2022 Volkswagen Golf R
2022 Volkswagen Golf R
2022 Volkswagen Golf R

2022 Volkswagen Golf R

Pros: Powerful engine; effective all-wheel-drive system; available manual transmission; hatchback practicality

Cons: Prices are a bit steep; interior controls are mostly touch-sensitive “virtual” controls instead of actual buttons and switches

CG Says: Volkswagen brings back the high-performance R version of its Golf compact hatchback in redesigned form for 2022, with more power and race-inspired features. The Golf R had been on hiatus since the 2019 model year. Volkswagen has discontinued the regular Golf models in the U.S., leaving only the R and sporty GTI versions available here. The Golf GTI is covered in a separate review.

The Golf R is sold in just one well-equipped version, with the only substantial choice being automatic or manual transmission. The sole engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that makes 315 horsepower—27 hp more than the previous Golf R’s powerplant. This engine pairs with either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. As before, all Rs have all-wheel drive. For 2022, the drive-mode system includes a “drift mode” that adjusts the AWD and stability-control settings to enable rear-wheel-drive driving dynamics.

The interior is equipped with a 10.2-inch configurable digital gauge cluster and several capacitive touch-sensitive controls in place of physical buttons and switches—an arrangement not all drivers are fond of. Leather upholstery, a 10-inch infotainment touchscreen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, and Wi-Fi are all standard features. Also standard are a number of safety-tech features, including adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and blind-spot monitoring.

With copious power, terrific handling, and a highly effective all-wheel-drive system, the 2022 Volkswagen Golf R is well suited for drivers who want thrilling performance in a small hatchback package. Also a plus is the Type R’s sophisticated, upscale feel, which helps it stand out from other high-performance mainstream-brand compact cars. That said, there is no “budget” version, and the R’s sticker prices nudge into premium-brand territory, pitting it against some similarly exciting cars that have tonier nameplates. Given that fact, the Golf R will probably find its strongest audience among those who are already sold on Volkswagen’s unique flavor of high performance.

The Facts
Class Sporty/Performance Car
Body Style(s) 4-door hatchback
Passenger Count 5
Drive Wheels all-wheel drive
Manufacturer Volkswagen
Nation of Manufacture Germany
Base Prices Base: $44,640

Base Engine
turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder
Std. Transmission
6-speed manual
Avail. Transmission
7-speed automated manual
EPA City Range (mpg)
EPA Hwy Range (mpg)

2022 Volkswagen Golf R
2022 Volkswagen Golf R
NHTSA Ratings
Overall - NA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Crash - NA
Side Crash - NA
Rollover - NA

For complete ratings click here.

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