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2017 Volkswagen Golf Review

The 2017 Volkswagen Golf’s potent engines, athletic handling, high-end interior, and sizeable cargo area help it place in the top half of our compact car rankings. Its somewhat slow-shifting automatic transmission and high ownership costs stop it from sitting near the top, though.

Pros & Cons

  • Nimble handling
  • Strong engine lineup
  • Upscale interior materials
  • Plenty of cargo space
  • Automatic transmission can be slow to shift
  • High ownership costs

New for 2017

  • Two-door Golf discontinued
  • SE and SEL trims replaced by Wolfsburg Edition trim

Rankings & Awards

The 2017 Volkswagen Golf's #6 ranking is based on its score within the 2017 Compact Cars category. It was a finalist for our 2017 Best Compact Car for Families award. Currently the Volkswagen Golf has a score of 8.3 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 37 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 9.3
Performance: 8.4
Interior: 8.5
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.6
Safety: 9.3
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2017 Volkswagen Golf Overview

Is the 2017 Volkswagen Golf a Good Used Car?

The 2017 Volkswagen Golf is a good choice in the compact car class. It features fun handling dynamics, and its standard and available engines provide plenty of power for everyday driving. The Golf also boasts a refined cabin and one of the largest cargo areas in the class. Still, its automatic transmission can be slow to shift, and this VW is a little on the pricey side.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve analyzed 41 Volkswagen Golf reviews, as well as fuel economy estimates, reliability ratings, crash test results, and more, to give you all the information you need to make a smart car-buying decision.

U.S. News & World Report has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. To remain impartial, we do not accept extravagant gifts from automakers, and an outside source handles our advertising.

How Much Is the 2017 Volkswagen Golf?

There are more than 300 listings on our site for the 2017 Volkswagen Golf, with prices ranging from $16,000 to $36,900. The average list price is $22,600, which is above average for the compact car class. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2017 Volkswagen Golf Cost to Own?

Five-year estimated costs for fuel, insurance, maintenance, and repairs for the 2017 Volkswagen Golf are roughly $23,680 – or about $4,740 per year. That's slightly above average for the class.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Golf?

The 2018 Volkswagen Golf added updated exterior styling and a larger infotainment touch-screen display, as well as a longer warranty than the 2017 Golf offered when it was new. If these updates aren't important to you, stick with the cheaper 2017 Golf.

Read about the new Volkswagen Golf »

Since a used 2017 Volkswagen Golf has a steep average list price, you might want to consider a new compact car that's less than the average cost of this VW. The 2018 Mazda3 (MRSP: $18,095), 2018 Honda Civic (MSRP: $18,940), and 2019 Hyundai Veloster (MSRP: $18,500) are all less than the Golf and have lithe handling and good acceleration.

See the Best New Car Deals »

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Which Model Year of the Volkswagen Golf Is Best?

The 2017 Volkswagen Golf is part of a generation that debuted for the 2015 model year. For 2016, Volkswagen added a redesigned infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and introduced some new available driver assistance features. For 2017, VW discontinued the two-door Golf and replaced the SE and SEL trims with the Wolfsburg Edition trim.

The 2016 Golf is a better value than the 2017 model; it costs less and is very similar.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Golf »

How Reliable Is the 2017 Volkswagen Golf?

The 2017 Volkswagen Golf has a predicted reliability rating of three out of five from J.D. Power. That's average among all vehicles but slightly below average for the class.

Read more about Golf reliability »

2017 Volkswagen Golf Recalls

At the time of this writing, the 2017 Volkswagen Golf has two safety recalls. In some models, the key can be removed from the ignition when the car is not in park, and the air bags and seat belt pretensioners may not deploy. Make sure these recalls are addressed before purchasing the 2017 Golf.

See more information on Volkswagen Golf safety recalls »

Which Used Volkswagen Golf Model Is Right for Me?

The 2017 Volkswagen Golf comes in two main trims: S and Wolfsburg Edition. The base S trim comes with a 170-horsepower engine that should satisfy the average driver. It also comes with a decent number of features, including a rearview camera, a 6.5-inch touch screen, an eight-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, a USB port, satellite radio, and support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay via VW's Car-Net App-Connect.

For more driver assistance, comfort, and convenience features, consider the Wolfsburg Edition. It comes with leatherette seats, heated front seats, keyless entry, push-button start, a sunroof, rain-sensing windshield wipers, automatic headlights, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

A high-performance Golf R model is also available. It comes with a 292-horsepower engine, all-wheel drive, and most available features. It also adds a sport-tuned suspension system, sport leather seats, and performance styling enhancements.

See 2017 Volkswagen Golf trims and specs »

What Does Volkswagen's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Volkswagen offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles seven years old or less and with fewer than 75,000 miles. You receive the balance of the new-car warranty when you purchase a CPO model, and depending on your car’s model year, you get a limited comprehensive warranty that takes effect once the new-car warranty has expired. For 2018 and newer VWs, the limited comprehensive warranty is good for one year or 12,000 miles. The length of the warranty increases to two years or 24,000 miles for 2017-and-older gas, hybrid, and electric vehicles. Finally, 2016 and older TDI vehicles get a two-year/unlimited miles warranty.

VW CPO vehicles must pass a 100-plus-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing, a Carfax vehicle history report, a three-month SiriusXM All-Access satellite radio trial subscription, and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Volkswagen warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Volkswagen’s CPO program is the least robust of all auto manufacturers.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Golf?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the 2017 Volkswagen Golf a Top Safety Pick and gave it the highest rating of Good in five crash tests and an Acceptable rating in the passenger-side small overlap front crash test. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the Golf a five-out-of-five-star overall rating, with four stars in frontal and rollover crash tests and five stars in side crash tests.

The 2017 Golf comes standard with a rearview camera. Some models may also come with adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, and automatic headlights.

See Golf safety scores »

2017 Volkswagen Golf Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2017 Volkswagen Golf or 2017 Volkswagen Jetta?

The 2017 Volkswagen Jetta is a good option if you're looking for a less expensive compact car within the VW brand. Like the Golf, it's fun to drive, with athletic handling and ample power. The Jetta has a slightly better predicted reliability rating than the Golf, and it's more fuel-efficient. The Golf is a hatchback, so it has more cargo space. Plus, it has additional standard features and higher-quality materials. Overall, the higher-ranked Golf is nicer, but budget-savvy shoppers should take a look at the Jetta.

Which Is Better: 2017 Volkswagen Golf or 2017 Mazda3?

The 2017 Mazda3 delivers one of the best performances in the class. It handles twists and turns with ease, while maintaining a smooth ride. It features a quality interior with an intuitive infotainment system. It also has lower predicted ownership costs than the Golf. That said, the Golf's roomier cabin, larger cargo area, and slightly higher predicted reliability rating make it a more well-rounded vehicle.

Which Is Better: 2017 Volkswagen Golf or 2017 Honda Civic?

The 2017 Honda Civic is a highly ranked compact car with a good balance of performance and comfort. It has sharp handling, a composed ride, and solid acceleration. The Civic features a spacious, upscale cabin. It also has a slightly higher predicted reliability rating, better safety scores, and lower ownership costs than the Volkswagen. The only reason to choose the Golf over the Civic is its additional cargo space. The Civic is the winner here.

Compare the Golf, Jetta, and Mazda3 »

2017 Golf Performance

How Does the 2017 Volkswagen Golf Drive?

The 2017 Volkswagen Golf comes with a standard 170-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a quick-shifting five-speed manual transmission, and front-wheel drive. Some Golf models come with a six-speed automatic transmission, but its shifts aren't very responsive. The standard engine doesn't have a lot of horsepower, but it has plenty of pep for passing vehicles on the highway.

If you're looking for more power, you'll have to step up to the performance-oriented Golf R. It comes with a 292-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine and standard all-wheel drive.

Does the 2017 Volkswagen Golf Get Good Gas Mileage?

With its standard setup, the 2017 Volkswagen Golf earns an EPA-estimated 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, which is average among compact cars. Golf models with the automatic transmission deliver 1 less mpg on the highway.

Read more about Golf performance »

2017 Golf Interior

How Many People Does the 2017 Golf Seat?

The 2017 Volkswagen Golf comfortably seats five in its roomy, upscale cabin. There's adult-friendly space in both rows, but the low-mounted rear-seat cushions may be uncomfortable for some passengers. Cloth upholstery is standard. The front seats have a power-reclining function, but they slide back and forth manually. Some models have leatherette or leather upholstery, heated front seats, and a power-adjustable driver's seat.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2017 Volkswagen Golf?

The Golf has two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors in the rear outboard seats and an upper tether on the rear middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Golf's LATCH system an Acceptable rating for its ease of use. The lower anchors can be tricky to maneuver around, and the middle upper tether can be confused for another anchor.

2017 Volkswagen Golf Features

Standard features include a 6.5-inch touch screen, an eight-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, a USB port, satellite radio, and support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay via VW's Car-Net App-Connect. Golf R models come with an upgraded audio system and navigation. The infotainment system is easy to use and responds quickly to inputs.

See 2017 Volkswagen Golf specs »

Read more about Golf interior »

2017 Volkswagen Golf Dimensions

Volkswagen Golf Cargo Space

The 2017 Golf comes with 22.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and 52.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. This hatchback has one of the roomiest cargo areas among compact cars. The Golf also comes with 60/40 split-folding rear seats, several small-item storage areas, and an adjustable cargo floor, which is handy when loading heavy objects.

2017 Golf Length and Weight

The standard 2017 Volkswagen Golf is about 14 feet long, and its curb weight is roughly 2,960 to 3,025 pounds.

Where Was the 2017 Volkswagen Golf Built?

The 2017 Volkswagen Golf was built in Mexico, and the high-performance Golf R was built in Germany.


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