2019 Volkswagen Golf R Hatchback

#17
in Hatchbacks
2019 MODEL
$40,395 - $41,495 See Inventory Prices

2019 Volkswagen Golf R Hatchback Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

The Golf is one of those cars which Volkswagen can never afford to get wrong. It has been a bench mark in the hot-hatch segment for a long time and it was refreshed for 2018. Come 2019, the Golf R has now been introduced with 40 new quirky colors but of course the Golf is much more than that.

The Golf R is powered by a 2.0L, Turbocharged, 4-cylinder engine producing 288 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. It's mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox or an optional 7-speed dual clutch DSG gearbox driving all four wheels. You'd have to shell out $40,395 for the Golf R and that's just the starting price.

 

See detailed review »

Pros

Lots of power from a very sweet sounding engine

Superb handling with adaptive suspension

Good quality interiors with virtual cockpit

6-speed manual or DSG gearbox, both are amazing

Cons

It’s quite expensive over the Golf GTI

What's New?

No major changes


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$40395

bodystyle

4dr Hatchback

passenger capacity

5

drivetrain

AWD

engine type

horsepower

288 hp @ 5400 rpm

torque

280 lb.-ft. @ 1800 rpm

transmission

6-speed manual

chassis

suspension front

Independent strut suspension w/anti-roll bar

suspension rear

Independent multi-link suspension w/anti-roll bar

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.

payload capacity

959 lbs.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

21/24/29 mpg

highway range

420.5 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

6 years/72000 miles

drivetrain warranty

6 years/72000 miles

corrosion warranty

12 years/unlimited

roadside assistance

yes


Pictures & Videos


Styles

 2019 Volkswagen Golf R Hatchback in Deep Black Pearl color  2019 Volkswagen Golf R Hatchback in Indium Gray Metallic color  2019 Volkswagen Golf R Hatchback in Lapiz Blue Metallic color  2019 Volkswagen Golf R Hatchback in Oryx White Pearl color  2019 Volkswagen Golf R Hatchback in Tornado Red color
Deep Black Pearl

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

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


 2019 Volkswagen Golf R Hatchback 2.0T w/DCC and Navigation

2.0T w/DCC and Navigation

power
288 hp @ 5400 rpm
fuel
Premium unleaded (recommended)
mpg
26 combined

$40,395 - $41,495


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
2.0T w/DCC and Navigation 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M) Starting at $40,395 MSRP (21 mpg/24/29 mpg) 288 hp @ 5400 rpm, 2 L, I-4, premium unleaded (recommended)
See Full Specs
6-speed manual all wheel drive 5
2.0T w/DCC and Navigation 4dr Hatchback AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM) Starting at $41,495 MSRP (23/26/30) 288 hp @ 5400 rpm2I-4premium unleaded (recommended)
See Full Specs
7-speed automated manual all wheel drive 5

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2018 Volkswagen Golf R Hatchback
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MPG: 25 mpg combined

2017 Volkswagen Golf R Hatchback
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2017 Volkswagen Tiguan Limited SUV
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MPG: 21 mpg combined

2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback
8.9/10

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MPG: 27 combined

2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback
8.3/10

Engine: 220 hp @ 4700 rpm2I4

MPG: 27 mpg combined

2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack Wagon
8.0/10

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MPG: 25 mpg combined

2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback
8.6/10

Engine: 220 hp @ 4700 rpm2I4

MPG: 28 mpg combined

2018 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen
8.4/10

Engine: 170 hp @ 4500 rpm1.8I4

MPG: 28 mpg combined

Expert Review


CARHP Editorial March 13, 2019


The Golf R is joined by its sister car, the Golf GTI to give it some competition. Also joining the bandwagon are the Honda Civic Type R and the Subaru WRX STI which are also very competitive performance cars in this segment. Let's see how the competition rolls.

Metallic Blue Golf R Rear
Metallic Blue Golf R Front

2019 Volkswagen Golf R Hatchback Features

The Golf R just comes in a single trim and that is the 2.0T. It has a 2.0L turbocharged engine that can be mated to a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed dual-clutch DSG gearbox. All-wheel drive comes as standard.

Trim

2.0T

MSRP

$40,395

Key Features

Digital cockpit LCD gauge cluster

 

LED headlights and taillights and daytime running lights

 

45 exterior color options

 

Leather seats

 

Bigger brakes that are optional in the GTI are standard here

 

DCC (Dynamic Chassis Control)

 

Apple and Android smartphone integration

 

12-way power driver's seat

 

Eight-speaker Fender audio system

 

Passive keyless entry

 

Heated front seats

 

Backup camera

 

Rear spoiler

 

19-inch wheels blackened Alloy wheels

We’d Recommend:

There is just one trim to choose from but there are several ways to configure your Golf R. If you are the purist, you would want to choose the 6-speed manual and the good news is that it’s great. If you do not have such bias, the upgrade to the DSG is really worth it. It shifts very quick, gives better performance off the line is a little more fuel economical. Another feature worth opting for is the DCC which Dynamic Chassis Control which enhances the performance even further.

2019 Volkswagen Golf R Hatchback Engine

“You'd never know by looking at it, but the Golf R provides remarkable real-world performance for a variety of drivers. The all-wheel-drive system makes the power easy to harness and adds stability in wet weather.” - Edmunds

The Golf R is powered by a 2.0L, Turbocharged, Inline-4 cylinder engine that churns out 288 hp @ 5,400 rpm and 280 lb-ft of torque at 1,800 rpm. The most notable thing about it is its sound. The growly engine note with pops and crackles tickles you at the right places. Throttle inputs are rewarded with a glorious surge of power from quite low in the rev range. The engine loves to rev anyway. There is lots of power on tap to keep the car on its feet all the time. It pulls like its tail is on fire.

2019 golf r engine bay

There are two gearboxes available on the Golf R – standard 6-speed manual or an optional 7-speed DSG. Both gearboxes are a breeze. In the manual, the clutch is easy and light, well-spaced, the shifter feels good to use and slots into gears precisely. It really gives you the joy of stick shifting like you’d want to enjoy. The 7-speed DSG has always been a great gearbox. It’s very quick and responsive. There are paddle shifters for manual control which are also a joy to tap on. The Golf R is, of course, faster with the DSG gearbox and it helps with the fuel economy as well. In race mode, the shifts are even more aggressive and instantaneous.

Models

Volkswagen Golf R

Honda Civic Type R

Subaru WRX STI

Volkswagen Golf GTI

MSRP

$40,395

$35,700

$36,595

$27,595

Engine

2.0L Turbocharged inline-4

2.5L, Turbocharged, Inline-4

2.5L, Turbocharged, Boxer-4

2.0L, Turbocharged Inline-4

Transmission

7-speed dual-clutch automatic

6 Speed manual

6-speed manual

6-speed manual/7-speed dual-clutch

Horsepower

288hp@ 5400 rpm

306hp@6500rpm

310hp @6000 rpm

228 hp @ 4700 rpm

Torque

280 lb.-ft. @ 1800rpm

295 ft-lbs@2500rpm

290 lb.-ft. @4000 rpm

258 ft-lbs. @ 1500 rpm

When compared to its rivals, the Golf R is competitively powered. However, the Golf GTI which is actually its sibling might seem underpowered. However, the point with the GTI is that it promises almost similar levels of performance while still being quite practical. All cars have a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Acceleration

The Golf R is very quick off the line. It just takes 4.5 seconds to shoot to 60 mph with the DSG gearbox. The all-wheel-drivetrain along with a very efficient launch control system is to be credited for that ridiculously fast time for a hot-hatch. It is the fastest in the competition and really feels like so. The launch control system is easy to engage and the grip levels from the four-wheel-drive system are commendable.

Models

Volkswagen Golf R

Honda Civic Type R

Subaru WRX STI

Volkswagen Golf GTI

0-60 MPH

4.5

5 sec

5.7 sec

6.0 sec

Quarter mile

13.4

13.7 sec

14.1

14.5 sec

Engine

2.0L

2.5L

2.5 L

2.0L

Emission

(Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year)

NA

7.1

NA

6.5

When it comes to straight-line speed, the Golf R is quickest in this bunch. The Golf R smashes its competition in both 0-60 sprints and quarter-mile runs. The Golf R is followed by the Civic Type R and then the WRX in terms of straight-line performance. The Golf GTI is the slowest in this group. 

Ride and Handling

The Golf R handles like a dream. It strikes the perfect balance between comfortable ride quality and sporty handling. There are five drive modes to choose from – Eco, Normal, Sport, Race and Custom. Depending on the mode you are in, the DCC (Dynamic Chassis Control) adapts the suspension by taking inputs from the wheel sensors and front and rear acceleration sensors to optimize the damping forces on each wheel individually.

2019 Volkswagen Golf Adaptive Chassis Control

The ride remains composed and supple in the comfort mode and the car would soak up most bumps quite easily. Dial-up to the ‘race’ mode and you’d be surprised how well the car changes character. It remains superbly planted through fast corners with great body stability. The all-wheel-drive system is brilliant is ensuring grip levels at each point in time. It is mostly front biased but could send all 100% power to the rear wheels if need be. It really brings out the fun character of the car.

The steering is predictable, sharp and precise and adequately weighted at every speed. It weighs up at higher speeds and remains light and easy at low speeds which makes it a great daily driver. There is great feedback from the steering wheel. You could chuck it into a corner and you would always know where it is going. The fact that it’s so predictable makes it very easy but fun to drive.

Braking

The larger brakes that are optional on the GTI come as standard on the Golf R. It takes 159 ft to come to a dead stop from 70 mph which though not best in the class, is quite good indeed for this class. The brake pedal is adequately firm and has a good feeling and provides a good bite every time. The car remains composed under hard braking as well.

Models

Volkswagen Golf R

Honda Civic Type R

Subaru WRX STI

Volkswagen Golf GTI

Brake Front (in.)

13.4

13.8

13

13.4

Brake Rear (in.)

12.2

12

12.2

12.2

Curb Weight (lbs.)

3300

3117

3391

3062

70-0 MPH (ft.)

159

142

156

174

Having less weight doesn't help the GTI's case here and having smaller brakes does show up as it takes 174 ft to slow down to 0 from 70 mph. The larger brakes help Golf R take around 15 feet less than Civic Type R which stops in 142 feet. Any better brakes and you might have your guts all over the place. 

2019 Volkswagen Golf R Hatchback Fuel Economy

There is a lot to expect from a hot hatch in terms of performance. When it comes to fuel economy, one might expect the Golf R to be a letdown but that is not the case. The Golf R returns 22 miles to the gallon in city driving and 28 miles to the gallon on the highway. 

Models

Honda Civic Type R

Subaru WRX STI

Volkswagen Golf GTI

Volkswagen Golf R

MPG (city)

22

17

24

21

MPG (highway)

28

22

32

29

MPG (combined)

25

19

27

24

The Golf R has a pretty decent fuel economy for a hot hatch. It returns 24 miles to the gallon combined which is not the best in class but certainly not far behind. Its sister car, the Golf GTI has the best fuel economy figures mainly because of its lower power.

2019 Volkswagen Golf R Hatchback Interior

“As we've come to expect from the entire Golf family, the top-spec R model has a handsome but functional interior with excellent fit and finish, attractive materials, and tastefully upscale accents.” – Car and Driver

The interiors too carry the same idea of simplicity and neatness. It hasn’t changed much over the years except for the infotainment screen growing larger. The design is familiar with an 8-inch infotainment screen in the center of the dashboard. The AC vents and the climate controls sit on top and bottom of the screen respectively.

Fit and finish of the interiors are really nice although there are some cheap bits of plastics used here and there. The big highlight in the Golf R is Audi's "Virtual Cockpit" instrument cluster which comes as standard. It is very configurable and looks quite cool indeed. For a petrolhead, it is a pretty comfortable cabin to spend time in, particularly due to the engine sound that is amplified into the cabin in race mode.

Models

Volkswagen Golf R

Honda Civic Type R

Subaru WRX STI

Volkswagen Golf GTI

Passenger capacity

5

4

5

5

Front Head Room (cu.ft)

38

38.4

39.3

39.8

Shoulder room

55.9

56.9

55.6

56

Legroom

41.2

42.3

43.3

41.2

Rear Head Room (cu.ft)

38

38.1

37.4

37.1

Shoulder room

53.9

55

54.2

54

Legroom

35.6

35.9

35.4

35.6

The seats in the Golf R are quite comfortable. The seats have good bolstering and hold you quite well and are heated as well. The rear seats have central armrests and AC vents as well. However, the legroom in the rear seats is a little less when compared to its rivals but the seats themselves are very comfortable. Also, seating five may be a problem because the central tunnel is quite high. The Civic Type R offers the most shoulder room for the rear seat passengers. In terms of legroom for the rear seats, all the vehicles in this group are at par. 

Infotainment System

The infotainment system is pretty easy to use. The screen size is 8-inches with really good graphics. It has all the features you’d ever require in present times including a surround-view camera system. The system is a touch screen unit and it responds to commands adequately without any delay. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay come as standard which is a great boon.

Image result for 2019 vw golf r infotainment

The "Virtual Cockpit" instrument cluster is controlled through buttons on the steering wheel. They can be configured to show vehicle information or even navigation. The infotainment system also has a feature that shows boost pressure, power usage and even a G-force meter.

Cargo Capacity

The Golf GTI does not have the largest cargo area. In fact, its cargo area is even lesser than the one in the GTI because the all-wheel-drive system sits on the rear axle and eats up some boot space. Still, it is large enough to pack in three to four large bags quite easily.

Models

Volkswagen Golf R

Honda Civic Type R

Subaru WRX STI

Volkswagen Golf GTI

Cargo Capacity

22.8

26

12

22.8

The Golf platform just hits every one off the park. But, Civic Type R just has 3 cubic feet more! Subaru disappoints with meager 12 cubic feet and its a sedan. 

2019 Volkswagen Golf R Front Seats
2019 Volkswagen Golf R Steering Wheel
2019 Volkswagen Golf R Gear Lever
2019 Volkswagen Golf R Virtual Cockpit
2019 Volkswagen Golf R Infotainment Screen

2019 Volkswagen Golf R Hatchback Exterior

“The Golf R, like the GTI, is an understated car. But it’s this subtlety that makes the top-end R model so visually appealing. It doesn't need a big, shouty wing or dramatic red accents – it’s secure in its level of performance without resorting to such primitive automotive threat gestures.” – Motor1

The Golf R is a smart looking car, yet quite understated about the performance it packs. It looks very similar to the GTI, save some minor changes. The new LED headlamps are sharp and distinct. The bumper is a little different from the one in the GTI. It’s deeper, does not have the fog lamps and looks more subtle yet smarter than the one in the GTI.

The side profile remains very simple and plain but the 19-inch wheels add some contrast to the design. The blackened 19-inch wheels have been very tastefully designed. The standard 18-ones look great too. The rear of the car also remains fairly simple with LED tail lamps, quad exhaust pipes instead of two like in the GTI and there’s a mild diffuser as well. Save from the R badges all around and the aggressive bumper, it’s much understated about the design.

It has the classic Golf like look and the designers haven’t messed around much with it. Honestly, we like it that way. Bearing clean lines and a neat profile, the Golf will always remain a classy hot-hatch.

Models

Honda Civic Type R

Subaru WRX STI

Volkswagen Golf GTI

Volkswagen Golf R

Curb weight (lbs.)

3117

3391

3062

3300

Length(in)

179.4

180.9

168.0

168.4

Width(in)

73.9

70.7

70.8

70.8

Height(in)

56.5

58.1

57.8

56.5

Ground clearance (in)

5.1

4.9

5.1

4.8

Wheelbase (in)

106.3

104.3

103.6

103.5

Track width (in) F/R

63/62.7

60.2/60.2

60.6/59.7

60.7/59.7

The Golf R is pretty compact with its dimensions. It differs from the GTI only by small amounts. It’s a little longer than the GTI, lesser in height, sits lower as well and has almost the same wheelbase. The Civic Type R and the Subaru WRX STI are quite bigger than the Golf R but the R greatly benefits with its nimble handling due to such compact dimensions.

Exterior Features

  • LED Daytime Running Lights
  • Chrome strip visually connects the headlights to a revised grille
  • R-painted brake calipers
  • Unique mesh pattern grille
  • Bespoke R wheels
  • Subtle side skirts
  • Quad exhaust pipes
  • Unique rear diffuser
  • Rear Spoiler

2019 Volkswagen Golf R Hatchback Safety

The 2019 Volkswagen Golf R has not been tested by either NHTSA or IIHS and we cannot offer you their ratings yet. However, the Golf R is well loaded with quite a lot of safety features and that is quite reassuring. The 2018 model of the Golf R had received a 5 star rating from the NHTSA, particularly because of the exterior design which can absorb collisions really well.

Safety Features

  • Forward Collision Warning
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring (Front Assist)
  • Blind Spot Monitor
  • Rear Traffic Alert
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
  • Lane Keeping System (Lane Assist)
  • Park Distance Control
  • Parking Steering Assistant (Park Assist)
  • High Beam Control (Light Assist)

2019 Volkswagen Golf R Hatchback Competition

Volkswagen Golf R vs Honda Civic Type R

The Honda Civic Type R is an extremely capable car. Yes, you may not be fond of it’s over-styling but you certainly cannot miss it. It’s surprising how it can balance between sporty handling and comfortable ride so well. The engine is powerful and it pulls like a beast. However, it does not sound quite as good as you’d think. It’s a great track machine.

2019 Volkswagen Golf R with 2019 Honda Civic Type R

The Golf R, on the other hand, is a great daily driver that has equal amounts of performance. It’s much understated inside out than the Type R and is much easier to live with every day. The choice comes down to your preference. If you want a sporty and fun daily driver with lots of practicality, it’s the Golf R but you’d have to pay some more for that. If you want drama, outright performance and still save some money, it’s the Civic Type R.

Volkswagen Golf R vs Subaru WRX STI

The Subaru WRX STI is a thoroughbred rally car. It has extremely capable driving dynamics and its all-wheel-drive gives you great traction off the road. It looks like a proper old-school sports sedan with that huge wing. The interiors are functional but do not feel much special.

It also has a very stiff suspension, low fuel economy, less cargo space and the cabin isn’t as refined as a lot of noises seem to filter through. The WRX STI is a pretty performance-focused car. If that is your only priority, the WRX STI is a great buy. For every other person, the Golf R is the best everyday car that also promises bucket loads of thrill. You wouldn’t mind paying some bit extra for all the things more you can do with this car.

Volkswagen Golf R vs Volkswagen Golf GTI

The Golf R and the Golf GTI are essentially the same cars except that the engine in the Golf R produces some more power and hence performance is better. There is very little visual difference, the interiors are the same, and the handling characteristics are the same too in that they both are great daily drivers balancing both worlds very well.

Image result for 2019 vw golf R with 2019 golf gti

However, in spite of the extra power and performance that the Golf R packs in, it does not justify such a hefty premium over the GTI of around $13,000. The GTI already is all the car one should need and while the Golf R does it better, it is not worth so much money. The Golf GTI is the better buy among the two as it’s very usable and really very satisfying.

2019 Volkswagen Golf R Hatchback Final Verdict

The Volkswagen Golf just keeps getting better and better and with the Golf R, it satisfies every petrolhead who wants to keep it subtle in front of Mommy but when she’s not looking, you know what beast you have in your hands. The sound from that 2.0L, turbocharged engine is really sweet and boy, does it handle like a dream.

Honestly, if you buy this car, you wouldn’t need any other car. But so is the case with the Golf GTI and in fact, it costs far lesser. Probably it does not quite justify the premium over the GTI but the performance will put a smile on your face every time and you could still live with it daily. If money was not a concern, the Volkswagen Golf R is every bit worth it.