2004 Volkswagen R32

  • 2004 Volkswagen R32 Base Hatchback

    Base Hatchback

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      3.2L V6
    • MSRP
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2004 Volkswagen R32 Review

A unique, high-performance gem in the hatchback market.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The Volkswagen R32 debuted only in Europe as more of a novelty than an actual model line. However, due to the unexpected popularity of the R32, it sells in the U.S. and Australia, as well. Even with the wider release, the R32 remains a rare vehicle. For example, the U.S. market only received a total of 5000 units.

The Volkswagen R32 looks very similar to the Volkswagen Golf hatchback in terms of appearance. However, beyond the visual similarities, the two vehicles do not share much in common. The engine and driving system installed in the R32 looks more similar to the Audi TT than the Golf. This results in a more powerful, higher-performance hatchback reminiscent of the Golf, but with performance more closely related to a sports car. It makes for a quirky combination of appearance and performance that gives the R32 a unique charm.

While the performance of the R32 makes it an excellent vehicle, the rarity of it can be an issue for potential buyers. Beyond the difficulty of finding an R32 for sale, the price tends to be higher than for other 2004 cars. However, buyers should be able to recoup more of their money if they ever sell an R32 due to the high value of retention, which means they can potentially save money over the lifetime of the vehicle.

The Range

Body Styles: hatchback
Engines: 3.2-liter six-cylinder
Transmissions: six-speed manual
Models: Volkswagen R32

What's New

The 2004 Volkswagen R32 provides a performance-oriented redesign of the Volkswagen Golf. No previous models of the R32 exist, but it is not similar enough to the Golf to be a comparable vehicle.


The Volkswagen R32’s Golf origins look readily apparent on the exterior. However, despite that, the R32 does not make an exact copy of the Golf. The most obvious changes concern the front and rear valences, spoiler, and side skirting. In addition, the R32 badge sits prominently on the rear of the vehicle. The color options for the R32 include only Deep Blue Pearl, Reflex Silver, Black Magic Pearl, and Tornado Red. Deep Blue Pearl and Reflex Silver represent about 75 percent of R32s manufactured, which makes the other two colors fairly rare.


The Volkswagen R32 has a sporty, refined interior. It does not have the same range of luxury features as some higher-end Volkswagens, but it has more standard features than the Golf. Manually adjustable seats, leather trim, climate control, cruise control, and a CD player with eight speakers provide standard features. The only optional feature for the 2004 Volkswagen R32 comes with replacing the leather-trimmed, cloth seats with full leather seats. Compared with the Volkswagen Golf, the R32 has a lot of attention go into refining the interior to make it more attractive and comfortable.

Performance & Handling

The 2004 Volkswagen R32 comes equipped with a 3.2-liter, six-cylinder engine capable of delivering 240 horsepower. The R32 can go from zero to 62 mph in 6.6 seconds. It has the second highest acceleration of any car released by Volkswagen in the U.S. The Volkswagen R32 features a 4Motion drivetrain, which allows it to switch from front drive to all-wheel drive. This results in a very maneuverable, easy-to-control vehicle. The Volkswagen R32 outperforms the Volkswagen Golf across the board, as a result. It proves faster, more powerful, and more maneuverable than it appears to be.


The 2004 Volkswagen R32 comes with a wide array of safety features, outperforming the Volkswagen Golf in this regard. Dual front airbags, front-side airbags, rear airbags, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution, traction control, and an engine immobilizer comprise standard features on the R32.

EPA Fuel Economy

Volkswagen R32: 17/24 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Good performance
  • Well-appointed interior
  • Low retail price
  • Used models hold value better than most

You Won't Like

  • Weak fuel economy
  • Very limited production run

Sum Up

A unique, high-performance gem in the hatchback market.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Ford Focus
  • Honda Civic
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Volkswagen Golf