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Rankings & Awards

The 2016 Volkswagen Golf ranking is based on its score within the 2016 Compact Cars category. Currently the Volkswagen Golf has a score of 7.9 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 37 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

7.9

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.4
Performance: 8.4
Interior: 8.4
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.0
Safety: 9.3
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 Volkswagen Golf Review

The 2016 Volkswagen Golf offers poised performance and a posh interior, but a poor reliability score banishes the Golf to the bottom half of our 2016 compact car rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Athletic handling
  • Comfortable seats
  • Premium cabin materials
  • Large cargo area
  • Poor reliability rating

New for 2016

  • Redesigned infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • New optional driver assistance features

2016 Volkswagen Golf Overview

Is the 2016 Volkswagen Golf a Good Used Car?

The 2016 Volkswagen Golf is a great option if you’re shopping for a used compact hatchback that doesn’t trade performance for practicality. The Golf is fun to drive, striking an excellent balance between agile handling and ride comfort. It’s also fuel-efficient. It has a roomy, upscale interior, an easy-to-use infotainment system, and advanced safety features. However, this hot hatch has a very low reliability rating that might give some shoppers cause for concern.

Why You Can Trust Us

We analyzed 37 Volkswagen Golf reviews to give you an idea of this car’s pros and cons. We’ve also included information on fuel economy, safety, and reliability to help you decide if the 2016 Golf is the right car for you.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking the best vehicles since 2007, and our editorial staff has decades of combined experience in the automotive industry. To keep our reviews impartial, we don't accept expensive trips or gifts from car companies, and an external partner places and sells the ads on our site.

How Much Is the 2016 Volkswagen Golf?

Our site has more than 150 listings for the 2016 VW Golf. Prices range from a low of $12,000 to a high of $34,000, with the average list price sitting at $18,000. Our listings include the TSI model and the much more expensive Golf R. The model, condition, mileage, and location of the vehicle you’re looking at can all affect its price.

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How Much Does the 2016 Volkswagen Golf Cost to Own?

Over five years, you can expect to pay around $23,000 for fuel, insurance, maintenance, and repairs on the 2016 VW Golf. That's about $4,600 per year. The upkeep costs of rivals like the Ford Focus and Mazda3 are predicted to be lower.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Golf?

A new 2018 Golf starts around $21,000 and tops out around $27,200. The 2018 Golf R starts at about $39,800 and climbs to about $42,800. You can find used 2016 Golfs for significantly less money (listings range from $12,000 to $34,000). However, there are some advantages to buying new. This hatchback was redesigned for 2018, and it includes a larger touch screen. You’ll also get the benefit of a new car warranty. Unless the new look and touch screen matter significantly to you, you’ll be better off with a used Golf.

Read about the new Volkswagen Golf »

If you are looking at used Golf R models but would prefer a new car, you have options. The best new compact cars on the market will probably cost less than a used Golf R. These include the 2018 Honda Civic, 2018 Kia Soul, and 2018 Mazda3. You may even be able to get a compact SUV, like the 2018 Mazda CX-5 or the 2018 Honda CR-V. For those looking at a TDI, you’ll probably have to step down a class to find a comparably priced new car. Consider the 2018 Honda Fit, 2018 Chevrolet Sonic, or 2018 Toyota Yaris iA.

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How Reliable Is the 2016 Volkswagen Golf?

J.D. Power gives the 2016 Golf a reliability rating of two out of five, which is the lowest possible rating. Within this class, most cars earn a three or better.

Read more about Golf reliability »

2016 Volkswagen Golf Recalls

There are three recalls on the Golf TSI and two on the Golf R. They cover issues ranging from fuel system leaks (which may lead to a fire) to the rear child locks potentially disengaging. If these issues affect the 2016 Golf you are considering, be sure they are addressed before you buy.

See more information on Volkswagen Golf safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the Volkswagen Golf Is Best?

The 2016 Volkswagen Golf is part of a generation that debuted in 2015. Updates for 2016 included a new infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as additional safety features with the optional Driver Assistance package. Buying a used 2015 Golf will save you money, but you’ll have to do without these helpful features. If you step back to the previous generation with a 2014 or 2013 Golf, everything from features to styling to powertrains will be different from the 2016 model. You should stick with either the 2015 or 2016 Golf, as models from the previous generation have less cargo space and lower fuel economy.

Compare the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Golf »

Which Used Volkswagen Golf Model Is Right for Me?

Before buying a 2016 Golf, you'll need to decide which powertrain you want. The TSI has a 170-horsepower four-cylinder engine, while the performance-oriented Golf R has a 292-horsepower four-cylinder. The e-Golf is an electric vehicle (EV) with a battery pack and an electric motor.

VW offers the Golf TSI in four trims: base, S, SE, and SEL. Only base and S models are available in the two-door body style; all other models have four doors. The base Golf TSI has a 5-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, and power doors and windows. Most buyers should step up to the Golf TSI S, which adds a 6.5-inch touch screen, a rearview camera, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and satellite radio. The Golf TSI SE adds heated front seats, keyless entry, and a Fender sound system. The Golf TSI SEL adds navigation.

The e-Golf is available in two trims: SE and SEL Premium. The e-Golf SE shares most of its standard features with the TSI SE trim. The e-Golf SEL Premium adds an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, and parking sensors.

The Golf R also shares many of its standard features with the TSI SE trim, but it adds all-wheel drive, a 292-horsepower engine, a sport-tuned suspension, front and rear limited-slip differentials, and upgraded brakes. An adaptive suspension and navigation are available.

See 2016 Volkswagen Golf trims and specs »

Certified Pre-Owned Volkswagen Golf Warranty

Volkswagen CPO warranties vary depending on the model. See your VW dealer for information. CPO vehicles must pass a 100-plus point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Volkswagen warranty page carefully. The model's original sale date determines whether it is eligible for the CPO program. VW offers a good CPO program, but you'll get better coverage with competitors like Chevrolet, Honda, or Mazda.

See the best CPO programs »

Read more about the Volkswagen certified pre-owned program »

How Safe Is the Golf?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the 2016 Volkswagen Golf a Top Safety Pick+ and gave it the highest safety rating of Good in all five areas tested. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Golf a perfect five-star rating in overall and side impact performance, as well as four stars in front and rollover crash testing.

Volkswagen offers an array of advanced safety features with its optional Driver Assistance package, but feature availability differs by model. The Golf TSI SE and SEL models are available with adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with brake assist, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, and steering assists for parallel parking. Golf R models are available with all these features except parallel park assist. The e-Golf SEL has standard parking sensors and is available with parallel park assist and forward collision warning with brake assist.

See Golf safety scores »

2016 Volkswagen Golf Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Volkswagen Golf or 2016 Mazda3?

The 2016 Mazda3 and VW Golf have a lot in common. Both compact cars have high-quality interiors, sporty handling, user-friendly touch screens, and long lists of available safety features. The Mazda3 is a better option for most, as it’s available in both sedan and hatchback styles and has higher fuel economy ratings (up to 30/40 mpg city/highway). The Mazda has better crash test scores, too. However, the Golf offers more cargo space.

Which Is Better: 2016 Volkswagen Golf or 2016 Ford Focus?

The 2016 Ford Focus offers two key benefits over the VW Golf. It’s significantly less expensive – the highest list price for a Focus on our site is lower than the average-priced Golf – and it has superior fuel economy of up to 30/41 mpg city/highway. However, the VW feels more refined, from its engine to its interior, and it has a roomier back seat and more cargo space. Unlike the Focus, the Golf offers forward collision warning with brake assistance. The Focus has a slightly better, but still unimpressive, reliability rating, which gives it a marginal bump in our rankings.

Which Is Better: 2016 Volkswagen Golf or 2016 Volkswagen Jetta?

You’re likely to find used 2016 Volkswagen Jetta sedans at much lower prices than Golf hatchbacks, but the Jetta is far from cheap. It offers a silkier ride, more rear-seat space, higher fuel economy, and nearly all of the same features. The catch is that the Golf boasts a higher-quality cabin and far more cargo space, making it a better family hauler.

Compare the Golf, Mazda3, and Focus »

2016 Golf Performance

How Does the 2016 Volkswagen Golf Drive?

Regardless of powertrain, the Golf feels athletic and has lively handling, while still remaining comfortable over bumpy roads. The Volkswagen Golf TSI has a 170-horsepower four-cylinder engine. A five-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive are standard; a six-speed automatic is available. The turbocharged engine zips the Golf up to speed briskly and provides ample passing power. The manual shifts smoothly but feels heavy. The automatic operates well, though it can hesitate in stop-and-go traffic. VW also offers the Golf R with a 292-horsepower engine, along with all-wheel drive and the choice of a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The racy Golf R can blast to 60 mph in under 5 seconds. The 2016 e-Golf, an electric vehicle, has a 115-horsepower electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack.

Does the 2016 Volkswagen Golf Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Golf TSI gets an efficient 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, while the Golf R gets only 22/31 mpg city/highway. The e-Golf has a range of 83 miles.

Read more about Golf performance »

Read more about mpg-e »

2016 Golf Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 Golf Seat?

The Volkswagen Golf seats five and has a quiet, premium interior. The dashboard is elegantly styled and features quality soft-touch plastics. The front seats are comfortable and offer fine support, even on longer drives. The rear seats are roomy enough for two adults to sit comfortably. Cloth upholstery is standard; heated front seats, leather, and leatherette upholstery are available. Outward visibility is great, thanks to the Golf’s large windows.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Volkswagen Golf?

Each of the Golf's outboard rear seats has a full set of LATCH child-seat connectors, while the middle rear seat has only an upper tether anchor. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Golf's LATCH system an Acceptable rating for ease of use.

2016 Volkswagen Golf Features

The base Golf TSI has Bluetooth, a USB port, and a 5-inch touch screen; all higher trims add a 6.5-inch touch screen with satellite radio, a rearview camera, and support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. These two systems make it easy to sync your phone’s apps and functions with the infotainment system. Both screens function well and respond quickly to inputs, including swipe and pinch-to-zoom motions. Buttons and knobs at the side and bottom of each screen make it easy to adjust climate and audio settings on the go. Available features include navigation, a Fender sound system, and a larger 8-inch screen (e-Golf only).

See 2016 Volkswagen Golf specs »

Read more about Golf interior »

2016 Volkswagen Golf Dimensions

Volkswagen Golf Cargo Space

There's 22.8 cubic feet of cargo room behind the Golf's rear seats. Fold those seats down, and you’ll have 52.7 cubic feet of space. That's more cargo room than most other compact cars have.

2016 Golf Length and Weight

The Golf is nearly 14 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 2,901 pounds (two-door model with the manual transmission) to 3,023 pounds (four-door model with the automatic). Golf R models weigh between 3,305 pounds and 3,362 pounds, while the e-Golf's curb weight ranges from 3,380 pounds to 3,419 pounds.

Where Was the 2016 Volkswagen Golf Built?

The 2016 Golf TSI was assembled in Mexico. Golf R and e-Golf models were built in Germany.

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