VW Golf R Review
The VW Golf is one of the most iconic hatchbacks built and has been on the market for well over 30 years.
Now in its 7th generation it has certainly grown up a lot and had a rocky ride along the way with certain of the marks being panned for being heavy, cumbersome and decidedly un-Golf-like.
But, the Golf is still here and retains its rightfully earned place in the market as the go-to hatch for all kinds of drivers from frugal company car owners right the way through to the top end Golf R which we are reviewing today.
When you look at the Golf R, there is not an awful lot to
differentiate it from your standard 1.6TDi, unless you are somewhat of a car fan, in which case it is rather more obvious. For some, this sleeper styling is attractive as the R is unassuming, does not shout about what it is in its looks, nor in its exhaust note. For me however this is a disappointment. Spending a decent amount of money on a hot-hatch packing over 300hp, which can propel you from 0-62mph in an Aston Martin V8 Vantage embarrassing 4.6s thanks to the super slick DSG gearbox (the Manual only manages it in 5,1s), I would want to be seen and heard (in a good way), but the sound of the 2.0TSi working its little heart out at full chat drowns everything else out including the exhaust note and actually takes away from the experience.
Yes, the styling of the Golf R is more aggressive than it’s lesser compatriots, the lowered suspension, body kit and large 18³ alloy wheels achieve this but at the end of the day, its a VW Golf. On the inside, it is more of the same. Yes there are sports seats with R badges but everything else is pretty much the same as the entry level model. Specification wise, the R is similar to the much lower trim levels in all honesty as even the SE Nav comes with Satellite Navigation, Bluetooth Hands Free, DAB Radio, Auto Lights & Wipers, Adaptive Cruise Control, Drive Mode Select, and Front & Rear Parking Sensors. The GTD benefits from Heated Front Seats, the new Active Info Display (replacing your traditional speedo clocks), and the R is all about its performance and some styling.
So, the Golf R is meant to be all about taking the family hatch and
making it as hot as possible. Yes it is fast, it handles reasonably well, oh did I say its fast? Yes¦ Well I will say it again it’s FAST, but it’s not perfect! Not by a long way. Why¦.? Well there is the turbo-lag to start with which is frustrating to say the least, inside it does not feel special in any way, outside the styling is pretty good to be fair and then there is the sound. The almost asthmatic 2.0TSi squeezing out every last of its 310hp sounds like it is working almost too hard with the engine note drowning out what should be a tuneful exhaust note. One observation made is the first thing the R needs is a Scorpion exhaust, we agree whole-heartedly!
So¦ does the Golf R achieve what it has set out to do? In short¦ Yes. VW have taken a family hatch and made it hot, but it still suffers the compromises of a hatch, whilst the hatch reeps the benefit of sportscar performance. Is it worth it? Well, if you are one of our customers lucky enough to have taken one on contract hire for the frankly ridiculous rates going around on the market then YES, it is absolutely worth it? If you are looking to just buy one for cash (north of £34,000, think what else you could get for that) or not get one of the deals out there to be had, I would then say you should consider the GTD or GTi as a viable alternative as you will not lose much in performance but save in your wallet.
For the company car driver, the Golf R is not likely to be on any fleet car list mainly for the obvious objection to a staff member running around in a hot-hatch. BIK Tax wise, at the 20% rate costing the driver only £177/month its not too bad.
Facts & Figures (Golf R 2.0TSi  R Navigation 5 Door DSG on test):
Engine: 2.0 Turbo-Charged Patrol
Transmission: DSG Automatic
Top Speed: 140mph
Fuel Economy (Combined): 39.8mpg
CO2 Emissions: 168g/km
If you would like to find out more about leasing the VW Golf R, or any other vehicle through JCS Fleet, please contact us using the online enquiry form below or call us on 01223 911 761.