2013 Volkswagen Golf R (961)


This week we’re looking at the 2013 Volkswagen Golf R that will challenge a host of performance vehicles. It simply gives the driver confidence in all handling characteristics and its performance impresses even those devoted to other brands.

To me, it is fun to drive, and even funner to drive fast. It is a comfortable ride all things considered and is great on the highway, I think, mainly because of the responsive turbo at cruising speeds.

I suspect most of the pushback comes from other performance car owners in class who say the Golf R is much more money by as much as $10,000. Others say the GTI delivers much better fuel economy, and that is true but the GTI is only 200 horsepower. But for the most part the consensus of Golf R owners and competitors seems to be the limited edition R is worth the money. Go figure.

There surely is a great deal of passion on both sides with lots of love / hate discussions on the blog’s I researched.

General Information: 

Parts from the US / Canada 1%, Germany 61%. It is assembled in Wolfsburg, Germany, Classification is Compact. Cars from Volkswagen: Beetle, CC, Eos, Golf, GTI, Jetta, Jetta SportWagon, Passat, Routan, Tiguan, Touareg and Touareg Hybrid.

Handling & Performance:

There is no question this turbocharged power packed 256 horsepower engine is really exceptional. And it handles extremely well and simply is fun to drive in part due to its compact size for around town driving and parking. I appreciate the solid shifting manual transmission. The closest performers to this Golf R is the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo and the Subaru Impreza WRX STI.

The R is 3450 pounds and the solid ride will take you from zero to 60 mph in just 5.6 seconds and up to 100 mph in just 14.5 seconds. Top speed is 130 mph and although I didn’t take it there I have no doubt it will do that.


Styling is similar to its closest competitors, but I rather lean to the R and particularly like the front grill design.

Fit and Finish:

Assembly is very good inside and out.


Undeniably, at $36,000 it is expensive relative to others in class. I’m told there will only be 5,000 made for the US market so I guess there will be enough young buyers who’s parents will spend this much to provide great performance.

Conveniences and comfort:


Consumer Recommendation:

Consumers of this type of performance car are very well versed in the pros and cons of this and other similar competitors. It will, after all, not be sought by those looking for an inexpensive compact commuter or young family car. Performance buyers won’t care how much the cost and fuel economy won’t matter either.

Recognized Competition:

VW Golf R $27,000, Acura A3 $27,000, BMW 1-Series $31,000, Chevrolet Cruze $17,000, Ford Focus $16,000, Honda Civic $24,000, Honda Fit $20,000, Hyundai Elantra $17,000, Kia Forte $20,000, Mazda 3 $17,000, MINI Cooper $20,000, Nissan Sentra $16,000, Scion tC $19,000, Subaru Impreza $18,000, Suzuki SX4 $17,000, Toyota Corolla $16,000, Toyota Matrix $19,000.

Good News:

Super performer that is a kick to drive.

Bad News:

Expensive compact.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter turbocharged 256 horsepower inline 4 cylinder engine with direct fuel injection, 6-speed manual transmission, all wheel drive, power steering, stability control, anti-slip regulation, electronic differential lock, 4-wheel anti-lock power disc brakes, 15” allow wheels, front side and side curtain airbags front and back, LATCH safety system, tire pressure monitor, climate control, power mirrors, cruise control, trip computer, adjustable seat and lumbar front seats, remote keyless entry and pushbutton start, Sirius satellite radio, power windows, anti theft alarm and immobilizer theft deterrent system, 50/40 split folding rear seat, heated front seats, leather trimmed, multi-function steering wheel, power sliding tilting sunroof with shade.

Gas Stats:

$3.67 / Gal avg.  Jan. 29, 2013


For more information.

19 City and 27 Highway MPG


MSRP $36,090.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com

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