Skip to main content

Compact cars aren’t for everyone due to their smaller size, but they definitely have their appeal. They’re typically good on gas, and many are more affordable if you’re interested in a new car. One compact car you should think carefully about before buying is the Volkswagen Golf because it has the lowest scores in its segments according to J.D. Power.

A red 2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI parks next to a hilly landscape.
2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI | Volkswagen Group

The 2023 Volkswagen Golf has poor scores 

The results are in from J.D. Power’s list of ‘Best Compact and Small Cars of 2023’, and the Volkswagen Golf didn’t perform so well. In fact, it came in last place and received the lowest scores of any mass-market car across all segments.

While J.D. Power does utilize expert reviewers who examine the car, and spend time with it driving around, this isn’t what determines the scores received for this list. The data research company reached out to hundreds of thousands of verified owners who have purchased each vehicle and asked their opinion about it in a survey format. The results of this survey are tallied, and that’s how each score is determined.

There were 10 vehicles on the list, and the 2023 Volkswagen Golf received the worst score in this segment.

How does the Volkswagen Golf compare to its rivals?

The Nissan Sentra took first place with a score of 84 out of 100. It has an MSRP range of $20,050-$22,940, and decent fuel mileage with a combined EPA rating of 28-39 mpg.

The Kia Forte and MINI Clubman both tied for second place and received a score of 83. The Honda Civic took third and scored 82.

The reason the Volkswagen Golf scored so much lower than its rivals isn’t easily explained with one simple explanation. There were no huge red flags which screamed ‘Buyer beware.’ Rather, it’s just minor issues that would be mildly annoying if it were only one or two things, but add up as a major nuisance.

Some cons which J.D. Power listed include frustration using the navigation system, the economy and range being rated lower than its rivals, and the driver assistance features which aren’t all that user-friendly.

The lowest score the Volkswagen Golf received from J.D. Power was for quality and reliability. It was rated 61 out of 100, which is considered fair. Owners ranked their dealership experience as 76 out of 10, which is average. The driving experience actually scored rather high, as it earned an 85 out of 100.

Is it all bad for the Golf? 

The 2023 Volkswagen Golf is not a lemon by any means. It has some good features such as the 241 hp turbocharged two-liter engine. The manual options such as 6-speed, Manual w/OD, 7-speed, and Auto-Shift Manual w/OD are also a big hit with some drivers.

The Golf also has a long list of standard features such as level 3 self-driving, blind spot and lane departure warnings accident avoidance system, lane keep assist, driver attention alert, and rear cross-traffic alert.

It is interesting to note that not all critics are disappointed in the 2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI. In fact, True Cars ranked the 2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI as its top small-performance car. This is why it’s always a good idea to check multiple reviews instead of reading just one and depending upon it to decide which car you will invest your money in.

With that being said, it’s really up to you if the Golf is worthy of purchase. If you can overlook the minor cons which caused some drivers to give it a low score with J.D. Power, then it might make a suitable daily driver. On the other hand, drivers felt this way for a reason, so the decision may not be so simple after all.


2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI 40th Anniversary Edition: Price, Features, and Value