2017 Volkswagen Golf TSI SE new car reviews

The quintessential European hatchback continues to pour out of Volkswagen's plants. Our test car featured four doors, a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and a 6-speed automatic transmission. How much will it set you back? This one was outfitted with some nice features and was quoted at $25,445, but Golfs start at about $19,000.

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Ed Higginbotham
PunchyWrench - Ed Higginbotham

Let me cut to the chase: I think this is one of the best utilitarian hatchbacks on the market at the moment.

First, the drivetrain is great. It provides enough power to move around in traffic with ease, and the automatic transmission in these cars is fantastically smooth. On the highway it's poised and relaxed. Road noise is present, but not bad.

Moving to the interior, there is easily enough room for four adults. Front seats are comfortable and all controls are laid out logically.

One interesting feature that may point in the direction of future infotainment systems is present: There is no nav system installed in the car. You just plug your phone into the car and the screen on the dash allows you to use whatever GPS system you typically select on your device.

When you pop it in and out of reverse you'll hear a very noticeable electric motor noise and small thud coming from the rear of the car. Don't worry, it's just the reverse camera popping out from under the VW emblem.

There's nothing extremely fancy about this car. It's all about utility. And the exterior follows that theme: It's not going to jump out at you as stunning or ugly. It just looks like what we've all learned to identify as a Golf. If you want a hatchback that is going to stun people, you might want to check out Honda's lineup.

In the end, I have no complaints about the car and I think it's an ideal tool for daily commutes, especially in cities.

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Brett_Murphy GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/23/17 4:21 p.m.

Black Forest Industries is making a project out of one of these instead of getting a GTI. You should see if they want to advertise on your page

pointofdeparture GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/23/17 5:17 p.m.

I want to like the new VWs so bad. I had terrible luck with the handful of older ones I've owned, but I want to think they've improved. Unfortunately every time I start considering them something else comes out about poorly designed timing chain tensioners killing engines, or cams breaking, or Dieselgate, etc that just makes me super reluctant to trust their vehicles.

Clarty Reader
3/23/17 9:19 p.m.

I bought a new, red 2016 Golf S 5-speed in July and have since driven the car over 12,000 miles. It's been an utterly joyous experience. Mine's the S trim level, which is one step down from your test car, but it's still well-equipped. The only thing I really miss is heated seats, but my old W126 didn't have those either. Enthusiasts tend to dismiss the lower trims, with the 5-speed box and 15" wheels, but mine cost me just over $17,000 (msrp over $21,000) and the base engine is decently quick and efficient. I am sad the Golf is available with a manual only in the lower trims, but I actually prefer lower trim levels. I haven't had a leaky sunroof or other problems. I do wonder how the radio will hold up after a decade and 200,000 miles. I'm 49, have a wife, young kid and two border collies. The lowly Golf is a magnificent little car for our small family.

Brett_Murphy GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/23/17 9:35 p.m.
Clarty wrote: two border collies.

If you think nothing of having two border collies, you're probably willing to put up with all kinds of insanity on a day to day basis, though.

Shaun HalfDork
3/27/17 12:34 p.m.

Compelling package and price point for sure.

MattW Reader
3/27/17 2:24 p.m.

I hate new cars and hate their pricing but this really is a good value.

I hate all of you that can afford a new car too.

The end.

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