2013 Golf R: Still Relevant Today?

2013 Golf R


The 2013 Volkswagen Golf R and the standard Golf shared some similarities, but the R stood apart as a high-performance hatchback. Under the hood, it packed a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, generating an impressive 256 horsepower and 243 lb-ft of torque. This potent engine could be paired with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, both sending power to all four wheels via Volkswagen's 4Motion all-wheel-drive system.

The Golf R distinguished itself visually with its aggressive styling, featuring unique bumpers, side skirts, a rear spoiler, and quad exhaust pipes. Inside, the cabin boasted sport seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, and aluminum pedals, enhancing the sporty ambiance.

The 2013 Golf R wasn't just about straight-line speed; it handled exceptionally well, thanks to its sport-tuned suspension and precise steering. This hot hatchback offered a practical side too, with its spacious rear seats and cargo area. For those seeking even more performance, Volkswagen offered an optional R Performance package, which included larger brakes and a sport exhaust system.

Engine and Performance

The 2013 Golf R continued to impress with its powerful engine and sharp performance. Under the hood was a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, generating an impressive 256 horsepower and 243 lb-ft of torque. This potent powerplant propelled the Golf R from 0 to 60 mph in a swift 5.5 seconds when equipped with the six-speed manual transmission. Opting for the available six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, known as DSG, shaved a few tenths of a second off the acceleration time, achieving the sprint in just 5.2 seconds.

In comparison, the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta GLI, also sporting a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, delivered a respectable 210 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. While not as powerful as the Golf R, the Jetta GLI still offered brisk acceleration, reaching 60 mph in around 6.7 seconds with the manual transmission and 6.6 seconds with the DSG.

Both the Golf R and Jetta GLI showcased Volkswagen's commitment to performance and driving enjoyment. The Golf R, with its higher output and track-tuned suspension, provided a more exhilarating experience, while the Jetta GLI offered a balance of sportiness and everyday practicality.

Transmission Options

The 2013 Golf R was available with only one transmission option: a six-speed manual. While this delighted purists, some buyers yearned for the ease of an automatic. Volkswagen addressed this in other 2013 models like the Passat, which offered a traditional six-speed automatic with its 2.5L five-cylinder engine. This transmission, however, wasn't compatible with the Golf R's high-output engine. The demand for an automatic in a performance car like the Golf R wasn't insignificant. It highlighted the changing preferences of drivers and the need for car manufacturers to offer a variety of transmission choices to cater to a wider audience.

2013 golf r

Handling and Driving

The 2013 Golf R, unlike its more pedestrian sibling, the Volkswagen Passat, wasn't built for just getting from A to B. It was engineered to inject some serious thrills into your daily commute. The Golf R's stiffer suspension, lowered ride height, and sophisticated all-wheel-drive system translate into a ride that's undeniably sporty. The steering is sharp and responsive, providing ample feedback from the road, making you feel connected to every twist and turn. Acceleration is brisk, thanks to the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, propelling you from 0 to 60 mph in a little over 5 seconds. But it's the all-wheel-drive system that truly sets the Golf R apart. It delivers incredible grip in all weather conditions, inspiring confidence when pushing the car to its limits. However, that sporty edge does come at the cost of some ride comfort. You'll feel more bumps and imperfections in the road compared to the Passat. Overall, the 2013 Golf R is a blast to drive, offering a level of performance and handling that few cars in its class can match.

Exterior Styling

The 2013 Golf R doesn't shout its performance credentials. It retains the classic Golf silhouette, familiar to millions. Subtle differences set it apart from its less powerful siblings. At the front, the R boasts a more aggressive front bumper with larger air intakes, crucial for cooling the uprated engine and brakes. The signature R badge, nestled within the honeycomb grille, hints at the power that lies beneath the hood. Along the sides, you'll find side skirts that not only lower the car visually but also improve aerodynamic efficiency. The rear is where the Golf R truly announces its intentions. Quad exhaust pipes, integrated into a diffuser-style rear bumper, leave no doubt about this hatchback's performance aspirations. 18-inch alloy wheels, wrapped in performance tires, complete the look, filling the wheel arches perfectly. While the overall design is understated, the subtle tweaks and sporty accents give the 2013 Golf R an aura of understated aggression, appealing to those who prefer their performance served with a side of subtlety.

Interior and Features

Stepping inside the 2013 Golf R, you are greeted with a cabin that seamlessly blends sportiness and sophistication. The iconic flat-bottomed steering wheel, wrapped in premium leather, provides a confident grip. The deeply bolstered sport seats, adorned with the signature "R" logo, offer exceptional support during spirited driving while remaining comfortable for daily commutes.

Contrasting stitching and subtle aluminum accents throughout the cabin elevate the premium feel. The center console houses an intuitive touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity and available navigation. Despite its performance-oriented nature, the Golf R doesn't skimp on practicality. The rear seats offer ample legroom for passengers, and the hatchback design provides a surprising amount of cargo space. Whether you're tackling a winding road or running errands around town, the 2013 Golf R's interior offers a comfortable and engaging experience.

2013 golf r

Fuel Economy

The 2013 Golf R shines when it comes to performance, but its fuel economy figures are respectable for its class. The EPA rates the 2013 Golf R with a manual transmission at 19 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined. Opting for the available DSG automatic transmission slightly improves fuel efficiency to 20 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined.

While these numbers may not be groundbreaking, they are on par with other sporty compacts in its segment. For comparison, the 2013 Volkswagen GTI, equipped with the same engine but slightly less power, achieves 21 mpg city, 31 mpg highway, and 25 mpg combined with the manual transmission. The GTI's DSG automatic transmission offers 22 mpg city, 31 mpg highway, and 25 mpg combined.

Ultimately, the 2013 Golf R's fuel economy is a small trade-off for its exhilarating performance and practicality. Drivers seeking a balance between fun and fuel efficiency might consider the GTI, which offers a more economical driving experience without sacrificing too much on the performance front.

Safety Features

The 2013 Golf R was designed with safety in mind, incorporating a range of features to protect both the driver and passengers. Standard safety equipment included electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes (ABS), and a full complement of airbags, including front, side, and curtain airbags. The car's robust construction, featuring a reinforced passenger compartment and strategically placed crumple zones, aimed to absorb and dissipate impact energy in the event of a collision. Additionally, the Golf R was equipped with active head restraints to reduce the risk of whiplash injuries in rear-end collisions.

While the 2013 Volkswagen lineup, including models like the Passat and Jetta, offered similar standard safety features, some models provided additional driver-assistance systems as options. These included features like blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning, and lane departure warning, which were becoming increasingly common in newer vehicles to enhance driver awareness and potentially prevent accidents. However, it's important to note that the availability of these advanced safety features varied depending on the specific model and trim level.

Reliability and Ownership

The 2013 Golf R has developed a reputation for being a pretty reliable hot hatchback. Owners and reviewers alike have praised its robust engine and drivetrain, especially when compared to some of its competitors. While not without its occasional issues, major problems are relatively rare. Regular maintenance, like with any performance car, is key to ensuring its longevity.

2013 golf r

However, it's worth noting that the 2013 model year did have a recall for its water pump which could potentially fail and lead to engine overheating. If you're considering a 2013 Golf R, it's crucial to check if this recall has been addressed.

In terms of ownership costs, the Golf R sits in the higher end of the hatchback segment. Parts and labor, especially for specialized components, can be more expensive than your average Volkswagen. However, its generally strong reliability can help mitigate some of these costs in the long run.

For comparison, another Volkswagen model released in 2013 was the Jetta Hybrid. The Jetta Hybrid, as expected, boasts better fuel economy than the Golf R. However, it doesn't offer the same performance thrills. In terms of reliability, the Jetta Hybrid has a decent track record, but some owners have reported issues with the hybrid battery system as the cars age.


The 2013 Golf R and the 2013 GTI are often cross-shopped, and for good reason. Both offer a compelling blend of performance, practicality, and affordability. However, there are some key differences between the two cars. The Golf R is significantly more powerful than the GTI, with 256 horsepower compared to 200. This translates to a noticeable difference in acceleration, with the Golf R hitting 60 mph in around 5.5 seconds, while the GTI takes about 6.5 seconds.

The Golf R also comes standard with all-wheel drive, while the GTI is front-wheel drive. This gives the Golf R a significant advantage in terms of traction and handling, especially in wet or snowy conditions. The Golf R also has a more aggressively tuned suspension and brakes than the GTI, which further enhances its performance capabilities.

Inside, the Golf R features several upgrades over the GTI, including more supportive sport seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, and unique trim pieces. However, both cars offer a similar level of practicality, with spacious interiors and versatile cargo areas.

Pricing and Value

The 2013 Volkswagen Golf R came with a starting MSRP of around $34,000. This placed it at a premium over the standard Golf GTI, which started at around $24,000. However, for the extra money, buyers got a significant bump in performance, thanks to the Golf R's more powerful engine, all-wheel drive system, and upgraded suspension and brakes.

Feature 2013 Golf R
Engine 2.0L Turbocharged Inline-4
Horsepower 256 hp
Torque 243 lb-ft
Transmission 6-speed Manual or 6-speed DSG Automatic
Drivetrain All-Wheel Drive (4MOTION)

Compared to its rivals in the hot hatch segment, such as the Subaru WRX STI and the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, the Golf R was priced competitively. While it may not have been able to match the raw power of the STI or the Evo, the Golf R offered a more refined and well-rounded package, with a higher-quality interior, more features, and a more comfortable ride.

2013 golf r

For those seeking a practical and fun-to-drive hatchback, the 2013 Golf R presented a compelling value proposition. Its combination of performance, practicality, and features made it a standout choice in its class. However, it's important to note that options could quickly inflate the price, with some fully loaded models reaching close to $40,000.

Legacy and Impact

The 2013 Volkswagen Golf R left an enduring mark on the hot hatch segment, solidifying its reputation for practicality and performance. Its potent engine, sharp handling, and understated design resonated with enthusiasts, establishing it as a benchmark against which competitors were measured. The availability of a manual transmission further enhanced its appeal among purists, while its everyday usability ensured it remained a viable option for daily driving.

The 2013 Golf R's influence can be seen in subsequent generations of performance hatchbacks, with manufacturers striving to replicate its winning formula of practicality, performance, and refinement. Its legacy extends beyond its impressive performance figures, having played a significant role in shaping the perception of Volkswagen as a purveyor of well-rounded and desirable vehicles. The 2013 Golf R remains a highly sought-after used car, a testament to its enduring appeal and the lasting impact it made on the automotive landscape.

Published: 07. 07. 2024

Category: automobile

Author: Trevor Chambers

Tags: 2013 golf r | a car model from volkswagen released in 2013