If you watch TV, you’ll probably feel bombarded and maybe slightly confused by ads for the new ‘all digital’ Golf ‑ whatever ‘all-digital’ means. For anyone who can’t afford this latest series 8 version of the Volkswagen, there are plenty of series 7s around. It was a model that was sold from 2013 until this year. Here we look at why the Golf makes a very worthy used car.
The Golf is a big-selling car
In some months the Volkswagen Golf is the UK’s best-selling model. Over the first seven months of 2020, it was our fourth best-seller, shifting more than 21,000 new models. So you’ll find plenty of choice for all budgets.
What that means to the used car buyer
What the Golf does so brilliantly is to appear completely classless, whatever model you choose. It’s the same story with comfort. The Golf is peerless when it comes to build quality and refinement. It’s abilities as an all rounder are so accomplished many people believe the Golf is the only car you ever need.
Of course, older models with higher mileages will offer a better specification for the same money as younger low mileage examples. We found 2014 and 15, average mileage Golf Match (second level of trim) examples selling for around £9,000.
Which is the best Golf to buy?
Another of the Golf’s many strengths is that a wide range of engines and trims are available. Which is the best really does come down to your budget and the kind of miles you’ll be covering. The Golf has an excellent selection of turbo petrol engines that range from 1.0-litre to 1.5-litre. All of them are decent performers in both acceleration and economy terms. There are 1.6 and 2.0-litre turbo diesels if you do higher mileages. There are also hybrid GTE versions and you can even get an all-electric Golf.
In trim terms, we think the S is a bit stingy on the spec. The Match model seems popular and there are SE, SE Nav, GT and top-spec R-Line models out there too. The higher up the specification range you go, the more luxurious the cars are. GT and R-Line models really are very well kitted out indeed with niceties such as a leather trimmed steering wheel and a wide selection of driver aids.
What the Golf does well
Quite simply, the Volkswagen Golf is a brilliant all-rounder. It’s got an androgynous shape that suits young and old, male and female alike. It’s comfortable yet feels stable and secure while remaining involving enough should you want to relish being at the wheel.
However, comfort is where the Golf really excels. The suspension will absorb bumps effectively and the quality of the sound deadening is brilliant at insulating the cabin from the outside world. Its seats are comfortable, the driving position highly adjustable and it’s all put together with a panache and premium materials that could easily come from cars a class or two above.
What the Golf doesn’t do so well
There aren’t many areas that you can criticise the Golf in. If anything, you could claim that the rear seats feel a little squashed for a family of adults. And you could say it was quite expensive for what it is. If class-topping quality and comfort aren’t high up your list, there are always the Skoda Octavia or SEAT Leon to consider. Both offer either a similar amount of space or more, they’re certainly cheaper and they’re mechanically nearly identical.
You won’t go far wrong with a Volkswagen Golf 7. You’re likely to find one that suits your taste, requirements and budget. And when you do find it, you’re unlikely to be disappointed with your choice. People might say the Golf is dull. But if classless style and comfort is boring, bring it on.
I’ve been writing about cars and motoring for more than 25 years. My career started on a long-departed classic car weekly magazine called AutoClassic. I’ve since pitched up at Autosport, Auto Express, the News of the World, Sunday Times and most recently the Daily Telegraph. When I’m not writing about cars and motoring, I’m probably doing some kind of sport or working in my garden.