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How do the Volkswagen Golf, Golf GTI, and Golf R compare?

2017 Volkswagen Golf R California Buy or Lease New VW
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Volkswagen offers several versions of its popular Golf hatchback. These are all built on the same chassis, but they differ in features, power, and, of course, price. To help clarify the distinctions, we've compiled the details of the Golf, Golf GTI and Golf R so that you can weigh the benefits of each and decide which option is right for you.

  

Golf vs. Golf GTI vs. Golf R?

In this article, we've configured a sample vehicle for each car and then examined some of the key differentiating factors. We've based our sample models on popular choices among Cartelligent clients.

  • 2017 Volkswagen GolfOur sample 2017 Golf Wolfsburg edition is equipped with Apple CarPlay, rearview camera, blind spot monitoring and push-button start. MSRP as configured is $23,780.

  • 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI: We've chosen a 2017 Volkswagen GTI Autobahn edition with Apple CarPlay, navigation, Fender sound, adaptive cruise control and DCC adaptive chassis control. MSRP as configured is $36,770.

  • 2017 Volkswagen Golf R: We've equipped a sample 2017 Volkswagen Golf R with all-wheel drive, Apple CarPlay, navigation, Fender sound, adaptive cruise control and DCC adaptive chassis control. MSRP as configured is $41,715.

 

Vehicle Comparison

We'll look at the features of each vehicle side-by-side.

  Golf Golf GTI Golf R
Model Type Golf Wolfsburg GTI Autobahn Golf R
MSRP $23,780 $36,770 $41,715

 

Engine and Fuel Economy

  Golf Golf GTI Golf R
Engine 1.8L 4-cylinder TSI 2.0L 4-cylinder TSI
2.0L 4-cylinder TSI
Horsepower 170 220 292
City mpg 25 25 22
Highway mpg 36 34 31

 

The Golf provides the highest fuel economy—especially for those who spend a good portion of their commutes on freeways. The Golf R offers the most powerful engine of the three and generates up to 292-hp.

 

Safety

  Golf Golf GTI Golf R
IIHS Rating Top Safety Pick Top Safety Pick n/a
Rearview camera Standard Standard Standard
Crash prevention Available Available Available

 

All three vehicles offer a variety of cutting-edge safety technologies among their options; both the Golf and the Golf GTI are rated a Top Safety Pick Plus by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (when equipped with optional front crash prevention).

 

Cost to purchase: Golf vs. Golf GTI vs. Golf R

First, we'll examine the cost of each when purchased. We've assumed a 60-month term and an interest rate of 0.9%. All payments represent pricing based on market conditions at the time of writing. 

  Golf Golf GTI Golf R
MSRP $23,780 $36,770 $41,715
Down payment $2,500 $2,500 $2,500
Monthly payment (inc. tax) $385 $605 $740
Total of payments over five years $25,215 $38,195 $46,160

 

The Golf is around $225/month less than the Golf GTI and saves about $13,000 in payments over the course of five years. The Golf R is about $125 more per month than the GTI and costs about $18,000 more over the course of the loan.

 

Cost to lease: Golf vs. Golf GTI vs. Golf R

Next, we'll compare the three vehicles on a three-year, 12,000 mile/year lease.

  Golf GTI Golf R
MSRP $23,780 $36,770 $41,715
Down payment $2,500 $2,500 $2,500
Monthly payment (inc. tax) $275 $475 $575
Lease disposition fee $350 $350 $350
Total of payments over three years $12,475 $19,475 $22,975

 

The Golf is again the lowest cost option, saving about $20/month and $7,000 over the course of the lease vs. the Golf GTI. The Golf R is priced higher than the GTI, leasing for $100 more per month, or $3,500 over the three-year lease.

 

Which to buy: Golf, Golf GTI or Golf R

All three of these vehicles can be fantastic options depending on your personal circumstances. Your Cartelligent agent can talk you through the pros and cons of each vehicle (as well as any other brands) to help you make an educated decision.

 

Whether you want a new Volkswagen Golf or any other new car, Cartelligent can help you get a great deal on exactly what you want. Call our team of car-buying experts at 888-427-4270 or get started today.