Back to reality this week, proof positive that the life of a car reviewer isn’t always fast, flashy cars like the Shelby or SRT8 Charger. *Sigh* I had the 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI this week with the engine I love, the turbo diesel, and although I had a bit of withdrawal the first day, the little coupe is actually fun to drive.
Essentially, this is the VW Rabbit that had its name changed back to the Golf. From a marketing standpoint, I am not sure they are better off, but hey, nobody asked me. I have never made it a secret on-air that given the choice between a hybrid and a diesel, the diesel will be my choice. The Golf TDI just reaffirms that notion. The Golf diesel is near zero-emissions and in fact, is clean enough even to pass tough California standards.
The little 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine puts out 140 horses yet has the torque to make it feel like a V6, it is somewhat amazing. The test car came with a six-speed manual transmission, but an automatic is available. Although I am not normally a manual tranny guy, I think an automatic in this car would be boring.
The interior is nice, nothing fancy, but certainly ample considering the low price of the car. Most surprising is the suspension, which is sport-tuned, and not at all what I expected. Cornering in the car is superb, and the overall ride is terrific.
For all of you who remember the diesels sold in America in the 1980s, you can forget all of that. Those days are gone. You cannot hear this car run and there are no diesel odors that are emitted. It is a real pleasure to drive.
The sound system is great and the test car even had a factory navigation system, one of the few that you can actually punch in an address while driving. Not smart, I know…but it will let you do it, unlike almost every other car I have driven in the last few years.
I had NO trouble easily exceeding the fuel economy that the EPA says the car will get. In fact, on a nice long stretch of road at 65 miles per hour, I was pressing 50 miles per gallon. Regular listeners know that the other real plus to a diesel for me is the engine longevity. You should get 300,000 miles easily out of this engine with basic maintenance, all the while achieving superior fuel economy.
This car is not for everyone, but if it appeals to you, it is a winner.
- What I liked most: Handling and fuel economy.
- What I’d change if I could: The driver’s seat would have more adjustment.
- Price as tested: $24,200 MSRP.
- Fuel economy: Underrated at 30 City/41 Highway
- Golf TDI in a few words: Some of the cheapest driving you’ll find in any automobile sold in America, but darn it’s kind of ugly!