Golf SFeatured Test Drive Reviews Volkswagen 

2018 Volkswagen Golf S Manual Test Drive Review

This is the 2018 Volkswagen Golf S and it’s the basest “base” model Golf currently on sale. It’s got cloth seats, a 5-speed manual transmission and very little in the way of high-luxury. In fact, this little Golf is about as basic a car as you can currently purchase in this day and age. And while some may snicker at the fact that you didn’t go for the upscale model, those in the automotive “know” will be congratulating you for buying one of the best compact cars currently on sale.

For the full 2018 Volkswagen Golf S review, specs, pricing and data read on…

Golf S

2018 Volkswagen Golf S Manual Exterior

They’re only a few cars out there that can truly be considered timeless. And by that I mean vehicles that not only resemble their original styling, but stay true to their intended purpose. Cars like the Porsche 911 or Jeep Willys/Wrangler for example are just as recognizable today as they were over 40 years ago. This also applies to the Volkswagen Golf, which first came to life in 1974. Back then it was a great little economy car that was fuel efficient and fun to drive. Now, almost 45 years later, not much has changed.

Let’s face it; the Golf isn’t exactly what you’d call a stunner, quite the opposite in fact. Over time though it’s evolved into a handsome and efficient automotive tool that doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is. The short front-end houses stylish sealed beam headlamps with a slim black grill with a polished insert. Our test car came to us with Tungsten Silver Metallic paint and wearing 15-inch wheels running 195/65-series all-season tires. Heading towards the rear, body-colored painted mirrors with embedded turn signals, blacked-out window trim, a small hatch spoiler along with chrome trimmed lower bumper treatment round out the package. Again, there’s nothing groundbreaking here about the styling in base trim. With that being said, it does provide one with a wonderful feeling of anonymity that’s comforting to live with on a day-to-day basis.

Golf S

2018 Volkswagen Golf S Manual Interior

There is something refreshing about getting into an automobile that’s void of superfluous features and add-ons, especially when the materials used are of high quality. The cloth front seats for instance are not only comfortable, but offer a nice combination of manual and electronic adjustability. The steering wheel is leather wrapped and adorned with piano black plastic and polished trim along with inset controls that allow access to the center dash readout for things like the media system, cruise control, on-board trip computer and fuel economy readings. Large analog gauges are also clearly visible and VW has even seen fit to include a variety of satin and polished trim throughout the cabin.

A 6.5” touchscreen is a new standard feature for 2018 and allows one access to further radio controls, standard Bluetooth setup, auxiliary apps, a tire pressure monitoring readout and even Volkswagens Think Blue economy trainer which helps one get the most efficiency from their vehicle. The Golf S also comes with the most intuitive HVAC system in existence. There’s no disappointment from a storage perspective either, as the Golf offers up 23 cubic-feet of storage behind the rear seats and 53 cubic-feet with the seats folded flat. That, combined with the high roofline of a hatchback means that not only is the loading and unloading of cargo a snap, but that larger items fit with ease.

Golf S

2018 Volkswagen Golf S Performance

There is a fun-to-drive factor with the Golf S that’s pretty rare to find in any base model vehicle and this mostly stems from what lies under the hood. The 1.8L turbocharged I-4 cranks out 170-horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque with power going to the front wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission. And while the shifter is a bit on the notchy side, one will quickly dismiss it when they find themselves rowing through the gears and shifting at an indicated 6,000-rpm redline. The Golf S sits on a 103.8-inch wheelbase and weighs just 2,963 pounds. That not only means that its light on its feet, but thanks to standard electronic stability control and electronically assisted power steering, it’s a hoot to drive quickly.

Whether piloting the car through traffic, down a twisty bit of road, or merging onto an expressway on-ramp, the Golf always seems to impress. It also does this while riding on a skinny set of 195/65-series all-season tires. Fun factor and performance aside though, it boasts an EPA fuel economy rating of 25 mpg city, a stellar 36 mpg on the highway, and 29-mpg in combined driving while running on regular fuel.

Golf S

2018 Volkswagen Golf S Safety

The 2018 Golf S comes to us with such standard safety features as anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, electronic brake-pressure distribution, airbags throughout the cabin, automatic post collision system, a standard backup camera and more. Additional safety features can be seen over at

Golf S

2018 Volkswagen Golf S Overall

If you’re looking for a car with the latest and greatest in technology, blistering performance and a “look-at-me” persona, then this 2018 Golf S is not for you. However, if a fine array of standard features, outstanding fuel economy, great storage and a fun-to-drive factor suits you, then you owe it to yourself to check this car out because yeah—it’s that good.

Drop by your local AutoNation Volkswagen dealer today to check one out!

*Fuel economy values (mpg) are EPA estimates. Actual mileage will vary and depends on several factors including driving habits and vehicle condition.

**Vehicle MSRP of $20,715.00 excludes taxes, title, transportation, options, and dealer fees.

Related posts