2013 Volkswagen Golf vs. Its Competition

2013 Volkswagen Golf image
Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Senior Editor

The 2013 Volkswagen Golf has a look and feel that won't be all that surprising to anyone who's ever owned (or even test-driven) a Golf before.

And provided you skip past the base five-cylinder engine, it's an enjoyable, sophisticated small car with impressive fuel-efficiency.

The problem comes when you start to figure in price, as in either TDI or GTI guise the Golf starts near the $25k mark, or reaches $30k well-equipped.

The Ford Focus is TCC's Best Car To Buy for 2012, and the combination of crisp handling treads on VW territory, and its MyFord Touch controls set the pace for the class, though they're complex to use, but Ford's pricing stands as a much better deal.

The Mazda3 now gets 40-mpg highway gas mileage ratings, and it's kept its pert, friendly handling even through its weight-cutting crash diet.

The Kia Forte and Soul share underpinnings, and whether it's the five-door hatchback or tall wagon, either have as much interior space as the Golf, with marked improvement in quality from last-gen Kias.

The Subaru Impreza includes all-wheel drive and has a lower price, although its interior just isn't up to the same standards as those of the Golf.

2013 Volkswagen Golf image2013 Volkswagen Golf
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2013 Ford Focus image2013 Ford Focus
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2013 Kia Soul image2013 Kia Soul
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2013 Kia Forte image2013 Kia Forte
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2013 Mazda MAZDA3 image2013 Mazda MAZDA3
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2013 Subaru Impreza image2013 Subaru Impreza
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Quick Specs
The 2013 Volkswagen Golf masterfully balances frisky performance, fuel-efficiency, and refinement in its GTI and even TDI editions, but as such it's priced as a premium model.
Whether or not you consider the exciting new ST performance model, the 2013 Ford Focus lineup is evidence that small cars don't have to feel so appliance-like.
The 2013 Kia Soul is both soulful and sensible--a distinctive, roomy, fun to drive alternative to staid small sedans or utility vehicles.
It's a family affair: the Kia Forte lineup is more comfortable, more eager, and better finished than ever, and a step up from what its sticker price might suggest.
The 2013 Mazda 3 drives with a lot more sophistication and verve than you might expect for a small car this affordable, practical, and fuel-efficient.
The 2013 Impreza retains the Subaru hallmarks of standard all-wheel drive, practicality, and durability, while packing in more features for the money—and it looks good doing it.
MSRP From     
Gas Mileage     
19 MPG City / 42 MPG Hwy23 MPG City / 38 MPG Hwy23 MPG City / 30 MPG Hwy22 MPG City / 36 MPG Hwy18 MPG City / 40 MPG Hwy25 MPG City / 36 MPG Hwy
Gas I5Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4Gas Flat 4
EPA Class     
CompactCompactSmall Station WagonCompact CarsCompactCompact Cars
Style Name     
2-Door HB Manual PZEV4-Door Sedan S5-Door Wagon Manual Base4-Door Sedan Manual LX4-Door Sedan Manual i SV4-Door Manual 2.0i
Front Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveAll Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity     
Passenger Doors     
Body Style     
2 Door HBSedan5 Door Wagon4 Door SedanSedanSedan
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2013 Volkswagen Golf vs. 2013 Ford Focus2013 Volkswagen Golf vs. 2013 Kia Soul2013 Volkswagen Golf vs. 2013 Kia Forte2013 Volkswagen Golf vs. 2013 Mazda MAZDA32013 Volkswagen Golf vs. 2013 Subaru Impreza