• (4.8) 21 reviews
  • MSRP: $4,013–$16,693
  • Body Style: Hatchback
  • Combined MPG: 27-35
  • Engine: 170-hp, 2.5-liter I-5 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission: 5-speed manual w/OD
2012 Volkswagen Golf

Our Take on the Latest Model 2012 Volkswagen Golf

What We Don't Like

  • TDI's firm ride
  • Automatic transmission's upshift urgency (TDI)
  • Telescoping steering wheel could extend farther
  • Over-left-shoulder visibility in two-door

Notable Features

  • Diesel (TDI) gets 42 mpg highway
  • Two- or four-door hatchback
  • Gas or diesel engine
  • Manual or automatic
  • Simplified packages for 2012

2012 Volkswagen Golf Reviews

Vehicle Overview

Volkswagen updated its compact hatchback for 2010, giving it smoother exterior styling, cabin revisions and a diesel engine. It's related to the performance-oriented GTI, which was also redesigned then. The five-seat Golf competes with the Mazda3 hatchback, Toyota Matrix and Mini Cooper.

New for 2012
The base TDI model has new 17-inch aluminum wheels, but other than a shuffling of the car's packages and options, there are no other significant changes for 2012.

Abandoning Volkswagen's once-ubiquitous plunging grille, the Golf's bumper separates the grille and air dam. Around back, the taillights have darkened lenses and white reflectors at their base. Other exterior features include:

  • Standard 15-inch steel wheels with wheel covers
  • Standard body-colored mirrors and door handles
  • Optional 17-inch alloy wheels

Whether you get a two- or four-door model, the Golf seats five people. Both front seats have standard height adjusters. Although many areas were upgraded versus the Golf's late-2000s predecessor, the Rabbit, the overall layout isn't all that different. Interior features include:

  • Standard power locks and side mirrors with keyless entry
  • Standard one-touch power windows
  • Standard air conditioning and cruise control
  • Standard CD stereo with auxiliary jack
  • TDI models have a touch-screen stereo and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls
  • Optional Dynaudio stereo
  • Optional moonroof and heated seats

Under the Hood

The front-wheel-drive Golf 2.5L is powered by a 2.5-liter inline-five-cylinder engine. TDI models get a turbocharged four-cylinder diesel. With manual transmissions, VW says the five-cylinder and diesel Golfs can hit 60 mph in 7.8 and 8.6 seconds, respectively. The TDI, like most diesels, gets roughly 30 percent better overall fuel economy than the gas-powered model. Mechanical features include:

  • 2.5-liter inline-five-cylinder with 170 horsepower and 177 pounds-feet of torque
  • Five-speed manual or six-speed automatic (2.5L)
  • TDI gets a turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel with 140 hp and 236 pounds-feet of torque
  • Six-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch automatic (TDI)
  • Sport-tuned suspension (TDI)

Safety features include:

  • Standard antilock brakes
  • Standard traction control and electronic stability system
  • Standard front-seat side-impact and side curtain airbags

Consumer Reviews


Average based on 21 reviews

Write a Review

Love my 2.5 2dr Base Golf! Seriously.

by Volks-driver from Detroit from Detroit, MI on September 9, 2017

I found a 2.5 liter base with 38K miles and 1 year left on factory warranty for under $10K-- I've already put 10,000 miles on it and it's a joy to drive. Runs on Regular and averages low 30's MPG but ... Read Full Review

Read All Consumer Reviews

4 Trims Available

Photo of undefined
Wondering which configuration is right for you?
Our 2012 Volkswagen Golf trim comparison will help you decide.

Volkswagen Golf Articles

2012 Volkswagen Golf Safety Ratings

Crash-Test Reports

IIHS Ratings

Based on Volkswagen Golf 2.5L 2-Door

Head Restraints and Seats
Moderate overlap front
Roof Strength

IIHS Ratings

Based on Volkswagen Golf 2.5L 2-Door

G Good
A Acceptable
M Marginal
P Poor

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
Overall Rear
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry

Moderate overlap front

Left Leg/Foot
Overall Front
Right Leg/Foot
Structure/safety cage


Roof Strength


Driver Head Protection
Driver Head and Neck
Driver Pelvis/Leg
Driver Torso
Overall Side
Rear Passenger Head Protection
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
Rear Passenger Torso
Structure/safety cage
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers. IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on performance in high-speed front and side crash tests. IIHS also evaluates seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts.


There are currently 3 recalls for this car.

Safety defects and recalls are relatively common. Stay informed and know what to do ahead of time.

Safety defects and recalls explained

Service & Repair

Estimated Service & Repair cost: $3,000 per year.

Save on maintenance costs and do your own repairs.

Warranty Coverage





Roadside Assistance Coverage


Free Scheduled Maintenance


What you should get in your warranty can be confusing. Make sure you are informed.

Learn More About Warranties

Warranties Explained


Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.


Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

Roadside Assistance

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

Free Scheduled Maintenance

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

Other Years