Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

CAR OF THE MONTH March 2010

2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI Review

Cool Clean Diesel

A three-quarter front view of a 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI


In short: A totally lovable fuel-efficient hatchback.


T
here is much to be said for clean diesel technology and there are even fans out there (we're not talking biodiesel). In Europe, where fuel taxes are kept low on diesel at the pump, it make sense to spend 35 percent less on buying your fuel and getting another 35 percent in improved range on a tank. In fact, in France, where Rudolf Diesel was born, you'd swear there are more diesel-powered cars than the regular gas-powered variety. Unfortunately, in the U.S. it will be a tough road ahead for these torquey new age cars, because the price at the pump for diesel is often more than standard petrol, the initial price of the car is higher and there are all sorts of regulations that make it very difficult for manufacturers to get the car certified. Having said all of that, we fell in love with the Golf, much to our surprise. It's totally quiet, very powerful and sensible all around—and yes, gas mileage was excellent.

The interior of the 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI A look at the Volkswagen Golf TDI's turbocharged clean diesel engine

In its new skin, the Golf (previously known as the Rabbit) looks as attractive as ever for a five-door hatchback. You get a lot of practicality, ease of driving and fuel economy and most likely good residual value. It's a fine car for the entire family—a good reliable commuter and a nice cargo vehicle for weekend trips to the nursery or to move furniture around, but what surprised us the most was its zippiness and constant available power.

Warranty/Service: Five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty; three-year/36,000-mile new vehicle warranty; twelve-year/unlimited-mile corrosion perforation warranty; four-year/50,000-mile 24-hour roadside assistance; three-year/36,000-mile no-charge scheduled maintenance program.


QUICK SHEET
Base Price: $22,590 / As tested: 27,614

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front engine, front-wheel drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback

Engine: 2.0L 16-valve in-line 4-cylinder turbocharged clean diesel engine with common rail direct injection
Horsepower: 140 hp @ 4,000 rpm
Torque: 236 lb-ft @ 1,750-2,500 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual

Curb weight:
2,994 lbs
Wheelbase: 101.5 in
Length/Width/Height: 165.4/70.3/58.3 in
Turning circle: n/a

Brakes:
power assisted front vented disc brakes; rear solid disc brakes
Suspension: independent front struts with stabilizer bar; rear fully independent four-link suspension with coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers and stabilizer bar

Traction: electronic stabilization program, which includes anti-slip regulation, electronic differential lock, and engine braking assist

0-60 mph: 8.6 seconds
Top Speed: 125 mph (electronically limited)

EPA City:
30 mpg
EPA Highway: 42 mpg

Safety:
driver and front passenger front and side airbag supplemental restraint system; side curtain protection head impact airbags

Likes: versatility, gas mileage, quality
Dislikes: price (maybe)

Check out other Volkswagen models
See all of our Automobile Reviews
Visit the Volkswagen website

Photography: AlphaMedia

PNW022410 (Updated: 12/28/12 JLD)

Add a little excitement to movie night with GAYOT's top action films, which feature sword-wielding women, motorcycle-riding robots and more.

Set in scenic locations across the U.S. like the Berkshires and the Red Rocks of Utah, these wellness facilities make your health a priority.