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2017 Volkswagen Golf SEL: Real World Review

If you’re looking for information on a newer Volkswagen Golf, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 Volkswagen Golf Review

The 2017 Volkswagen Golf SEL is one of the best hatchbacks on the market today. It’s roomy, well-equipped and delivers good, old-fashioned German engineering. Our staff spent some time with the Golf, and this is what they thought.

The Hot Seat

Just like the 2016 Golf we drove last year, we found the seats don’t allow the skin to breathe, and you become quite hot. We weren’t sure if this was the result of the leatherette surface, or if the seats just weren’t perforated enough. So be warned that things could get a little sweaty on warmer days. Outside of that issue, the seats are well-contoured and sporty. They do a good job holding you in place when you decide to get a little spirited with your driving.

Techno Features Galore

Our test vehicle had the Driver Assistance and Light package, which includes Park Assist, intended to make city driving easier when you’re trying to get into a tight parking space. This is no doubt a great feature on a vehicle in this class. There’s also a feature that allows you to tag songs to your playlist, but you need your phone to be connected to the car’s infotainment system. Our SEL also came standard with adaptive cruise control, another feature that’s hard to find in a vehicle in this class. The Lane Assist seemed to work very well and wasn’t overly aggressive, but it did sometimes move the wheel when it didn’t need to. See the 2017 Volkswagen Golf models for sale near you

Price vs. Value

We do feel the Golf is a bit overpriced at $30,810. You can get a bigger Passat SEL comparably equipped for only $1,600 more. However, sometimes the devil is in the details, and if you dig deeper, you see you do get a lot of standard equipment for that price.

Adaptive cruise control, navigation, Fender premium audio, heated leatherette (yes, leatherette) seats and a sunroof round out some of the standard equipment. You also get 3 years of roadside assistance as part of the standard warranty.

Our Take

The 2017 Volkswagen Golf SEL offers one of the best hatch platforms in the industry. From a performance standpoint, we would prefer the GTI, but we were very impressed with this 1.8-liter engine, which has more than enough horsepower and torque for the average consumer. Even though the Golf can be considered pricey, it has a lot of positives. If you’re going to spend money on a Volkswagen, this should be near the top of the list.

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