Volkswagen Golf R Estate review - Ultimate Golf gets more practical

Just the right blend of fun and functionality

Evo rating
from £34,455
  • Broad range of abilities, practicality and performance, build quality
  • Affordable competitors nearly as good

evo Verdict

The Volkswagen Golf R is already a hugely impressive car in hatchback form. As an estate, little of its dynamic abilities are lost, yet significant gains are made in practicality. 

That same sense of pliancy and suppleness from the Golf R hatch has been retained, while the R’s softer edge, compared to say a Megane 275, feels all the more logical presented here as an estate.

Performance is almost on par with the likes of an Audi RS4, yet the Golf R is all the more engaging and entertaining to drive. The added 80Kg of weight hasn't done that much to impact the car’s outright speed either, with its 0-62mph time increasing to 5.1 seconds.

> Read: Volkswagen Golf R review - A consummate all-rounder

The Golf R has an uncanny ability of maximising its abilities on almost any road. It’s a car that’s just as happy being driven neat and tidy as it is grabbed by the scruff. The engine and four-wheel drive system also feel almost perfectly matched, both working hard to deliver an engaging (yet never clinical) drive.

Practical, refined, potent and boasting excellent build quality, the Golf R Estate truly feels like the car for the driver that needs everything.

evo Comment

'For the most part, the things that make the Golf R hatch such an engaging steer and a formidable point-to-point weapon have been transferred undiminished to the Estate. You can take as much satisfaction from the almost brutish broadband shove of the engine as the seemingly uncanny manner in which the all-drive chassis always seems to find the best way to use it, whether you’re trying to be neat and fast or coaxing a few degrees of drift by trail-braking then hammering on past the apex.' - David Vivian, contributing editor (evo 210).

evo Tip

The Golf R Estate is, unlike the hatch, only available with a DSG gearbox, something worth considering for those who are after three pedals. It's the same deal if you opt for the Golf R Estate's closest rival, the SEAT Leon ST Cupra 300 - and actually, given how little price difference there is between the pair, the SEAT doesn't represent the bargain it normally does next to hot Golfs.

Optional DCC adaptive chassis control technology adds a full-on Race mode to the Golf R Estate’s switchable driving modes. If you want to experience the car at its best, it’s worth spending the extra £830.

> For an in-depth review of the VW Golf R Hatchback, check out our sister site Carbuyer

> Performance and 0-60mph time - Barely discernable from the hatchback, the R Estate still gets to 62mph in 5.1sec. DSG makes going quickly very easy indeed.

> Engine and transmission - 2-litre engine from the R hatch is here paired only with a six-speed dual-clutch. It's a compelling combination though, and sounds pretty good too.

> Ride and handling - As happy pottering around as it is being driven flat out, while adjustable damping means it's supple when required too. There's a real spread of ability here.

> MPG and running costs - Could hit 40mpg on paper, but figures in the 30s are more realistic. Decent warranty, but budget for tyres if you plan to use all its cornering performance.

> Prices, specs and rivals - Costs little more than the regular hatchback. Strangely, costs little more than its SEAT-badged equivalent, the Leon ST Cupra 300.

> Interior and tech - Like most Golfs, a perfectly pleasant place to spend time. Like most Golfs, also very little to intrigue or delight.

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