Volkswagen Golf 7 2013-2020 review, used cars, problems

Volkswagen Golf 7

Year of production: 2012 – 2020
Manufacturer: Volkswagen
Predecessor: Golf 6
Successor: Golf 8
Class: Lower middle class
Competitors: Peugeot 308, Renault Megane, Seat Leon, Hyundai I30, Kia Ceed, Opel Astra
Models: 3 and 5 door sedan, wagon,
Euro NCAP: ★★★★★ (2012)

+ Timeless form
+ Reputation
+ Equipment
+ Quality of workmanship
+ Location on the road
+ Preservation of value – Price

– Large difference in equipment

We recommend
Petrol engine: 1.4 TSI
Diesel engine: 2.0 TDI

Very few cars have the classless appeal of the Volkswagen Golf and, with this seventh-generation model, which ran from 2013 all the way up to the beginning of 2020, VW managed to come up with a car that was not only as multitalented as its predecessors but also improved on them significantly.

For starters, there’s the range of low-capacity 1.0, 1.4 and later 1.5-liter turbocharged petrol engines that punch far above their weight in terms of performance, yet return impressive fuel efficiency. Then there are the 1.6 and 2.0-liter diesel engines for those who travel on the motorway every day. Anybody interested in ultra-low emissions driving might want to consider either the plug-in hybrid GTE or full-electric e-Golf. For those more interested in speed, there’s always the hot hatch GTI or ballistically quick Golf R.

Very few cars have the classless appeal of the Volkswagen Golf and, with this seventh-generation model, which ran from 2013 all the way up to the beginning of 2020, VW managed to come up with a car that was not only as multitalented as its predecessors but also improved on them significantly.

To drive, even the regular versions of the seventh-generation Golf are deeply impressive; comfortable and stable at any speed, yet also offering enough response from the chassis and sharpness from the steering to make them all enjoyable. The Golf also rides better than nearly all of its contemporaries, thanks to its supple suspension, and even the 1.0 and 1.6 TDI versions that come with a slightly less sophisticated rear setup are nicely complaint over most broken road surfaces. The Golf also handles with precision, and there’s plenty of grip in all versions.

Volkswagen Golf 7
Volkswagen Golf VII

Space up front is plentiful, even for tall drivers, and there’s good leg and head room in the rear, even if six-footers won’t want to sit behind similar front-seat occupants for long. The boot is big enough for a huge weekly shop, or a baby buggy, but probably not both at the same time.

The Golf was substantially updated in 2017, with some styling tweaks to the exterior, a range of more efficient engines, some additional trim levels and a new infotainment system for the interior. This later version has become known by the unofficial moniker Mk7.5. It was replaced by the all-new Mk8 version in 2020.

Three and five-door body styles are available; the former is very rare in anything other than in GTI and R forms. If you do go for a three-door, make sure you don’t pay as much as you would for a five-door model.

At 4,255 mm, the new Golf is 56 mm longer than its predecessor, with a 59 mm longer wheelbase of 2,637 mm. The front wheels are 43 mm further forward, helping to generate more interior space, while the Golf is also 13 mm wider, at 1,799 mm, and 28 mm lower, at 1,452 mm. This helps to create a 10 per cent improvement in the drag co-efficient, which is now 0.29 Cd (and 0.27 Cd for the forthcoming BlueMotion model).

Inside the VW Golf there is also more room than ever. Rear legroom is improved by 15 mm, and the front seats have been moved 20 mm further back, benefitting taller drivers. Front shoulder room is improved by 31 mm to 1,420 mm (at the rear it is 30 mm wider) and elbow room by 22 mm to 1,469 mm (20 mm wider at the rear). There is more room for luggage, too: the boot is 30 litres larger, at 380 litres, with a low 665 mm sill to make loading effortless.

Volkswagen Golf VII
Volkswagen Golf VII

Volkswagen Golf 7 – engines

Volkswagen Golf 7 engine

Powering the Golf is a new range of petrol and diesel engines, all of which incorporate Stop/Start and battery regeneration systems. At launch, the petrol engines are a 1.2-litre TSI 85 PS unit returning 57.6 mpg combined and 113 g/km of CO2, a 1.2-litre TSI with 105 PS (57.6 mpg / 114 g/km), a 1.4-litre TSI with 122 PS (54.3 mpg / 120 g/km) and a 1.4-litre TSI 140 PS unit with Active Cylinder Technology, which can deactivate two of the cylinders under certain loads, and achieves 60.1 mpg and 109 g/km. The launch diesel engines are a 1.6-litre unit with 105 PS (which returns 74.3 mpg combined and 99 g/km), plus a 2.0-litre 150 PS unit which returns 68.9 mpg and 106 g/km.

Powering the Golf is a new range of petrol and diesel engines, all of which incorporate Stop/Start and battery regeneration systems. At launch, the petrol engines are a 1.2-litre TSI 85 PS, a 1.2-litre TSI with 105 PS, a 1.4-litre TSI with 122 PS and a 1.4-litre TSI 140 PS unit with Active Cylinder Technology, which can deactivate two of the four cylinders for enhanced economy. The diesel engines are a 1.6-litre unit with 105 PS and a 2.0-litre 150 PS unit. A 1.6-litre TDI 110 PS will follow in the Golf BlueMotion.

Powering the Golf is a new range of petrol and diesel engines, all of which incorporate Stop/Start and battery regeneration systems. At launch, the petrol engines are a 1.2-litre TSI 85 PS unit returning 57.6 mpg combined and 113 g/km of CO2, a 1.2-litre TSI with 105 PS (57.6 mpg / 114 g/km), a 1.4-litre TSI with 122 PS (54.3 mpg / 120 g/km) and a 1.4-litre TSI 140 PS unit with Active Cylinder Technology, which can deactivate two of the cylinders under certain loads, and achieves 60.1 mpg and 109 g/km. The launch diesel engines are a 1.6-litre unit with 105 PS (which returns 74.3 mpg combined and 99 g/km), plus a 2.0-litre 150 PS unit which returns 68.9 mpg and 106 g/km.

Powering the Golf is a new range of petrol and diesel engines, all of which incorporate Stop/Start and battery regeneration systems. At launch, the petrol engines are a 1.2-litre TSI 85 PS, a 1.2-litre TSI with 105 PS, a 1.4-litre TSI with 122 PS and a 1.4-litre TSI 140 PS unit with Active Cylinder Technology, which can deactivate two of the four cylinders for enhanced economy. The diesel engines are a 1.6-litre unit with 105 PS and a 2.0-litre 150 PS unit. A 1.6-litre TDI 110 PS will follow in the Golf BlueMotion.

Volkswagen Golf 7 – Petrol engines

All the petrol units are from the EA211 series, the new family of engines designed for the MQB platform. This comprises both three- and four-cylinder engines and includes the 1.0-litre engine which was introduced in the up!. All the EA211 series engines in the Golf are class-leading in terms of their energy efficiency, lightweight design and high torque performance. Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions values were reduced by eight to ten per cent, in part due to reduced internal friction, lower weight and optimised thermal management; in conjunction with the innovative new cylinder deactivation system (ACT), the savings potential can be as much as 23 per cent.

The EA211 engines are also characterised by a new mounting position. Whereas the EA111 series was mounted with a forward tilt and the ‘hot’ exhaust side at the front, with the EA211, the cylinder head has been rotated and the engines are now tilted towards the firewall (bulkhead between engine compartment and passenger compartment), like the diesel engines. With the diesel (EA288) and petrol engines now sharing an identical inclination angle of 12 degrees, Volkswagen can now standardise the exhaust, driveshafts and gearbox mounting position.

The EA211 is a complete redesign; only the cylinder spacing of 82 mm was adopted from Volkswagen’s successful EA111 engine series. The new unit is also particularly compact and this is reflected in its mounting length, which has been shortened by 50 mm; as a result the front axle could be shifted forward, resulting in more interior passenger space.

Thanks to an ultra-rigid crankcase made of die-cast aluminium, the new petrol engines are especially lightweight at 97 kg (1.2 TSI) and 104 kg (1.4 TSI); on the 1.4-litre TSI, the weight advantage compared to the grey cast iron counterpart from the EA111 series is as much as 22 kg. This approach to lightweight design extends to the smallest of details: engine developers reduced the main bearing diameter of the crankshaft on the 1.4-litre TSI from 54 to 48 mm; the crankshaft itself was lightened by 20 per cent, while the weight of the connecting rods was reduced by an impressive 30 per cent. The gudgeon pins are bored hollow, and the aluminium pistons (now with flat piston crowns) have also been weight optimised.

By fully integrating the exhaust manifold in the cylinder head, the engine heats up quickly from a cold start, while simultaneously supplying ample heat to the car’s climate control system to warm up the interior. At high loads, on the other hand, the exhaust gas is more effectively cooled by the coolant, which reduces fuel consumption by up to 20 per cent.

To optimise thermal management, Volkswagen engineers designed the EA211 with a dual-loop cooling system. The base engine is cooled by a high-temperature loop with a mechanically driven coolant pump, while a low-temperature loop, powered by an electric pump, circulates coolant to the intercooler and turbocharger housing as needed. Passenger compartment heating comes from the cylinder head circulation loop, so that, like the engine, it warms up quickly.

Due to innovative engineering of the exhaust manifold, Volkswagen was able to use a very narrow single-scroll compressor in the turbocharger, resulting in weight reduction for the cylinder head turbocharger component group. On the EA211, the intercooler is integrated in the induction pipe which is made of injection-moulded plastic, leading to significantly accelerated pressure build-up and hence dynamic performance in downsized engines.

In the seventh generation, Volkswagen has again significantly reduced internal friction in a number of ways. The overhead camshafts (DOHC) are not chain driven, but employ a single stage, low-friction toothed belt design, a 20 mm wide belt and load-reducing profiled belt wheels. Thanks to its high-end material specification, this toothed belt’s service life spans the life of the vehicle. Actuation of the valve gear is through roller cam followers, and an anti-friction bearing for the highly loaded first camshaft bearing, also lead to reduced friction resistances.

To ensure that the engine takes up as little mounting space as possible, ancillary components such as the water pump, air conditioning compressor and alternator are screwed directly to the engine and the oil sump without additional brackets, and they are driven by a single-track toothed belt with a fixed tension roller.

To reduce emissions and fuel consumption further, and to improve torque in the lower rev range, the intake camshaft on all EA211 engines can be varied over a range of 50 degrees crankshaft angle. On the 140 PS, the exhaust camshaft is variable as well. It sets the desired spread of control times and thereby allows even more spontaneous response from low revs; at the same time, torque is improved at high engine speeds.

The maximum fuel injection pressure on the EA211 engines was increased to 200 bar. State-of-the-art five-hole injection nozzles deliver up to three individual injections to each of the cylinders very precisely via a stainless steel distributor bar. In designing the combustion chamber, Volkswagen also paid particular attention to achieving minimal wetting of the combustion chamber walls with fuel and optimised flame propagation.

Volkswagen Golf VII – 1.2-litre TSI, 1197 cc, 8-valve 4-cyl, 85 PS

The entry-level engine in the Golf is a turbocharged, direct injection TSI engine producing 85 PS from 4,300 to 5,300 rpm, with torque of 160 Nm (118 lbs ft) from 1,400 to 3,500 rpm. Thanks to refinement and weight saving, compared with the equivalent unit in the previous generation, fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions have been reduced.

This Golf, with a standard five-speed manual gearbox, has a zero to 62 mph time of 11.9 seconds and a top speed of 111 mph. Combined economy is 57.6 mpg with CO2 emissions of 113 g/km.

Volkswagen Golf 7 – 1.2-litre TSI, 1197 cc, 8-valve 4-cyl, 105 PS

Moving up the range this 1.2-litre turbocharged Volkswagen Golf produces 105 PS at 5,000 rpm and 175 Nm (129 lbs ft) of torque between 1,400 and 3,500 rpm and is available with a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG gearbox. Standstill to 62 mph takes 10.2 seconds with a top speed of 119 mph. Yet performance does not come at the expense of economy: combined fuel consumption is 57.6 mpg (56.5 DSG) with carbon dioxide emissions of 114 g/km (115 DSG).

Volkswagen Golf 7 – 1.4-litre TSI, 1390 cc, 8-valve 4-cyl, 122 PS

For those looking for additional power but still combined with impressive economy the Golf is also available with a turbocharged 1.4-litre TSI with 122 PS at 5,000 rpm and maximum torque of 200 Nm (148 lbs ft) from 1,400 rpm to 3,500 rpm. This engine, which is offered with a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG gearbox, enables a top speed of 126 mph and 0 to 62 mph in 9.3 seconds. Economy is still high on the agenda with a combined consumption of 54.3 mpg (56.5 DSG) and CO2 output of 120 g/km (116 DSG).

Volkswagen Golf 7 – 1.4-litre TSI, 1395 cc, 8-valve 4-cyl, 140 PS with Active Cylinder Technology

The current range-topping petrol Golf is a 1.4-litre TSI with 140 PS from 4,500 to 6,000 rpm, 250 Nm (184 lbs ft) of torque from just 1,500 to 3,500 rpm and, for the first time in a Volkswagen, Active Cylinder Technology for lower fuel consumption and emissions. Also available with a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG gearbox, this engine gives the Golf a 0 to 62 mph time of 8.4 seconds and a top speed of 131 mph. Combined consumption is 60.1 mpg (60.1 DSG) with carbon dioxide emissions of just 109 g/km (112 DSG).

The impressive figures are thanks to the implementation of active cylinder technology (ACT), a fuel saving innovation that was previously the preserve of large eight or 12 cylinder engines. By temporarily deactivating the second and third cylinders, over 0.5 litres of fuel per 100 km can be saved, depending on driving style. This is only possible with TSI technology.

ACT is active over an engine speed range between 1,400 and 4,000 rpm and torques of up to 85 Nm, a broad spread which covers 70 per cent of all driving modes in the EU cycle. If the driver presses the accelerator pedal hard, cylinders 2 and 3 begin to work again, without a noticeable transition. The high efficiency of the system does not have any negative effects on smooth running: even with two cylinders the 1.4-litre TSI runs just as quietly and with low vibration as with four active combustion chambers. All mechanical switchover processes take place within one camshaft rotation; depending on engine speed this takes just 13 to 36 milliseconds. Accompanying interventions in ignition and throttle valve processes smooth the transitions. Two-cylinder mode is indicated to the driver in the Multi-Function Display in the instrument binnacle.

Altogether, the components for active cylinder technology system weigh just 3 kg. Their actuators, the camshafts and their bearing frames are integrated in the cylinder head; two low-friction bearings reduce shaft friction.

Volkswagen Golf 7 – Diesel engines

Volkswagen is introducing a new series of diesel engines – called EA288 – for the Golf alongside the new petrol line-up. Within this series, Volkswagen is taking its TDI technology, which has been developed over the years, to a new level of sustainability, with reductions in consumption across the range.

As with the new petrol engines (EA211), the only dimension of the Golf’s new four-cylinder diesels that has been carried over from the previous generation is the cylinder spacing. Many components were designed to be modular within the new modular diesel component system (MDB). These include emissions-relevant components such as the fuel injection system, turbocharger and intercooler within the induction manifold module. In addition, a sophisticated exhaust gas recirculation system is used (with a cooled low-pressure AGR), while the layout of emissions control components sees them located closer to the engine. To fulfil various emissions standards worldwide, an oxidation catalytic converter, diesel particulate filter and NOx storage catalytic converter are all implemented in the Golf.

Various other design modifications optimise fuel economy and comfort significantly as well. Volkswagen has tuned all sub-assemblies of the new TDI engine for minimal internal friction. These elements include piston rings with less pre-tension and the use of low-friction bearings for the camshaft (drive-side) and − in the 2.0-litre TDI − for the two balancer shafts. In the oil circulation loop, energy usage was optimised by an oil pump with volumetric flow control.

During the TDI’s warm-up phase, an innovative thermal management system utilises separate cooling circulation loops for the cylinder head and the cylinder block as well as a deactivatable water pump, meaning operating temperatures are reached considerably faster. One additional benefit of this is that the interior of the Golf also gets warmer more quickly in the winter. Another independently controlled cooling loop enables on-demand control of inlet air temperature with additional emissions control benefits.

The new diesels not only have very low emissions, high fuel-efficiency and torque, but they also run very smoothly for optimum refinement. This is achieved in a number of ways, for example, the 2.0-litre TDI 150 PS employs two low-friction bearings in its balancer shafts to eliminate free out of balance forces that are a characteristic of any piston engine systems.

Volkswagen Golf 7 – 1.6-litre TDI, 1598 cc, 8-valve 4-cyl, 105 PS

The Golf’s entry-level diesel is a 1.6-litre common rail TDI producing 105 PS between 3,000 and 4,000 rpm, and 250 Nm (184 lbs ft) of torque from 1,500 to 2,750. Available with a choice of five-speed manual or, in SE guise, optional seven-speed DSG gearbox, it gives this Golf a 0 to 62 mph time of 10.7 seconds and a top speed of 109 mph. Frugality comes as standard: on the combined cycle it returns 74.3 mpg (72.4 DSG) while emitting 99 g/km of CO2 (102 DSG).

Volkswagen Golf 7 – 2.0-litre TDI, 1968, 8-valve 4-cyl, 150 PS

This new 2.0-litre engine produces 150 PS (10 PS more than the equivalent engine in the previous generation) from 3,500 to 4,000, and 320 Nm (236 lbs ft) of torque from just 1,750 up to 3,000 rpm. Customers choosing this engine can opt for a six-speed manual or DSG gearbox. Performance is impressive but does not come at the expense of economy. The Golf’s 2.0-litre TDI completes the 0 to 62 mph sprint in 8.6 seconds and goes on to a top speed of 134 mph (131 DSG). Combined economy is 68.9 mpg (62.8 DSG) with a carbon dioxide output of 106 g/km (119 DSG).

Volkswagen Golf VII – BlueMotion Technology

For the past few years, Volkswagen has been producing and developing a range of vehicles that strikes a balance between the highly focused BlueMotion vehicles and the conventional products on which they are based. The range, carrying the ‘BlueMotion Technology’ badge, combines efficiency with comfort and equipment to create vehicles that deliver greater economy and produce fewer emissions yet are practical as well as conventional to drive, service and maintain.

All new Golf models are equipped with ‘BlueMotion Technology’ modifications and feature a multifunction computer which includes visual gear change recommendation for optimum fuel consumption, as well as Stop/Start and battery regeneration systems.

The Golf’s automatic Stop/Start system is operated through the clutch pedal. When coming to a halt at traffic lights, for example, the driver depresses the clutch and selects neutral. When the clutch is released, the engine shuts down and a ‘Start / Stop’ symbol illuminates on the multifunction display. In order to move away, the driver simply depresses the clutch once again to select first gear and the engine restarts automatically. The system can be deactivated through a switch, if necessary. With the DSG gearbox, the Stop/Start system is activated through the brake pedal.

A battery regeneration system helps to utilise energy that would otherwise be lost during braking. In deceleration and braking phases, the alternator’s voltage is boosted and used for rapid recharging of the car’s battery. Thanks to alternator control, it is possible to lower alternator voltage, for example during deceleration or driving at a constant speed. It is even possible to switch off the alternator entirely which reduces engine load and improves fuel consumption. The 1.4-litre 140 PS TSI also features Active Cylinder Technology to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

Volkswagen Golf VII – Gearboxes

As detailed above, most of the Golf’s engines can be paired with a dual-clutch gearbox (DSG). This is either a six- or seven-speed DSG, depending on maximum engine torque, and both are designed to offer the best combination of fuel-efficiency and shifting dynamics. In addition to the number of gears, the six- and seven- speed ‘boxes differ in their clutch types. While two dry clutches are used in the seven-speed DSG, the six-speed DSG has a dual clutch that runs in an oil bath.

First launched in 2005, Volkswagen’s Direct Shift Gearbox combines the comfort of an automatic gearbox with the responsiveness and economy of a manual unit. The six-speed, DSG unit has two wet clutches with hydraulic pressure regulation. One clutch controls the ‘odd’ gears plus reverse, while the other operates the ‘even’ gears. Theoretically, it is two gearboxes in one.

With this clutch management system, the interruptions in power that are typical of even an automatic-shift manual gearbox no longer occur. This is achieved by an intelligent hydraulic and electronic (mechatronic) gearbox control system, the two wet-type clutches and the two input and output shafts in each half of the gearbox.

This combination enables the next-higher gear ratio to remain engaged but on standby until it is actually selected. In other words, if the car is being driven in third gear, fourth is selected but not yet activated. As soon as the ideal shift point is reached, the clutch on the third-gear side opens, the other clutch closes and fourth gear engages under accurate electronic supervision. Since the opening and closing actions of the two clutches overlap, a smooth gearshift results and the entire shift process is completed in less than four-hundredths of a second. In addition to its fully automatic shift mode, DSG has a Tiptronic function to permit manual gear selection.

Volkswagen Golf VII – Seven-speed DSG

This gearbox uses a pair of dry clutches to improve fuel efficiency and performance. The pair of dry, organic bonded friction linings do not require cooling, making the drivetrain more efficient through the extra gear ratio and the fact that less power is required for the gear selection and clutch servo system. Measuring only 369 mm in length and weighing only 79 kg including the dual-mass flywheel, the gearbox is remarkably compact.

In adopting seven-speeds, Volkswagen engineers were able to lower first gear to improve acceleration from a standstill. By contrast seventh gear has been raised to act as an overdrive function making it ideal for motorway driving with the additional effect of further improving economy and refinement levels.

The volume of oil contained within the gearbox has also been reduced by 75 per cent. The lubrication circuits are divided into two to maintain the purity of the oil. As with a conventional manual gearbox, one of the circuits is used for cooling and lubrication of the gear teeth, the second feeds oil to the gear actuators. Since the clutch does not require cooling the quantity of oil has been reduced from seven litres in the six-speed DSG gearbox to only 1.7 litres in the new seven-speed system.

Volkswagen Golf MK7 – Servicing

Volkswagen offers customers a choice of servicing regime for their Volkswagen Golf. They can choose Fixed Service or Flexible Service and the appropriate selection is entirely dependent on how the car is likely to be driven and its general use.

The Fixed Service regime is recommended for vehicles that will cover less than 10,000 miles in 12 months and if the vehicle is likely to be used in the following way:

Predominantly urban driving, short journeys with frequent cold starts
Activities regularly producing high engine loading, for example frequent hill climbs, driving with vehicle fully loaded and towing
Driving with high rpm, hard acceleration and heavy braking
In this case, the vehicle will be serviced at regular intervals, at every 10,000 miles or every 12 months.

Flexible Service is recommended for vehicles with a daily mileage of more than 25 miles, where the vehicle is driven regularly and on mainly longer distance journeys. The vehicle should be mainly driven at a constant speed with minimum vehicle and engine loading, minimal towing and driven in an economical manner. In this case, the on-board computer informs the driver via a dashboard display, when the vehicle needs a service. A range of engine sensors electronically monitors the vehicle’s oil temperature, oil pressure, oil level and brake pad wear to establish when a service is needed.

With the Flexible regime, the vehicle can cover typically between 10,000 and 18,000 miles (approx) or 24 months (whichever is sooner) between oil changes. An inspection service is typically due in the third year of ownership or at 40,000 miles and thereafter every second year for vehicles with an annual mileage of around 10,000 miles.

Customers can choose between Fixed and Flexible at PDI (pre-delivery inspection) and though it is possible to change from one to another during the vehicle’s life, it can only be done when a full inspection service is due.

Volkswagen Golf MK7  2017. – New TSI engines and a new 7-speed DSG

Volkswagen has enhanced the EA211 TSI engine family; the new turbocharged petrol direct-injection engines celebrate its debut in the Golf. It’s roll-out begins with the “1.5 TSI Evo” – a 110 kW/150 PS four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with Active Cylinder Management (ACT) and efficient common rail direct injection technology. The new TSI is particularly agile and refined; it develops its maximum torque of 250 Nm at low revs of just 1,500 rpm. NEDC fuel consumption: 4.9 l/100 km (equating to 110 g/km CO2). A BlueMotion version of the 1.5 TSI Evo with 96 kW/130 PS is also in preparation. The NEDC fuel consumption of this version will be 4.6 l/100 km (104 g/km CO2). Among the special characteristics of these high-tech engines are a new combustion cycle (derived from the Miller cycle) and a turbocharger with variable turbine geometry (VTG). The engine develops its maximum torque of 200 Nm at just 1,400 rpm. As a world premiere, the 1.5 TSI Evo with 130 PS also offers an extended coasting function when the engine is deactivated – completely shutting down the TSI when the driver releases the accelerator. Such engine deactivation has only been seen in conjunction with hybrid vehicles up to now, as systems like the electromechanical power steering and the brake servo still need to be supplied with energy even when the Evo motor is switched off. This is the case in the Golf 1.5 TSI Evo with 130 PS; the extended coasting function, which comes as standard, reduces fuel consumption in real-life operation by up to 0.4 l/100 km. Thanks to the coasting function and the other technical innovations, this 1.5 TSI Evo will offer a fuel consumption advantage of up to 1.0 l/100 km, depending on driving style.

Volkswagen Golf MK7  2017. – GTI models with improved performance

Volkswagen has also improved performance of the Golf GTI models with this update. With 169 kW/230 PS (an increase of 7 kW/10 PS), the standard version is now as powerful as the previous Performance version, while the power output of the new Golf GTI Performance has risen to 180 kW/245 PS.

Volkswagen Golf MK7  2017. – New 7-speed DSG

Volkswagen has also developed a new 7-speed dual clutch gearbox (DSG). The new DSG will gradually replace all of the 6-speed DSGs used in the Golf to date, helping to cut CO2.

Volkswagen Golf MK7
Volkswagen Golf MK7

Volkswagen Golf MK7 – failures and problems

Gearbox issues

Volkswagen had largely sorted out the most expensive of its DSG automatic gearbox problems before this generation of Golf was launched, but there are still some early cars with which problems have been reported, so make sure the gearbox changes smoothly and there are no signs of temperamental behaviour.


If you own a manual Golf, GTI, or R and plan to upgrade the performance, be aware the stock clutch is very weak. Basic ECM tuning from companies like APR can cause the clutch to slip, so be sure an upgraded clutch is on your list.

Timing chains

Timing chains fitted to petrol engines have been known to snap prematurely; this can cause significant engine damage but can be mitigated by having the car serviced on time. This means a full service history is critical.

Sat-nav issues

Faults with the navigation and entertainment system, as well as other electrical niggles, have been reported on some models, so it’s worth checking that all the electrics work as they should.

High oil consumption

GTI models can suffer from high oil consumption, so it’s important to keep checking the oil level on these, even between services. If the level gets too low, it can cause damage to the engine or timing chain.

Turbo Failure

Early 2015 GTI models had issues with the turbo failing. Luckily, Volkswagen caught this problem early, and updates were made to the turbo to stop it from occurring. Most of the vehicles were repaired under warranty, so be sure to check your car’s service records.

The Cooling System

The water pump and thermostat are one unit, and the housing is made of plastic. Heat cycling of the engine forces the plastic to expand when it is hot then contracts when it cools, causing the housing to warp or crack over time.

Oil Pan

The oil pan is made of plastic and has a plastic drain plug. This plug must be replaced after every service. Failure to do so can cause the plug to leak. Heat cycling of the pan is also an issue that can cause the pan to warp.

Adaptive cruise control

Examples fitted with automatic cruise control (ie cruise control that senses the distance from the car in front) can suffer from problems whereby the system gets confused and slams on the brakes. Often, there’s little that can be done to solve this. The system can be recalibrated, at a cost.

Lights may fail without warning

An issue with the programming of the on-board supply control unit means the driver may not be warned of a light bulb blowing. It’s also possible for a message to pop up suggesting there’s a fault when there isn’t. Speak to a VW dealer for further information because new software will need to be installed to fix the problem.

Passenger air bag

Due to a faulty weld in the gas generator used in the air bag assembly, there’s a potential for parts of the assembly to break off and cause injury to occupants. Affected vehicles will need to have any faulty items replaced, so find out from your VW dealer if your car is affected by this.

Air bag and seat belt tensioner

Some examples may have an issue with either the air bags, seat belt tensioners, or both. Due to an error in the manufacturing process, these may not trigger correctly in a collision, affecting passenger safety. Find out if your car is affected by this because it’ll need to have all faulty air bags and seat belt tensioners replaced.

Fuel leak

A tooling issue at the factory meant that some examples were fitted with engine cylinder heads that were not produced to the correct specification. This could then lead to an issue with the fuel rail loosening over time and allowing fuel to leak, with the potential for an engine fire.

Front wheel bearing housing

The front wheel bearing housing on a small number of Golfs might not have been manufactured correctly and could potentially fracture. Your Volkswagen dealer should be able to check the casting date to find out if your car is affected and let you know whether replacements are required.

Incorrect front brake discs fitted

Some Golfs might have been fitted with front brake discs that are not of the correct thickness, which could crack under extreme circumstances. Contact your local Volkswagen dealer to check if your car is affected by this recall and needs to have replacement discs fitted.

Insecure head restraint

There has been an issue reported with the front head restraints of a limited number of Golfs where a burr created during the manufacturing process could prevent the locking mechanism from working correctly. Your Volkswagen dealer should be able to let you know if your car is affected.

Child lock failure

The child locks on some examples might disengage without warning and allow occupants to open the rear doors. Speak to your dealer for further information because new locks will need to be fitted to sort the problem.

Rear hub carrier

On certain Golfs there was an issue with the rear hub carrier not being manufactured to the correct standard, so in extreme circumstances, the car could lose a rear wheel. A recall was issued to replace the carriers on affected cars, so find out if your car is one of those affected by speaking with your local VW dealer.

Seat backrest

A small number of Golfs may have been fitted with seats where the welds on the backrest head restraint mounting could fail in an accident. You Volkswagen dealer should be able to tell you if your car requires a replacement seat to solve the problem.


The subframe bolts are torque to yield and have stretching issues causing a clicking or clunk noise in the front end when going over bumps, braking, or hard cornering. If you encounter this noise, it is extremely common and easily remedied.

Hood Cable

The hood release cable breaking is a super common problem on the MK7. The hood release is actually two cables with a union above the driver headlamp. This union consists of a metal ball and a plastic cup. The cable with the plastic cup takes serious force to move and is well known for exploding. When this happens, you can no longer open the hood.

Hood Release Handle

On the other end of the hood release lies the handle, which has its own problem. The cable has a metal ball at the end that sits in a pocket inside the handle. Since the cable requires so much pressure to operate, the pocket in the handle can break.

Washer Bottle Sensor

The fluid level sensor inside the window washer tank is known to collect contaminants and give a false reading on the dash saying to add washer fluid. This is easy to diagnose when the light is on and the tank is full; you know who’s the culprit.

Water Incursion

When the MK7 Golfs were first released, there was a serious issue with water incursion. The frame that contains the sunroof is made of plastic, and it acts as a rain gutter. When the assemblies were installed in the factory, the torque specs were too high, causing some to crack and let water enter the cabin.

Sunroof Drains

On all four corners of the sunroof, assembly is long drain tubes that funnel water out of the tracks and safely to the ground under the car. Over time, these tubes can get clogged with debris causing water to back up and enter the car. This can be avoided by periodically opening the sunroof and checking the drains for standing water. Never use compressed air to clean the drains if you find water. The pressure can cause the hose to detach, and the headliner must be removed to correct it.

Volkswagen Mk.7 Golf: knocking/rattling noise from rear suspension In Volkswagen Mk.7 Golf vehicles that have independent rear suspension, there have been reports of a loud rattling or knocking noise from the rear suspension when the vehicle is being driven at speeds up to 50 km/h; the noise has also been described as a ‘hollow popping’ noise and akin to ‘logs rolling around in the boot’. The rear suspension noise has been attributed to excessive play in the rear Sachs shock absorbers where the piston rod enters the shock absorber barrel. Although Volkswagen claimed to have introduced a ‘revised’ shock absorber in 2013, suspension noise has continued to occur in post- 2013 Volkswagen Mk.7 Golf vehicles. To fix the noise, it has been recommended that the standard Sachs shock absorbers be replaced with Bilstein shock absorbers (part number BLS19-230559). In a complaint with the UK Financial Ombudsman Service (Decision Reference DRN4049309), Volkswagen Financial Services UK admitted that there was a ‘known issue’ with rear suspension noise. Furthermore, the Financial Ombudsman concluded that the rear suspension noise was a ‘recognised manufacturing fault’ which had been present in the vehicle since its sale.

Volkswagen Golf VII
Volkswagen Golf 7

Recalls: Volkswagen Golf 7

2013 ‘model year’ Volkswagen Golf: DQ200 DSG – In November 2013, a recall was issued for 2013 model year Volkswagen Golf vehicles with seven-speed DQ200 DSG transmissions. In these vehicles, electrolysis of sulphur constituents in thesynthetic oil could cause them to separate and accumulate between electrical conductor paths. Inturn, this could create a short circuit and blow the gearbox fuse, causing the clutch to fully open.While the majority of failures occurred on start-up when the vehicle was stationary, a failure whenthe vehicle was in motion would result in a sudden loss of power at the wheels. All other functionsof the vehicle, however, would remain active. As part of the recall, the synthetic transmission oilwas to be replaced with mineral oil.

2016 ‘model year’ Volkswagen Golf: child lock – In June 2016, a recall was issued for certain 2016 ‘model year’ Volkswagen Mk.7 Golf vehiclesbecause the detent lever of the child lock was damaged during the production process and couldbreak. As a result, an active child lock could be unnoticeably switched off – this could enable achild to open a rear door from the inside when the child lock appeared to be on. As such, thiscondition could increase the risk of injury to vehicle occupants.

2016 and 2017 model year Volkswagen Golf: incorrect tyre placard labels – In March 2017, a recall was issued for 2016 and 2017 model year Volkswagen Golf vehiclesbecause they may have tyre placard labels that displayed the wrong wheel and tyre specifications.If the wrong wheel and tyre combination were fitted to the vehicle, the handling of the vehiclecould be adversely affected – this could pose a hazard to vehicle occupants and road users.

2017 model year Volkswagen Mk.7 Golf: airbag and/or belt tensioner may not deploy – In April 2017, a recall was issued for 2017 Volkswagen Mk.7 Golf vehicles. In the event of acollision, variations in the mixture ratio of propellant for the airbag and belt tensioner may prevent them from deploying; failure to deploy would increase the risk of injury to occupants.

2013-14 Volkswagen Mk.7 Golf: Takata airbag recall – In June 2019, recall campaign 69Q7 was issued for Volkswagen Mk.7 Golf vehicles. These vehicleshad Takata driver’s airbags and propellant wafers inside these airbags could absorb moisture overtime. In the event of airbag deployment, excessive pressure in the airbag inflator housing couldcause it to rupture and metal fragments could be projected through the airbag cushion and intothe vehicle’s cabin. These metal fragments posed a risk of serious injury and fatality.

Golf DSG: pressure accumulator crack andloss of power – In October 2019, recall campaign 35D8 was issued for 2009-15 Volkswagen Mk.6 and Mk.7 Golfvehicles. Due to a production fault, a crack in the transmission’s pressure accumulator (within themechatronics housing) could occur. If the pressure accumulator cracked, oil and pressure wouldbe lost in the hydraulic system of the gearbox. If this occurred, the transmission of engine powerwould be interrupted, similar to depressing the clutch in a vehicle with a manual transmission –this increased the risk of a collision and injury to vehicle occupants.

2013-15 Volkswagen Mk.7 Golf with 7sp DSG: loss of drive – In April 2020, recall campaign 34J5 was issued for Volkswagen Mk.7 Golf vehicles that had seven-speed dual clutch (‘DSG’) transmissions. In these vehicles, a fluid leak could lead to a loss ofpressure in the gearbox. This pressure loss could interrupt the transmission of power between theengine and gearbox, causing a loss of drive – this increased the risk of a collision and posed ahazard to both vehicle occupants and other road users.

The vehicles concerned may have a leaking fuel rail. There is a danger of fire in some cases. – The recall affects vehicles equipped with 1.8 / 2.0 TFSI engine and built in 2014.

The front wheel-bearing casing might break, leading to a sudden loss of steering. – The recall affects vehicles manufactured between calendar week 14/2015 and 15/2015.

It is possible that the wheel bolts were not tightened with the correct torque which could result in the loss of the wheel. Also, the running direction of the tyres may not have been taken into account when the winter tyres were fitted which could have a negative effect on driving stability. – Recalled vehicles were manufactured between 8. 9. – 22. 12. 2016.Models Golf, Golf Variant,

The car has tyre-pressure signs/stickers indicating the incorrect tyre pressure requirement. Too low tyre pressure may cause the tread to separate or the tyre to burst. – The recall concerns vehicles manufactured between 26 September 2016 and 21 April 2017.

The rear wheel-bearing housing may fracture. This can impair the vehicle’s road-holding ability, leading to the risk of an accident. – The recall affects vehicles produced between 21 August 2017 and 14 September 2017.

The brake discs on the front axle are too weak. As a consequence, when placed under extreme pressure, the brake disc can crack or even break, affecting braking performance. – The recall affects vehicles manufactured between 19. 1. 2018 – 14. 2. 2018.

The fastening of the active headrest may be defective. In the event of an accident, the headrest may become detached from the back of the seat, increasing the risk of injury to the person occupying the seat. – The recall affects vehicles produced between 22. 2. 2018 – 27. 3. 2018.

The belt pulley of the cam gear could break and the screws on the camshaft adjuster may loosen. As a result, engine oil can leak onto the road, posing a risk to the following traffic. – The Volkswagen Golf, Golf Variant/Sportsvan models with EA211 engines affected by this recall were manufactured between December 2013 and March 2015.

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