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  • Writer's pictureAlain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld

2022 VW Golf R

This week we are reviewing the 2022 VW Golf R. Our vehicle was assembled at the Wolfsburg factory, Germany and had an MSRP of CAD 45,610.00.

VW Golf R

The Golf R's subtle design is a trademark compared to other hot hatchbacks that require eccentric exterior designs for a place in the limelight. For some, the R might be their first taste of performance, though they need something practical and suitable for weekends with the family. In short, the Golf R is the mature choice in this space, and it's always been so, and we are glad it continues to be this way.

Fun Factor: 9

The Mk8 Golf R came to North America 2-3 years after being launched in other markets, which may be a blessing in disguise; for once, we are getting a vehicle offered with a manual transmission only for our shores. Drivers who wish to feel completely connected to the R will be glad. You heard that right; Europe does not get the R with a manual. The reason is that demand for such a vehicle is high on our shores. In our test, we got to drive the 7-Speed DSG, and the only way we can explain how blazing fast it shifts is that VW must have taken some inspiration from Porsche's PDK transmission. It's not the only thing improved over the previous generation Golf R; it now has 315hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, shaving off 2-tenths of a second version of the outgoing model to reach 100 km/h. The 4.7 seconds it takes to bring it up to speed builds up gently before it rushes to an illicit velocity.

Can it Family: 7

The Golf has always been Germany's favourite family hatchback. The R brings it to another level; the front seats belong in a sporty vehicle. The Nappa leather seats with the embroidered R stand out; they are snug and cozy. It's lovely to find that the front seats are cooled and heated. Strangely the front passenger seat is not electrically adjustable. The rear passengers will have heated seats. And, yes, these are standard on the Golf R. The back seats follow the aggressive design of the front seats. The trunk is big enough to fit a stroller; we would add a scuff plate to avoid scratches. You can fold the rear seat in a 60/40 fashion to increase the loading capacity making it one of the most enjoyable hatchbacks to pick up things in it.

Fuel-Friendly: 7

Performance often means that fuel economy takes a hit if you drive the R responsibly, which we did for our Hwy test and averaged 7.9L/100km driving 110km/h. We drove it more eagerly and averaged 12.9l/100km in the city. Before drifting and launching the R, our average fuel economy was just above 10l/100km. It quickly increased after having too much fun and finished with a 13.9l/100km average during our 400km test. I am sure you're curious how much fuel it burns drifting away. Yep, we verified that using that feature will burn 19.9L/100km, which is priceless for the fun it returns. VW announces the following fuel economy of the automatic Golf R, 7.7l/100km on the Hwy, 10.3l/100km in the city, and has a combined fuel economy of 9.1l/100km. The manual R has a slightly higher fuel economy of 8.3l/100km and 11.8l/100km in the city, as the combined economy is 10.2l/100km. During our test, outside temperatures oscillated between -2C and +13C.

HWY-warrior: 9

It should be illegal for a people's car to have such a confident stance on the Hwy. VW improved the stiffnesses of the chassis without taking away ride comfort. They improved even on the road noise coming into the cabin. It's not a luxury vehicle level yet. It's easier to carry on a conversation with your passengers, which wasn't possible in the Mk7. If you want to relax your drive, semi-autonomous driving does a decent job of staying within the lanes and flowing traffic. We enjoyed that the heads display indicated the posted speed limits. You want to use this feature to keep your driver's licence.

VW Golf R front seats

Karaoke Friendly: 8

The biggest surprise to us was that VW dropped the Fender sound system found in the previous generation. VW has chosen the Harman kardon® route, a huge upgrade which sounds much richer. In terms of infotainment, certain features make it easier to navigate, in the same way as a smartphone with large icons. The system itself is slow and unpredictable when pressing on it. You select one thing, and the screen responds with something else. The climate and volume controls are touch-based; those wouldn't be problematic even if they require some getting used to; the biggest concern is that they are not backlit. Meaning at night, you have to guess if you're lowering the temperature or increasing it. Luckily the volume button on the steering wheel backlit. Both these are adjusted using a swipe gesture to increase/decrease rapidly. At the end of our week, we did get used to these functions.

Baby-friendly: 7

Like the MK7 Golf R, the latches (ISOFIX) ports are easy to find and attach. We were a bit worried, either for booster seats or rear-facing seats, that the fit would be uneven due sporty design of the seats. Luckily this wasn't the case. Rear legroom has improved overall versus the previous generation. However, taller kids might not be as comfortable behind a taller person.

City Cruising: 6

The Golf R doesn't have a 360 camera view; instead, it has sensors around the vehicle, making sure you keep those shinny, low-profile tires & rims scratch-free. There is only one camera, and it's hidden behind the VW logo. It will only show itself when the car is in reverse; it will never get dirty; this is especially useful during winter. The low stance of the R makes the ride over uneven roads a little more stressful. Especially in the sportiest setting, the ride can get pretty rough over potholes. Overall the little pocket rocket was a blast and felt reassuring to drive. Maybe one of the hardest vehicles we had to give back in 2022!

Why would we buy the 2022 VW Golf R or what we like? That steering wheel gives you a genuine sports car feeling. The AWD gives it an edge over other hatchbacks in its class, drift mode, the digital cockpit and finally, those magnificent front seats.

Why would we not buy the 2022 VW Golf R, or what did we not like about it? Please make a proper gear shifter; the current one looks out of place. The climate controls are not user-friendly, especially at night, not being backlit. The same goes for the buttons on the steering wheel; they are too sensitive and can be activated by accident.

VW has lent us this vehicle for one week as a press vehicle. We have no affiliation with VW Canada. The above is a recollection of our personal opinion of the car referred above.

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