2012 Volkswagen Golf

The 2012 Volkswagen Golf is one of the best affordable compact hatchbacks in the market. It is popular mainly because of the engine options it provides which include an available diesel engine, all that to go along with a high quality interior.

This car offers a level of refinement that beats most of its comparatively equipped rivals, and is closely related to the performance-oriented GTI.


General Info
Vehicle Type: Hatchback 2-Dr Base Price: $17,995.00
Fuel Tank Capacity: 14.5 gallons (55L) MPG: 23 city / 33 hwy
Length: 165.4 in. (420.1 cm) Wheel Base: 101.5 in. (257.8 cm)
Height: 58.2 in. (147.8 cm) Width: 70.3 in. (178.5 cm)
Curb Weight: 2968 lbs (1346 kg) Ground Clearance: 5.4 in. (13.7 cm)
Luggage Capacity: 15.2 cu ft Maximum Seating: 5 people
Engine: 2.5L Inline-5 DOHC Compression Ratio: 9.5: 1
Horsepower: 170 HP Max RPM: 5700 RPM
Torque: 177 lb-ft @ 4250 rpm Transmission: 5-Speed Manual
0-60 mph: 7.8 seconds Maximum Speed: NA
Available Trims & Engine
Option:2.5L 2-Door w/ Conv Pkg MSRP: $19,030; MPG: 23 city / 33 hwy
Option:2.5L 4 Door MSRP: $19,795; MPG: 24 city / 31 hwy
Option:2.5L 4 Door w/ Conv Pkg MSRP: $20,830; MPG: 24 city / 31 hwy
Option:TDI® 2.0L Diesel 2-Door MSRP: $24,235; MPG: 30 city / 42 hwy
Option:TDI® 2.0L Diesel 4-Door MSRP: $24,935; MPG: 30 city / 42 hwy
Option:TDI® 2.0L Diesel 2-Door w/ Sunroof & Nav MSRP: $25,955; MPG: 30 city / 42 hwy
Option:TDI® 2.0L Diesel 2-Door Tech Pkg MSRP: $27,640; MPG: 30 city / 42 hwy

Engine & Performance

The VW Golf is among the most powerful subcompacts currently available on the market. Its base engine is a 2.5L 5-cylinder that makes 170 hp and 177 lbs-ft of torque. This engine is connected to a standard 5-speed manual gearbox or the optional 6-speed automatic transmission.

You get 24/31 mpg city/highway with the automatic transmission, 23/31 mpg city/highway with the manual transmission.

The TDI trims come with a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder powertrain that generates 140 hp and 236 lbs-ft of torque. This engine is mated to a standard 6-speed manual transmission, although a customer can opt for the optional 6-speed automated manual (DSG).

These mechanisms enable the Golf to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 8.7 seconds, and achieve a fuel economy 30/41 mpg with the manual and 30/42 with the DSG. The TDI also gets a sport-tuned suspension for better performance.


This 5-passenger hatchback is offered in 2-door and 4-door body styles, which are broken into 2.5L and TDI trims. At the front end, you will find a bumper that runs between the grille and air dam. At the rear end, you will notice the taillights which have darkened the lenses, as well as white reflectors at their bottom.

The base 2.5L Golf comes with 15-inch steel wheels, heated mirrors, and keyless entry and fog lights as standard exterior features. TDI models come with all standard features found on the 2.5L plus low ride height, heated windshield washer nozzles, and 17-inch alloy wheels. If you would like your car to come with a sunroof, then you will have to opt for the available sunroof and navigation package.


2012 Golf comes with one of the highest quality cabins among affordable-small-cars. The seats are very comfortable and offer enough room, particularly for the driver. One of the key standard interior features is the adjustable lumbar-support for the front seats, which makes rides more comfortable to their occupant. All seats also come with standard height adjusters.

Other standard features include: CD stereo with auxiliary input jack, one-touch power windows, power locks and air conditioning. TDI trims come with a leather-wrapped steering column with audio controls and a touch-screen stereo. Optional features include: moon-roof, heated seats and Dynaudio stereo. The Golf offers a cargo space of 15 cubic ft, but after tucking the 60/40 split-folding rear-seats, the space increases to 46 cubic feet.

Safety & Reliability

The list of standard safety features is long and impressive. These features include: emergency trunk release, traction control, brake assist, electronic stability control, integrated turn signal mirrors, 4-wheel disc brakes, 4-wheel ABS, front-seat side impact airbags, side curtain airbags, driver and front passenger airbags and rear head airbags.

Volkswagen covers all new 2012 Golf’s with a limited warranty that lasts for the first 3 years or 36,000 miles, in addition to the 5-year or 60,000-mile engine warranty. Rust damages are covered by a 12-year warranty, regardless of mileage.


  • High quality interior materials
  • Comfortable rear seat
  • Available diesel engine with good fuel economy
  • Powerful engines
  • Refined driving dynamics


  • Expensive for the class
  • Poor fuel economy for the base model

In conclusion, the 2012 Volkswagen Golf is a great option for people shopping for small cars for their midsize families. The Golf combines fun-to-drive experience with luxury-car levels of cabin quality.

The 5-seater will compete against rivals like Toyota Matrix (MSRP $19,275; 26 city / 32 hwy), Subaru Impreza (MSRP $18,395; 25 city / 33 hwy), and the Mazda3 (MSRP $20,000; 27 city / 38 hwy) hatchback.

Overall Rating
77 out of 100

What others say:

“Outstanding cabin materials and construction; fuel-efficient diesel engine; spacious hatchback body style; refined driving dynamics… Unrefined and inefficient gasoline engine; higher price than many rivals.” Edmunds

“It feels solid and well-built, but the Golf’s rear seat isn’t particularly spacious–especially on three-door models.” Car Connection

“All are sporty and agile with little body lean; TDI’s sport suspension means even more nimble cornering ability. Braking is smooth and strong in general, though one test car suffered from touchy pedal action in wet conditions. R benefits from its stiffer suspension and all-wheel drive, but feels a bit too heavy to be called sports-car agile.” Consumer Guide

“The ride is supple and controlled. Interior quality is impressive and feels solid. The front seats are supportive, but the rear is cramped. Curtain air bags are standard.” MSN Auto-ConsumerReports

“No significant changes to the base car, but option packages have been simplified. Those Golfs equipped with the 2.5-liter 5-cylinder gasoline powertrain are available in Golf, Golf with Convenience, and Golf with Convenience and Sunroof guises.” KBB