Does the German compact deserve its reputation as a reliable car?

We tend to think that buying a Volkswagen Golf is always a good investment. But is this really the case? Answer with the seventh generation of the German compact.

Generally, when you go for a Volkswagen Golf, whether you are new or used, it is because you are looking for a versatile and straightforward car. Well finished, habitable, comfortable, quite comfortable to drive, the first statement is true if we are particularly interested in the seventh generation of the German compact. The second is smaller. No, it’s not because it’s a German car that the quality / reliability balance is impeccable, nonetheless a tenacious belief.

Presentation of Volkswagen Golf VII (2012-2020)

Spread the word, the VW Golf VII is a very good vintage in terms of performance. Pedigrees of Volkswagen products will not be out of place when they take their place on board this seventh version. From the first rounds, they will realize the progress it has made in relation to its predecessor. It is sharper and more agile than its predecessor and enchants with the driving pleasure it exudes and the comfort it provides.though some anxieties may be felt and she is unable to show it to the immovable Peugeot 308. The habitability should be mentioned as an example and the trunk is one of the most spacious in the category. We still regret that the versions of less than 120 hp do not have multi-link rear axle. At the beginning of 2018, the engine offer was almost completely renewed.

VW Golf VII in a nutshell

  • Sold from Nov. 2012 to February 2020
  • Available in 3, 5-door and station wagon
  • Restyled in November 2016
  • L / W / H (m): 4.26 / 1.80 / 1.45
  • Estate: 4.56 / 1.80 / 1.48
  • Flight. trunk (dm3): 380 (break: 605)
  • Flight. tank (l): 50

On the equipment side

  • Trend lines: ABS / ESP, 7 airbags, air conditioning, cruise control, trip computer, cruise control, radio-CD-MP3, electric mirrors and windows, central locking, height- and depth-adjustable steering wheel, split bench seat
  • Comfortline: automatically adds air conditioning, alloy wheels, car lights and wiper, parking assist
  • Carat: adds GPS, leather upholstery

A balance between quality and reliability in the low average

The quality / reliability balance of the Volkswagen Golf VII is not catastrophic, but neither is it ingenious. In the last reliability survey, where it appeared (number 873), the German had only reached a 9th place among compact sedans… out of 14 analyzed models. Mechanically, whether you choose a petrol or diesel model, there are a number of irregularities. On many models, oil consumption must e.g. monitored. Among the other elements to be aware of, the Golf 7 copies have also often experienced cases of premature wear on the shock absorbers. Finally, we also noticed many electrical faults affecting the GPS or driving aids. Golf takes its revenge when it comes to quality. Admittedly, an Audi A3 is at the same time even better finished, but the Golf 7 has nothing to be ashamed of at this point. She also does better than her replacement.


  • 1.2 & 1.4 TSI: overconsumption of oil on the list, sometimes due to the oil pump (breakage)
  • 1.4 TSI ACT (150): seizures of the active cylinder control system, consumption of coolant. 1.4 TSI 125 High pressure pump capable of refusing service
  • 1.6 TDI: fragile turbo
  • Diesel: electronic control problems (rejection of start, shock, switch to degraded state for no reason), defective water pump
  • 2.0 TDI 150 & 1.5 TSI 150: oil consumption


  • Air conditioning : leaks on early models and noisy regulator. Also non-functioning.
  • DSG 7 automatic transmission: malfunctions and irregular operation, an oil change can solve the problem
  • Shock absorbing: at the rear they can generate noise in the cabin. Premature wear on all fours
  • Electronics: identified faults, especially at the level of the GPS or car radio, inability to release the parking brake
  • Door seals: not airtight enough, they can cause the whistle to blow above 100 km / h
  • Exercise before: Silent blocks and shock absorbers can cause squeaks and squeaks

All engines in VW Golf VII

Motorization Energy Our opinion
Motorization1.2 / 1.0 TSI 85 EnergyEssence Our opinionIt’s not very powerful, but this little 1.2 does not perform badly. For small riders.
Motorization1.2 TSI 105/110 EnergyEssence Our opinionThis block, which is preferred over the 85 hp version, will satisfy the majority and consume no more.
Motorization1.0 TSI 115 EnergyEssence Our opinionHis will is great, but his sound is not pleasant. 110 hp with DSG.
Motorization1.4 TSI 125 EnergyEssence Our opinionThe best compromise in gasoline on the Gulf. It deserves your full attention.
Motorization1.4 TSI 140/150 EnergyEssence Our opinionAn engine with some driving pleasure and controlled fuel consumption.
Motorization1.5 TSI EVO 130/150 EnergyEssence Our opinionThis 1.5 replaces the old 1.4, not without some talent.
Motorization2.0 TSI GTI 220/230 EnergyEssence Our opinionSport version of the range, GTI does not forget the approval and offers some comfort.
Motorization1.6 TDI 90/110 EnergyDiesel Our opinionIf the 90 hp lacks brilliance, the 110 hp version will delight long-distance riders.
Motorization2.0 TDI 150 EnergyDiesel Our opinionWith the exception of the GTD, this Golf TDI 150 represents the ultimate in diesel.
Motorization2.0 TDI 184 EnergyDiesel Our opinionFantastic performance and remarkable sobriety. But comfort suffers.

Which VW Golf VII engine should you choose?

1.0 TSI 115 hp

Published on 06/12/2022 Up to date 06/12/2022 Hugo Dupont and the editorial staff

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