2020 Volkswagen Golf TSI

The Golf’s styling is a tiny drowsy, but this car’s appears to be must age nicely.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

It can be not going to win any accolades for groundbreaking style and design, and no person will confuse it with some souped-up sports automobile, but what the Volkswagen Golf lacks in emotional charm is extra than created up for in other spots. This machine is simple and genuine, a serious salt-of-the-earth hatchback that’s not only very multipurpose but unexpectedly satisfying.

Table of Contents


  • Slick-shifting manual transmission
  • Incredible serious-entire world efficiency
  • Potent midrange torque
  • Functional cargo hold

Will not Like

  • Odd rev-hold at higher rpm
  • Motor can feel flatfooted
  • Lacks some driver aids

The Golf has been all-around considering that the mid-1970s, which means VW has experienced a long time to perfect the formfactor. Hatchback variations of the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla are strong competition for this VW, but the individuals in Wolfsburg have completed their homework. The Golf has extra backseat legroom and passenger quantity than either the Mazda3 or Corolla, its exterior style and design is practically specified to age improved than the Civic’s, and it is bought considerably extra torque than that Elantra GT.

Building matters easy, the 2020 Golf is provided in just 1 trim amount. Regular tools is relatively generous and contains driver aids like blind-spot checking, rear cross-website traffic notify and computerized crisis braking with pedestrian detection. Rain-sensing windshield wipers, keyless entry with pushbutton start and a sunroof are also incorporated at no further cost, as are 1-contact down and up ability windows. That past product is a serious convenience that must be normal on just about every car or truck these days.

Regrettably, Volkswagen does not present adaptive cruise manage, lane-centering tech or computerized large beams. To get these goodies, and extra, you have to stage up to the sporty GTI, which, to be good, is a exceptional tiny hot hatch, but it prices countless numbers extra than the humble Golf. A different disappointment is the instrument-cluster monitor. A simple white-on-black affair, it appears to be like it was ripped from an outdated-university graphing calculator and is thoroughly out of position in the 21st century. Flanking that exhibit is a quartet of analog gauges that are crisp and appealing.

On the infotainment front, just 1 procedure is provided, Volkswagen’s MIB II touchscreen array with a six.five-inch shade exhibit. This bare-bones affair is somewhat unattractive and not notably pleasant to use, nevertheless it gets the task completed. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are incorporated, but infuriatingly the automobile only has 1 USB port and it is of the kind-C assortment. This is fantastic if you’ve got bought the hottest and finest cell phone, not so superior if you might be rocking an older handset and never have an adapter. Also, how are travellers intended to cost their equipment if you can find only 1 port?

2020 Volkswagen Golf TSI

Basic and genuine, the Golf’s inside is a no-frills zone and it is all the improved for it.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

For improved or even worse, leatherette seating surfaces are your only solution. A fancy title for imitation cow skin, this materials appears to be fine and feels Alright, but cloth could possibly have been a improved preference. The Golf’s cabin characteristics a wonderful combine of tough and smooth plastics the squishy things is richly textured and used generously all through the inside, though the reliable polymers are not egregiously cheap. I’m notably fond of this car’s dashboard layout, which is thoroughly clean and unpretentious. 

Most of the Golf’s buttons and switches are Audi-esque: significant emotion and of large excellent. Curiously, even so, the local weather-manage dials are super very low-hire, limp and flimsy as you rotate them. Flanking the shifter on the center console is an array of plastic block-offs, injection-molded reminders of all the characteristics you never get.

This Vee-Dub’s front bucket seats are flat and wide, designed for larger sized clientele. Scrawny individuals like me are unlikely to discover them notably comfortable or supportive, but hey, at the very least they are heated. Rear-seat riders must have tiny to complain about. The Golf’s aft lodging present a great deal of place for heads and legs, nevertheless the backrest by itself is a contact also upright for lengthy-haul comfort and ease. 

2020 Volkswagen Golf TSI

Look at all that space!

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Real to variety, the Golf has a generously sized cargo hold. With the rear seats upright, it presents 22.eight cubic toes of quantity fold them flat and that figure grows to 52.seven. For further flexibility, you can find a two-amount flooring at the rear. In its lowered situation, it offers you a couple further inches of top, which is excellent for hauling taller objects. 

In maintaining with its single trim amount, just 1 motor is provided in this automobile, a smooth and silent-functioning 1.four-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. With direct injection, it cranks out a middling 147 horsepower, considerably less than what you get in the Civic, Corolla or Elantra, and considerably powering than the Mazda3’s 186 ponies. Relatively than going for a enormous horsepower figure, VW engineers tuned this motor for torque. And with 184 pound-toes out there at just 1,four hundred rpm, it has extra twist than any of individuals competition, conserve the Mazda, which has a mere 2 lb-ft advantage.

Giving motorists some under-hood preference, two transmissions are provided in the Golf. You can get a normal 6-speed manual, which is what my tester is equipped with, or you can shell out an further $800 for the out there 8-speed computerized. This Golf’s shifter just isn’t very as crisp as I keep in mind from previous VWs, but it is nonetheless an fantastic piece of engineering that moves slickly by way of its gates. The clutch’s weighting is just about perfect, and it has a wide engagement vary for easy use. This is 1 of individuals cars you can just jump in and generate without the need of thinking about something. Shifting with buttery smoothness, either up or down, is easy as pie. 

2020 Volkswagen Golf TSI

In maintaining with the relaxation of this automobile, the Volkswagen Golf’s motor is no fire-breather, but it is a highly affordable workhorse.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The Golf’s boosted 4-cylinder supplies a great deal of midrange torque and offers the automobile unexpectedly rapid acceleration, but it is possible to catch this hatchback flat-footed. You have to have at the very least 2,000 revs on the clock for it to definitely respond. Change a tiny also early and the motor can drop into a gap that’s difficult for it to climb out of, a difficulty with other downsized, turbocharged powerplants. A different small annoyance is this VW’s routine of hanging on to revs. When you stab the clutch at or around redline to grab the subsequent gear, the motor will never sluggish down, it lags for a next or so ahead of the revs drop, one thing that can make changing gears a tiny jerky. Fortunately, when pushed at a extra leisurely pace it won’t do this. 

Equipped with a manual transmission, the Golf stickers at 28 miles for every gallon metropolis and 36 mpg freeway. Blended, it must return 31 mpg. You can find nothing completely wrong with individuals efficiency scores, nevertheless in serious-entire world driving they confirm to be woefully inaccurate. At the very least in accordance to the onboard laptop or computer, I have no difficulties demolishing that put together figure, averaging improved than 37 mpg, even after a great deal of huge-open up-throttle romps. To be good, that figure does not include any serious stop-and-go commuting, but nonetheless, you must have no difficulties finding astonishing gas economic system in this VW. 

The car’s 205/55R16 Bridgestone Ecopia tires without doubt support deliver that amazing efficiency rating. But though fantastic for slicing use, I do not treatment for them. They feel tough, a bit greasy and appear to absence grip when cornering. At the very least the tires are fairly silent. Even when ripping down the freeway they never make much noise.

2020 Volkswagen Golf TSI

You can find tiny to grouse about with this hatchback.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Speaking of corner-carving, the Golf’s leatherette-wrapped tiller feels wonderful in my hands, staying both equally nicely sculpted and reliable. Snake this VW by way of turns and it feels forgiving, nevertheless there is a contact extra entire body roll than I would like. Boosting maneuverability, the steering is super mild at very low speeds, which helps make this automobile a snap to park, nevertheless it bulks up properly when driving a lot quicker for appropriate straight-line steadiness.

Though it won’t come with just about every single modern convenience, the 2020 Volkswagen Golf is nonetheless a whole lot of automobile for the income. Including $920 in location service fees, my tester rolled off the assembly line in Puebla, Mexico donning a sticker selling price of $24,one hundred fifteen, which helps make it a relative cut price in present-day entire world exactly where you can push a Mazda3 hatchback into the mid-$30,000 vary.

No, I never love every little thing about this VW — the front seats could be improved, and I desire it provided adaptive cruise manage — but it is nonetheless a refined machine that’s both equally multipurpose and impressively effective. It will never established the entire world on fire, but the Golf is finally a satisfying machine.