Corolla. I do find the voice recognition for the infotainment system frustrating. The b pillar is to wide. The interior is perfect except for the center arm rest. All in all I love this car.
Amazing
Tia,10/30/2019
1.4T S 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
I love this car so much, compact but enough space for a single person.
Golf actually is fun!
Richee,11/20/2020
1.4T SE 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
Never golfed, seems boring, BUT I’m digging my 2019 Golf SE with 6-speed Manuel. Smooth ride, plenty of upscale options, had to go out of state to find, on the 250 mile trip home on toll/interstate highways, I averaged 39.3 mpg & that’s going 70-80 most of the time. This car is engaging, plus I got to keep all those nice things, leather, heated seats, sunroof, Apple play, it’s white out, black inside. Perfect so far!

Safety

Our experts like the Golf models:

Blind-Spot Monitoring
Alerts the driver when a car enters a blind spot. Includes rear cross-traffic alert that warns about approaching cars when reversing.
Forward Collision Warning
Detects an impending front collision and warns the driver to take action.
Autonomous Emergency Braking
Applies the brakes automatically to avoid a front collision should the driver fail to act.

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 2019 Volkswagen Golf

Used 2019 Volkswagen Golf Overview

The Used 2019 Volkswagen Golf is offered in the following submodels: Golf Hatchback. Available styles include 1.4T SE 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 8A), 1.4T S 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 8A), 1.4T S 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M), and 1.4T SE 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M). Pre-owned Volkswagen Golf models are available with a 1.4 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 147 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2019 Volkswagen Golf comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 8-speed shiftable automatic, 6-speed manual. The Used 2019 Volkswagen Golf comes with a 6 yr./ 72000 mi. basic warranty, a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 6 yr./ 72000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2019 Volkswagen Golf?

Price comparisons for Used 2019 Volkswagen Golf trim styles:

  • The Used 2019 Volkswagen Golf 1.4T SE is priced between $19,500 and$24,499 with odometer readings between 2822 and22880 miles.
  • The Used 2019 Volkswagen Golf 1.4T S is priced between $17,995 and$17,995 with odometer readings between 21364 and21364 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 2019 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) 2019 Volkswagen Golf for sale near. There are currently 6 used and CPO 2019 Golfs listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $17,995 and mileage as low as 2822 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 2019 Volkswagen Golf.

Can't find a used 2019 Volkswagen Golfs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Volkswagen Golf for sale - 7 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $14,709.

Find a used Volkswagen for sale - 12 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $14,709.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen Golf for sale - 4 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $14,771.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen for sale - 7 great deals out of 7 listings starting at $8,277.

Should I lease or buy a 2019 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