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2017 Volkswagen Golf Hatchback Quick Spin Review

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Filed under Automotive, Test Drives, Volkswagen


The Volkswagen Golf has long been a benchmark for the compact car segment in hatchback form and continues to thrive in such an endeavor with the latest 2017 model year. For, 2017, the Volkswagen Golf no longer comes in two doors and simplifies the option packages leaving only two primary trim levels until you move to the more enthusiast inspired GTI or Golf R variants.

>> Get the best price on the Volkswagen Golf from a network of local dealers now. <<


For the 2017 model year, the VW Golf is initially offered in either an S trim or Wolfsburg edition both featuring the brand’s highly praised 1.8-liter turbocharged TSI 4-cylinder engine, which outputs 170 horsepower at 4,500 rpm and a healthy 199 lb-ft of torque at a low 1,600 rpm. The engine gets mated to either a standard 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic. My early-model-year-production Golf TSI SE test vehicle, retaining the SE trim from last year, features the automatic transmission, which is one of the very few options that can be had on the new Golf apart from making the exterior or interior color sections. The SE trim, which is no longer available for the normal Golf, is a mid-range trim level with a middle-of-the-row set of features.

See Also: 2016 Volkswagen Golf R Review & Test Drive


The conservative styling remains present with a relaxed design to fit the “normal” mold of decent-looking transportation. For 2017, the base level Golf TSI S makes do with fundamental features but lacks the appeal of the several GTI trim level’s standard features and added performance. The new S and Wolfsburg trim levels omit many of the outgoing trim level features for a more basic approach that will require that you move to a Golf GTI if you are more concerned with amenities or alloy wheels larger than 16 inches. As an example, my Golf TSI SE test vehicle included features like automatic headlights with foglights, heated seats with perforated simulated leather seating surfaces, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There is still the expected soft-touch dashboard and a touchscreen infotainment unit with VW’s Car-Net App-Connect that can serve as your navigation in all Golf vehicles. The latest infotainment unit, which features swipe/drag features much like today’s smartphones with a simple and easy-to-use interface, can integrate with your smartphone to provide expanded features.


Volkswagen’s basic approach with the Golf pays dividends starting with a respectable price point for a vehicle that has plenty of equipment and has an enthusiastic driving character. With that, the new Golf is an eager vehicle on the open road that feels as if it delivers much more power through the front wheels than stated on paper. The 170 horsepower and a substantial dose of torque sent through a direct-feeling automatic transmission work in harmony to move the Golf SE to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds. Mostly everything about the drivetrain is what you expect, other than the Golf feeling faster than its direct competition, mostly due to the higher level of torque delivery. Throughout the powerband, there is a good amount of smoothly-delivered power without any noticeable drop-off into the 6,000-plus RPM redline.

The fuel efficiency numbers for the Golf keep with the tradition that the very first and second generation Golf vehicles offered. The 2017 Golf TSI SE gets a decent 25 mpg city, 35 mpg highway, and 29 mpg combined. The fuel consumption numbers are rather consistent, and I was able to slightly better the highway figure to get about 36.8 mpg during my time with the new Golf.


The suspension and rigid chassis do their work to give the Golf an agreeable and smooth ride quality that is poised for the autobahn. The only drawback is the more than desirable body roll when pushing the Golf through the turns. Though, I will say the more sporty suspension setup is reserved for the GTI and Golf R and the base Golf S and Wolfsburg editions are more of a basic approach.


Volkswagen has always had interiors that exude a little extra attention to detail for the money. The 2017 Golf cuts a few corners to keep the price point down with the new trim levels. Though, it would be nice to get an automatic climate control system, larger wheel options, and many of the omitted features from the outgoing SE and SEL trim levels. The seating area remains to be good, as it has been in the Golf for many years with a good amount of cargo room. The rear seats are very usable for adults and taller individuals as the roofline isn’t cut short like many other competing hatchbacks on the market. The boxy shape is also conducive of adding to cargo capacity out back with the rear 60/40-split seatbacks folded down.

The latest 2017 Volkswagen Golf thrives on remaining relevant in a drastically changing automotive world where small compact crossovers are winning over the hearts of Americans. With hatchback vehicles attempting to make a comeback on our shores, the VW Golf is a reminder to many who has kept constant in the hatchback segment without deviating far from what many first loved about the versatility and performance of earlier generations.


The 2017 Volkswagen Golf TSI S starts at an MSRP of $19,895 before any fees for the manual transmission-equipped vehicle. My automatic transmission-equipped test vehicle comes to an as-tested price of $26,265, including an $820 destination charge.

Note: The Volkswagen Golf TSI SE is no longer offered and replaced with either the S or Wolfsburg trim levels. To get additional features apart from the S and Wolfsburg trims you must move choose a Golf GTI.

>> Get the best price on the Volkswagen Golf from a network of local dealers now. <<

>> Get the best price on the Volkswagen Golf from a network of local dealers now. <<


  • Price: Base Golf S $19,895 / As-Tested Golf SE $26,265
  • Vehicle layout: Front-engine, FWD, 5-passenger, Compact Hatchback
  • Engine: 1.8-liter turbocharged inline-4-cylinder 170 horsepower @ 4,500 rpm / 199-lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm
  • Transmission: 6-speed automatic w/ steering wheel-mounted shift paddles
  • Curb weight: 3,023 lbs.
  • Wheelbase: 103.5 in
  • Length x width x height: 168.4 x 70.8 x 56.5 in
  • Headroom: f/r-38.4 in./38.1 in.
  • Legroom: f/r-41.2 in./35.6 in.
  • 0-60 mph: 7.2 sec
  • EPA city/hwy fuel econ: 25 mpg / 35 mpg
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 13.2 gallons

>> Get the best price on the Volkswagen Golf from a network of local dealers now. <<


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