2018 Volkswagen Golf R Hatchback

#7
in Compact hatchbacks
2018 MODEL

$39,785 - $40,885

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Overview

The first ever Volkswagen Golf R was launched in 2013 and since then, it has received some impressive changes in the styling and performance. The Golf R is a performance hatch which carries looks of the Volkswagen Golf with some exterior and interior differences like the new front and rear bumpers, LED lights, pulsing indicators, and new infotainment system.

The 2018 Volkswagen Golf R comes with a 2-liter turbocharged petrol engine 292 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft of pulling power. The Golf R is a family car which carries the racing DNA along with it. The car impresses with the acceleration taking only 5.2 seconds for the 0-60 MPH test.

Apparently, it's an AWD so, it does make the most of all that performance and it's really handy when off-roading. With the good boot, decent rear legroom, and an impressive infotainment system, this car is a steal at such a low price.

See detailed review »

Pros

Adaptive Dampers

Comfortable seats with good thigh support

Cons

Looks almost same as normal Golf

All-wheel drive system eats boot space

What's New?

New 19-inch wheel design

8-inch Infotainment

New 7-Speed Automatic Transmission


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$39785

bodystyle

4dr Hatchback

passenger capacity

5

top speed

126 mph

drivetrain

AWD

engine type

horsepower

292 hp @ 5400 rpm

torque

280 lb.-ft. @ 1800 rpm

transmission

6-speed manual

chassis

brake rotors (f/r)

12.4 in./13.4 in.

dimensions

wheelbase

103.5 in.

length

168.4 in.

width

70.8 in.

height

56.5 in.

curb weight

3300 lbs.

ground clearance

4.8 in.

capacity

passenger volume

93.5 cu ft.

cargo volume

22.8 cu ft.

towing capacity

3500 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

5.2 sec.

zero to 100 mph

18.6 sec.

standing ¼-mile

13.7 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

21/24/29 mpg

highway range

420.5 mi.

warranty

roadside assistance

No



Styles

 2018 Volkswagen Golf R Hatchback in Lapiz Blue Metallic color  2018 Volkswagen Golf R Hatchback in Oryx White Pearl Metallic color  2018 Volkswagen Golf R Hatchback in Indium Gray Metallic color  2018 Volkswagen Golf R Hatchback in deep black pearl metallic color
Lapiz Blue Metallic

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

7.4

Engine

8.5

Fuel Economy

9.0

Interior

8.9

Exterior

8.5

Safety

9.0

Driving

9.0

8.6

OVERALL RATING

Variant Name

MSRP


 2018 Volkswagen Golf R Hatchback 2.0T

2.0T

Fuel: Premium unleaded (required), Transmission: Manual, Seats: 5

$39,785 - $40,885

Configurations
2.0T w/DCC and Navigation 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
Transmission: 6M Drivetrain: AWD
MPG: (21/24/29) Torque: 280 ft-lbs. @ 1800 rpm
2.0T w/DCC and Navigation 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM)
Transmission: 7AM Drivetrain: AWD
MPG: (22/25/29) Torque: 280 ft-lbs. @ 1800 rpm

Expert Review


carhp editor October 3, 2018

8.6

Overall Rating


7.4/10
Features

 

8.5/10
Engine

 

9.0/10
Fuel Economy

 

8.9/10
Interior

 

8.5/10
Exterior

 

9.0/10
Safety

 
 
 

The 2018 Volkswagen Golf R comes with a 2-liter turbocharged petrol engine 292 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft of pulling power. The Golf R is a family car which carries the racing DNA along with it. The car impresses with the acceleration taking only 5.2 seconds for the 0-60 mph test.

Features

7.4/10

The 2018 Golf R comes only in a single trim which starts from $39,785 for the manual but if you’re looking for the 7-spd DSG automatic, you have to shell out an extra $1,300. It comes with a 2.0 Turbocharged engine with 292 horses and 280 lb.-ft of torque. No two ways about it, the Golf R is a rapid family hatchback that can out-accelerate a long list of more expensive sports cars. The 4Motion all-wheel-drive system, which comes as standard on the Golf R, transfers the power between the front and rear wheel for optimal performance right from the get-go.

Trims Golf R with DCC and Navigation
MSRP $39,785
Features
  • The Golf R w/ DCC and Nav include:
  • DCC adaptive chassis control
  • 4MOTION all-wheel drive
  • VW Digital Cockpit
  • Cross Differential System XDS+

Engine

8.5/10

"Come for the power, but stay for the torque. The Golf R's engine pulls nicely at pretty much any speed. Peak torque comes on at a casual 1,800 rpm, which makes for off-the-line performance (especially with launch control), but the broad and flat torque curve also begets very responsive throttle response whether around town or around a fast corner."-Cnet

Engine and Transmission

The Golf R is powered by a 2.0-Litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine which pumps out 292 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. It makes 72 horsepower more than the Golf GTI which generates 220 horsepower on a premium fuel.

With that might, coupled with the 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system and the adaptive dampers this hot hatch is irresistible.

Models VW Golf R Ford Focus RS Honda Civic Type R Subaru WRX STI
MSRP $39,785 $41,120 $31,100 $36,095
Engine 2.0L inline four cylinders, 16V, turbocharged/ Intercooled, TSI 2.3L GTDI 4-cylinder 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder 2.5L turbocharged SUBARU BOXER 4-cylinder
Transmission 6-speed manual Manual 6-speed 6-speed manual 6-speed manual
Power 292hp 350hp 306hp 305hp
Torque 280 lb-ft 350 ft-lbs 295 lb-ft 290 lb-ft

In comparison to the rivals, the Golf R is the Least powerful. You have the Ford Focus RS with best in class 350 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft of torque from a 2.3L 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine with All-wheel-drive system at $41,120. Civic Type-R, on the other hand, is a Front wheel drive with 306 horses and 295 pound-feet of torque from a 2-liter turbocharged engine at a price tag of $31,100, which is the cheapest among the competitors.

Acceleration

With 292 horses under the hood, you’re bound to go like a rocket with just a push on the accelerator. The 2018 Golf R does 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds and a standing quarter mile in 10.8 seconds. These impressive times are due to the fact that it’s an all-wheel drive.

Models VW Golf R Ford Focus RS Honda Civic Type R Subaru WRX STI
0-60 MPH 5.2 sec 4.5 sec 5.4 sec 5.7 sec
Quarter mile 10.8 sec 13.3 sec 14.0 sec 14.1 sec
Engine 2.0L 2.3L 2.0L 2.5L
Emission (Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year) 7.5 8.0 7.1 9.3

In comparison, Ford Focus RS leads the 0-60MPH in 4.5 seconds, but Golf R claws its way back till the quarter mile time for the Ford which is 13.3 seconds. Civic Type-R goes to 60 MPG in 5.4 seconds which is pretty impressive for a front-wheel-drive car. However, even after having the biggest engine, the Subaru WRX loses out to all others in the competition in terms of acceleration.

Handling and steering

The 2018 Golf R can be used as an everyday car. It doesn't have the stiff suspension but an adaptive damper system which has different modes like the comfort and sport. When in comfort mode, this car would cover most of the bumps in its stride which means ride quality is not compromised.

Most of the time Golf R would be a 2-wheel drive but as soon as it detects a slip, it sends power to the rear wheels for traction which in-turn helps it grips corners with precision. 7 Speed DSG is optional for $1,300. In city driving, the gear changes are silky smooth and give your left leg a rest.

Braking

Golf R comes with Ventilated discs on all 4 wheels with brake technologies like Brake assist and Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution (EBD). The front and rear brakes are 13.4 and 12.4- inches respectively. With a curb weight of 3300 pounds, it takes 108 feet for the golf to stop from 60-0 MPH.

Model VW Golf R Ford Focus RS Honda Civic Type R Subaru WRX STI
Brake Front(in) 13.4 13.8 13.8 13.0
Brake Rear(in) 12.4 11.9 12.0 12.4
Curb weight(lbs.) 3300 3434 3117 3391
60-0 MPH (ft.) 108 104 99 109

In comparison. Civic Type-R is the lightest at 3117 pounds which in turn give it the 99 ft of stopping distance from 60-0MPH. Ford Focus RS is the heaviest of the lot but it comes in 2nd place for stopping distance at 104 ft. Subaru is last with 109 feet with smaller brakes at the front and a weight of 3391 pounds.

Fuel Economy

9.0/10

Such awesome performance doesn’t come without its drawbacks. Fuel economy of the Golf R is 21 MPG for the city, 29 MPG for the highway and 24 MPG for the combined cycle of both.

Model VW Golf R Ford Focus RS Honda Civic Type R Subaru WRX STI
MPG (city) 21 19 22 17
MPG (highway) 29 26 28 22
MPG (combined) 24 22 25 19

In comparison, Civic Type-R gets the win by 1 MPG in both city and combined driving cycle but Golf R edges out in highway by 1 MPG.  Focus RS gives 19 MPG in city and 22 MPG combined, thanks to that 3434 pounds of weight. Subaru has the worst at 17 MPG in the city and 19 MPG combined.

Interior

8.9/10

"The overall look of the Golf R’s interior is very similar to a Golf’s, with the exception of a few different features. The front seats also come with large bolsters for holding the driver and front passenger in place while cornering hard. The controls and gauges are few and simple, leaving the driver to keep his attention on the pedals, steering wheel, and shifter. Overall the interior is quite nice and matches the large price tag for the hot hatch, elevating the Golf R past other high-performance compact cars."-Truecar

Seating and Comfort

Stepping inside Golf R with body-hugging sports seats with R logo. As for the passenger space, Golf R is quite good. In the front, Golf R seats get the same wide range of adjustments as offered in other Golf models, so no matter how tall you are, it’s going to be comfortable. Golf R comes standard with sports seats which provide extra support on the sides.

Back seats can easily carry 3 people which shows the amount of space you get in the rear but you're likely to hear a lot from the middle passenger who'll be having some problem for elbow room and foot room because of transmission hump in the floor.

Model VW Golf R Ford Focus RS Honda Civic Type R Subaru WRX STI
Passenger capacity 5 5 4 5
Passenger Volume (ft cube) 93.5 90.7 97.0 96.6
Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.) 38.4/55.9/41.2 39.1/55.6/41.9 39.3/56.9/42.3 39.8/55.6/43.3
Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.) 38.1/53.1/35.6 37.9/52.6/33.4 37.4/55/35.9 37.1/54.2/35.4

Against the competition, Civic Type R has 97 cu.ft of passenger space due to a longer wheelbase. Also, the Front and rear Headroom, shoulder room and legroom Civic Type-R has the max. space for adults in the front as well as in the back. Ford Focus has the least passenger volume at 90.7cu.ft.

Infotainment System

2018 Golf R has an 8-inch touch screen which is simple to navigate with the help of shortcut buttons on the screen which helps in switching from one function to another. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard on Golf R which help you mirror your smartphone navigation and media apps to the infotainment. The built-in Sat-Nav system has detailed graphics. Also, the system includes a 3-month trial subscription to VW's Car net for real-time updates on traffic, parking spaces, fuel prices, and news.

It also houses performance monitor which gives your vitals in real time with 3 digital gauges monitoring performance like multi-direction G meter, boost pressure, and engine power usage. Drive Mode selection changes the way how the car performs.

The standard Fender premium audio delivers 400-Watt amp with 8 speakers plus a subwoofer which are enough for a big music junkie.

Cargo Space

In terms of practicality, the only area where you really pay for the R’s increased performance is the boot. The regular Golf comes with 24 cubic feet of space which drops down to 23 cubic-feet to make way for car's all-wheel-drive system. With the second row folded, the space increases to an astounding 53 cubic-feet.

Model VW Golf R Ford Focus RS Honda Civic Type R Subaru WRX STI
Behind Second Row (cube ft.) 23.0 23.8 25.7 19
Second Row Folded (cube ft.) 53.0 44.8 46.2 44

In comparison, Civic Type-R and Ford Focus have more cargo space at 25.7 cu.ft and 23.8 cu.ft respectively. But they are no match for the space that the 2018 Volkswagen Golf R gives when rear seats are completely put down.

Exterior

8.5/10

"The new VW Golf is highly tailored with crisp character lines, a steep hood and a narrow horizontal grille flanked by sharp headlight clusters. The car sits low to the ground and has a wide track, giving it a more muscular, purposeful appearance, and its distinctive C-pillar treatment visually pushes the hatchback down into the road."-KelleyBlueBook

Dimensions and Weight

VW Golf R is far more grown up in looks but there’s still a hint of a race hatch that it is. The VW R looks a little bit sportier than a normal Golf. The 2018 Golf R is 168.4 inches in length and 70.8 inches in width. Ground clearance is 4.8 inches which give it the low-slung performance car look. Height is 56.5 inches with a wheelbase of 103.5 inches.

Model VW Golf R Ford Focus RS Honda Civic Type R Subaru WRX STI
Curb weight(lbs.) 3300 3434 3117 3391
Length(in) 168.4 172.8 179.4 180.9
Width(in) 70.8 71.7 73.9 70.7
Height(in) 56.5 58 73.9 58.1
Ground clearance(in) 4.8 4.7 5.1 4.9
Wheelbase(in) 103.5 104.3 106.3 104.3
Track width(in) F/R 60.7/59.6 61.6/60.6 63.0/62.7 60.2/60.6

In comparison, Subaru WRX is the longest at 180.9 inches almost 12.5 inches longer than Golf R. Civic Type-R is the tallest among the lot at 73.9 inches. With 4.7 inches of ground clearance, Ford Focus RS sits very low to the ground, which might have trouble going over speed bumps and potholes. The wheelbase of 106.3 inches in Civic will provide ample space for passengers.

Exterior Features

  • Dual exhaust with quad tailpipes
  • LED lights with an adaptive front-lighting system
  • 19” Englishtown Alloy wheels
  • LED Daytime running lights in reclined F letter style

 

Safety

9.0/10

The front and rear crumple zones help absorb the crash energy and the safety cage protects the passengers in the time of peril. Also, with a feature called Intelligent Crash response system, it turns off the fuel pump and unlocks the doors when a crash is detected. Plus, you have Front Collision Warning system, Blind Spot Monitor, Lane Assist which helps you keep the car in the lane, Adaptive Cruise Control and the list continues:

  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR), Electronic Differential Lock (EDL), and Engine Brake Assist (EBA)
  • Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution (EBD), and Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA)
  • Driver and passenger front and side thorax airbag supplemental restraint system
  • Side Curtain Protection airbags, front, and rear
  • 3-point safety belts for all seating positions; includes safety belt pre-tensioners for driver and front passenger
  • Automatic locking feature (doors lock when the vehicle reaches 8 mph)
  • LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) child seat anchor points
  • Crash-optimized front end
  • Immobilizer theft-deterrent system
  • Child-safety rear door locks
  • Intelligent Crash Response System (ICRS)
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

NHTSA Rating

The 2018 Golf R was not tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety but it gets best safety ratings from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They have rated the Golf R as 5-star overall which means it passed all the safety tests excellently. This is possible due to a vast array of safety features and the superior build quality.

NHTSA Ratings
Overall Rating 5 Star
Overall Frontal Barrier Crash Rating 4 Star
Frontal Barrier Crash Rating Driver 5 Star
Frontal Barrier Crash Rating Passenger 4 Star
Overall Side Crash Rating 5 Star
Side Barrier Rating 5 Star
Side Barrier Rating Driver 5 Star
Side Barrier Rating Passenger Rear Seat 5 Star
Side Pole Rating Driver Front Seat 5 Star
Combined Side Rating Front Seat 5 Star
Rollover Rating 4 Star

 

Competition

Volkswagen Golf R Vs Ford Focus RS

Ford Focus RS has a belter of an engine and that thrust is mind-blowing. Golf R might have turbo jabs even higher top speed than Focus RS but the insane amount of power, track and drift modes make it a winner. Interior might be a negative point of Focus RS but sheer driving and those grabby seats make for a fun ride.

Volkswagen Golf R Vs Honda Civic Type-R

If it’s everyday performance you’re looking for, the Golf R is an absolute beauty and way better than the Civic Type-R. Adaptive dampers in the VW R make the ride very subtle and composed in comparison to the stiff suspension that comes with Civic Type-R.

Volkswagen Golf R Vs Subaru WRX STI

Subaru WRX STI drives like a muscle car. It’s heavy duty AWD makes clunking and grinding sounds at car park speeds. It does have more space plus its 3 grand cheaper than Golf R but VW has brains as well as brawn and is deceptively quick. Call Golf R a civilized sports car that drives like an everyday car with a great fuel economy than Subaru.

 

Final Verdict

2018 Volkswagen Golf R is like a normal golf but given its restrained looks, you really have to sample the Golf R’s performance to fully appreciate it. The 2-Liter turbocharged engine has so much power that traffic lines can be overtaken in a matter of seconds. The 4MOTiON AWD system coupled with 7spd DSG Automatic and Adaptive Dampers makes it a perfect proposition.

Golf R is a brilliant hot hatch all around that does everything that you ever want to do with the car. Its subtle styling means it won't get the attention that you might want but there aren't many of this kind on the road who do all things at such perfection. This might be the most playful golf ever.

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