Volkswagen Golf Estate (Mk8) Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear
Subscribe to Top Gear magazine
Sign up to our Top Gear Magazine
Friday 22nd September


What is it like to drive?

Overall the Golf Estate is as grown-up and refined as it has ever been, which makes the interior infotainment niggles that much more infuriating.

The 1.0-litre 3cyl engine that comes in the entry level Life-spec car is a willing engine that still manages to be quiet and refined, especially at motorway speeds. There’s only 109bhp and 148lb ft of torque being sent to the front wheels so it does struggle when fully loaded, but it’s a novelty to have three pedals and the 6spd manual gearbox is as precise as it needs to be.

Advertisement - Page continues below

The 1.0-litre TSI’s main problem isn’t to do with the drivetrain itself – it manages a respectable 0-62mph time of 10.5 seconds and tops out at 126mph. The issue is that the more powerful 128bhp four-cylinder is only £600 more. Volkswagen says the most popular car in the range is the 113bhp 2.0 diesel in Life spec, perhaps an indication of the sort of cheapo fleet buyers who like VW Golf Estates.

What about the more powerful diesel?

That manages 0-62mph in 8.7 seconds and hits 139mph at the top end. It pulls well enough, has even better motorway manners than the petrol and would be the best choice if you’re planning to tow. It’ll also manage over 60mpg without really breaking a sweat. It works well in the 4x4 model, which is rated for towing up to 1,500kg braked and 750kg unbraked, but you’ll get closer to 50mpg there because of the extra energy the 4x4 set-up demands. 

What’s the ride like?

Lower spec cars get a simple torsion beam rear suspension setup that doesn’t lend itself to a particularly engaging drive, but means the ride is slightly softer than you’ll find in something like a Ford Focus Estate. The Octavia Estate is spongier still, though. The Alltrack 4x4 adds more movement to the mix with its raised ride height despite fancier suspension – the trade-off for its off-roading pretensions.

The larger engines are combined with more advanced multi-link rear suspension that improves handling and feel, while R-Line models get firmer sporty set-ups. There’s even optional Dynamic Chassis Control that offers Sport, Comfort and Normal modes if you’re willing to get the wallet out, but we’d suggest that £950 would be better spent elsewhere.

Advertisement - Page continues below

Highlights from the range

the fastest

Volkswagen Golf 2.0 TSI R 4Motion 5dr DSG
  • 0-624.9s
  • CO2164.0g/km
  • BHP320
  • MPG
  • Price£44,070

the cheapest

Volkswagen Golf 1.0 TSI 115 S 5dr
  • 0-6210.2s
  • CO2113.0g/km
  • BHP115
  • MPG
  • Price£22,100

the greenest

Volkswagen Golf 2.0 TDI Life 5dr DSG
  • 0-6210.7s
  • CO2103.0g/km
  • BHP115
  • MPG
  • Price£29,870

Variants We Have Tested

compare car finance
Powered byZuto Logo
more on this car
Take one for a spin or order a brochure
Powered byRegit Logo

Subscribe to the Top Gear Newsletter

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, you agree to receive news, promotions and offers by email from Top Gear and BBC Studios. Your information will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

BBC TopGear

Try BBC Top Gear Magazine

Get your first 5 issues for £5