The Volkswagen Golf has been the quintessential family hatchback for over 40 years, taking families from work/school during the week in the city and to the beaches and mountains on the weekend with ease.

The Range

The Golf range can seem a bit daunting to look at as it has 5 models of Golf and that is not even getting into the GTI or Performance R range. This is also a facelift version of the Mk7 Golf, Mk7.5.

We start the Golf range with the TSI Comfortline in Manual which has 92kW and 200Nm of torque 16” alloys, rear view camera and 8” multimedia system with App Connect, this starts at $33,990. Next along is the same model of Comfortline just with a DSG automatic gearbox. This also comes with all the same features as the first car but starts at $36,490.

Next we step up a notch into the Highline models, these come in petrol or diesel but both are DSG. The also both come with 110kW and 250Nm (340Nm for diesel) 17” wheels, Adaptive Cruise Control, Keyless Entry, 2-Zone Climatronic and Blind Spot Monitoring. The petrol comes in at $40,890 and the diesel starts at $43,390.

Now we have gotten to what we are looking at today, The TSI R-Line which is very similar to the petrol (no diesel version) Highline except that it comes with 18” wheels R-Line exterior body kit and R-Line interior, Sports Suspension, LED taillamps with running indicators and gear shift paddles. The R-Line starts at $43,390

First Impressions

Well the first impression would have to be the colour. I saw it from nearly three blocks away as I was walking up to the dealer. Turmeric yellow; I will give you a moment to let that sink in…… not quite gold but not sunflower yellow either.

Astrid Göring had this to say on developing the colour for the new Golf. “It was missing a yellow. I wanted a warm, striking colour. It needed to be bright. Then I saw the colour on a test piece. It looks spicy, I thought, though not really curry-coloured. I felt the name Turmeric fit the colour well. But it wasn’t a colour that anyone here in the team had expected. It took a little time to convince them.”

I have to admit when I picked it up it was not a very bright day and I was not a fan of the colour, it somehow managed to be bright but also a somewhat dark and dreary colour at the same time. But when you have the colour in some sun it does have a nice warm rich look to it that I liked, then a contrast in the dark it looks almost grey, with flashes of yellow ping off the car from the street lights and catch your eye. The colour was starting to grow on me as it would transform in different lighting conditions.

The R-Line is not to be mistaken for the much sportier Golf R. The R-Line is purely cosmetic changes to a standard Golf FSI. On the outside you get a new front and rear bumper along with trapezoidal exhaust, glossy black sills, aero flaps, a sporty rear spoiler and R-Line badges. This turns a normal Golf into a Golf with attitude, giving the outward appearance of a much sportier car but having the fuel efficiency and comfort of the standard Golf.


Sitting in the Golf I felt at home. Being a Golf owner myself I almost felt like I was in my own car, although a lot newer. I knew where everything was and did not have to orientate myself to where indicators or wipers where, a Golf is a Golf is a Golf. The interior is really nice with a clear progression from my Mk5 Golf. There is an updated centre console with new touch-screen infotainment system with Nav, Android auto and Apple Carplay.

With the R-Line package you also get specific R-Line trim and sport seats. These are however cloth seats, and not leather. Leather is available as an optional extra but will set you back $4000, but does also include heated seats and electrically adjustable front seats with memory.

Another nice feature that comes with the R-Line package is the leather multi-function sports steering wheel with gearshift paddles. This is very comfortable to hold and gives another sporty feel to the car, making it a bit more special.

The rest of the interior is still sleek and stylish, with piano black trip surrounding the gear stick which works its way up surrounding the climate control and infotainment system to sweep across and also surround the instrument cluster. The instrument cluster itself has not yet been updated to the full LCD screen we have seen in some of the newer models from VW. It is still the speed dial and tachometer with a small lcd screen in the middle to give you important information.

Getting in the back you have just enough room that I could fit behind the driver with the seat set for me, possibly not great for a long trip but fine for quick trips. But when you have a driver who is 6’4” this is not too much of a surprise for a family hatchback, that said there would be more than enough room for the kids in the back.

The Drive

As I said already, sitting in the car felt so similar and the same can be said for driving the Golf. The R-Line comes with the sports suspension from the GTI but that is where the similarities stop. It comes with a 1.4 litre turbo petrol engine that is capable of 110kW, which is nothing to be sneezed at considering the comfort line is 92kW and the GTI is 169kW.

I felt more than comfortable with the ability of the car to have enough power for when you need to overtake but you knew it would not be overdoing it and guzzling your fuel. Speaking of which, with a good bit of city driving and some motorway time I was getting average 7.5L/100km which is not bad at all, but higher than the advertised 5.4L/100km I should be getting.

As mentioned previously the R-Line comes with the sport suspension from the GTI, but I did not feel like the suspension was too hard. It still absorbs all the bumps in the road and was comfortable on the motorway but felt just a little bit squishy if you were doing any sharp corners or changes in direction. This does not take away from the great handling that we have come to expect from any Golf.

Looking the R-Line, you are right at the top of the range of the Golf – your only next step is to a GTI, that jump however is $14,000 if you want to keep the DSG or $11,000 for manual. That is a big jump if you’re not a car-crazed Golf enthusiast like me. Not much changes if you were to move to the GTI from a interior and practicality point of view. The main things that change are that you get more power, electronic limited slip diff, some gadgets, styling features and a louder exhaust. The form and function of the car does not change and I don’t think it is worth extra cost unless as I said you are a car-crazed Golf enthusiast.

What would want me to pay the $14k more for a GTI more easily is the noise. The R-Line has no sense of occasion when you put your foot down. It takes a fair bit of time to react and although you hear some low engine noise come from the front of the car nothing is coming from the exhaust, and I am not even looking for cracks or pops just a small rumble would be good for the R-Line.

What it’s up against

Executive Hatchback

Brand / Model Engine Power Fuel L/100km Price Highest to Lowest
Audi A3 1.4 TFSI 1.4 Turbo Petrol 110Kw 4.9 $49,990
Mercedes-Benz A180 1.6 Petrol 90Kw 5.8 $49.800
BMW 118i 1.5 Petrol 100Kw 4.8 $47,200
Ford Focus Titanium 1.5 Petrol Eco Boost 132Kw 6.9 $46,840
Volkswagen Golf FSI R-Line 1.4 Turbo Petrol 110Kw 5.4 $43,390
Citroen DS DS3 1.2l Petrol Turbo 81Kw 4.7 $24,990
Kia Cerato LTD 2.0 Petrol 112Kw 7.1 $39,990
Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.4 Petrol Turbo 125Kw 5.1 $39,990
Peugeot 308 Allure 1.6 Turbo Petrol 96Kw 6.5 $37,990
Toyota Corrola Levin ZR 1.8 Petrol 102Kw 6.7 $36,690
Mazda 3 GSX Hatch 2.0 Petrol 114Kw 5.8 $35,595
Holden Astra R + 1.4 Petrol Turbo 110Kw 5.8 $33,990


Pros Cons
Good handling

Fuel economy

Sporty look

Value for money

Lacking a sense of occasion.

LED lights optional extra

What do we think?

The Golf R-Line lives up to everything that you want a Golf to be; small, agile, comfortable, room to transport the family and a touch of sophistication. Add to that a very striking colour and this R-Line is a great little family hatchback.

Does it need to have more power and be louder? Although the inner boy racer in me is screaming yes, it really doesn’t. It is more than capable for any job to be thrown at it.  

Rating – Chevron rating 4 out of 5

Vehicle Type Volkswagen Golf TSI R-Line
Starting Price $43,390
Tested Price $43,390
Engine 1.4-litre 4 cylinder turbo petrol
Transmission 7-speed DSG
0 – 100 kph 8.2 seconds
Kerb Weight 1227kg
Length x Width x Height 4258mm X 1799mm X 1492mm
Cargo Capacity Unknown
Fuel Tank 50 Litres
Fuel Efficiency, litres/100km 7.6 Real world.

5.4 Advertised.

ANCAP Safety Ratings 5 Star ANCAP Safety Rating
Warranty 3 year/ unlimited km mechanical warranty, 12 year anti-corrosion
warranty and 3 year VW roadside assistance


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Alan Stevenson-Galvin (Skii)
Racing games is where my love for cars started. Always wanting to play more and more realistic games until I was allowed to get behind the wheel. Combine this with my love for technology and that has made me who I am today. I love to see my two passions combining and see what technologies are being used in the latest cars.


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