Volkswagen Golf Highline 1.4 TSI (DSG) Review
Humble Brag

Words and Photos by Clifford Chow
7 Dec 2020

If you are still looking for a hatchback that drives well, the Golf may be near the end of its production run, but you are getting premium build quality, now sweetened with added aesthetics.

The Volkswagen Golf has long been termed the “King of Hatchbacks”. A car that many upgraders desire, and one which is not only practical and easy to live with, but boasts handling as sharp, rivaling quite a few performance cars out there.

The Mk.7 Golf may be near the end of its product lifespan, but before we bid adieu to this lovely car, Volkswagen has added a little special something to sweeten what is already one sweet hatchback.

The middle-of-the-range Golf Highline, even at the end of its production life, cuts a handsome silhouette, and features sharp styling that remains fresh. The signature thick-angular C pillar design element is a constant, carried over with each generation of Golf hatchbacks, one of the few elements that makes the Golf identifiable.

The sharp front-end features uniquely-shaped LED headlamps, that visually extend the grille into the lamp assemblies, through their pleasantly-designed lighting strips. For an added bit of play, there is a large panoramic sunroof that spans neatly across the width of the roof,  allowing more light into the cabin. Rear LED tail lamps which have fancy dynamic turn signals, are designed to match the Mk7 Golf’s angular bodywork.

Volkswagen has added a few visual tweaks to the outgoing Mk7… you could say that it is a little something to sweeten the deal. Their R-Line body kit, usually reserved for the top-spec R-Line hatchback, now adornes the Highline Golf. Buyers will get a more aggressive front bumper; and in German understated style, elegantly-thin side skirts.


The carryover of quality from Volkswagen’s larger models is a trait of the German brand. The Golf’s interior boasts a very high quality of fit and finish, and with the Highline-spec car, you are treated to a digital 12.3” high resolution Active Info Display, that adds even more flexibility to how you can configure your instrument cluster. Navigational information can also be displayed on this screen, which is a more natural line of sight for the driver.

The Discover Pro infotainment system, with a 9.2” colour display features swipe-friendly gesture control, allowing you to scroll through the menu easily. Those who like connecting their mobile phones to their vehicle, will be able to do so via MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; allowing you to share your playlist.


With a 2,620mm wheelbase, the Golf does a fine job as a practical hatchback. Passengers at the rear enjoy very good head and legroom, while boot space at 380 litres, coupled with an adjustable boot floor, adds even more flexibility to how you can lug things around. Cargo room can be further expanded to 1,270 litres by folding down its 40:60 rear seats.

The Drive

The Golf’s 1.4 litre turbocharged engine produces 123bhp and 200Nm, and is paired with their signature DSG (7-speed) transmission, known for its quick gear changes. While it does offer you a responsive drive, there is some inherent lag before the 1,400rpm mark. The Golf 1.4 clocks 100km/h in a humble 9.1 seconds; but it is how responsive the engine and transmission combo are, while on the run that truly impresses. I enjoyed the smoothness of how the Golf delivers its drive, even during overtaking maneuvers.

Stability beyond local expressway speeds is something that the Golf does with ease, and we know that, since we did take a few of them up North a while ago. Back at home, we took the Highline Golf around some very tight bends, and it simply indulged us turn-after-turn. The front-end ducks into corners with the sort of accuracy that is difficult to replicate with most other daily-drivable compact hatchbacks; and very quickly, you will know that you are in something very special.

The drivetrain also boasts a frugal combined 18.2km/l, which is some seriously good fuel economy. We did manage about 15.6km/l, and this is with a few spirited hill climbs thrown in.

In tighter spaces, the good all-round visibility of the Golf hatchback, coupled with this reverse camera, nestled neatly within the rear emblem, helps to make backing the car easier. Little touches like its wing mirror, set to face downwards while in Reverse ensures you know where the rear wheels are really going.

Safety-wise, the Golf is equipped with 7 airbags, including side-impact modules for front passengers, and curtain airbags to protect passengers both in the front and rear.

Our Thoughts

If you are still looking for a hatchback that drives well, the Golf may be near the end of its production run, but you are getting premium build quality, now sweetened with added aesthetics.

In Summary

We Like

Iconic styling. Build quality. Engaging drive. Highline model is well-equipped. R-Line bodykit adds a little flair.

We Don't

At $129,900 the Golf Highline still does not come cheap.


Digital instrument cluster and a few extra features makes the Highline trim Golf quite an attractive car to purchase. While it does not come cheap, it does very well, what a driver’s car does; and it is still practical.

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Engine Capacity 1395cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 4
Compression Ratio 10.5:1
Bore x Stroke (74.5x80)mm
Power 123bhp @ 5000rpm
Torque 200Nm @ 1400rpm


Acceleration 9.4s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 204 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 20.0 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 7 -speed DSG
Drive Type FF
Steering Electric


Body Type 5 Door Hatch
(L x W x H)
(4258 x 1799 x 1492) mm
Wheelbase 2620 mm
Turning Circle 10.9 metres
Fuel Tank Capacity 50 L


Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs