Volkswagen Golf TDI
Review: Diesels are back, and they’re fun, clean and inexpensive to
run. Europeans have appreciated the advantages of Diesel-powered cars
for decades, and they buy them in mass quantities. Now, in America, with
ultra low sulfur clean Diesel fuel, and the technologies to limit
emissions, Diesel powered cars are now sold even in emissions-conscious
I recently spent a week
in VW’s sixth-generation Golf TDI diesel and have plenty to say about
it. What’s missing? The “following-the-old-bus” exhaust smell, sluggish
performance, clattering engine noise, and unpleasant fill-ups, all gone.
Driving one of these new Diesels is painless and shockingly economical.
Just check out the
numbers. My Candy White test car featured the new 140-horsepower
2.0-liter four-cylinder Diesel. The inline, five-cylinder gas engine in
regular Golfs boasts 170 horsepower, but just 177 lb.-ft. of torque. My
Golf TDI churns out a huge 236 lb.-ft. of torque at low rpm, so not only
do you get more than decent acceleration from a stop, but a little tap
on the accelerator (don’t call it “the gas”) on the freeway and you’re
shooting ahead in no time.
Here are some more
numbers. My tester’s EPA fuel mileage is 30 City, 42 Highway. I averaged
37.5 mpg in a week’s travel, a significant part of it on the highway.
That’s only about five mpg lower than the last Toyota Prius hybrid I
Diesel fuel is now
priced between regular and mid-grade gas, and with the low sulfur
Diesel, it has virtually no odor when you go to the little green pump to
refuel. The EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide awards the Golf a 7 for Air
Pollution and an 8 for Greenhouse Gas, good for Smartway status. In a
Diesel? Yes, indeed.
So, what’s new with
this brand new car? Well, the body styling is a revised take on the now
classic two-box hatchback theme, in two or four doors. If anything, the
contours are a little more edgy, with the headlamps and taillamps more
rectangular, and the two-bar grille more horizontal. You’ll still be
able to recognize it as a Golf. And by the way, the retro experiment of
calling the car a Rabbit, complete with the rabbit graphic, is over with
the 2010 model.
As a hatchback, the
Golf drops its rear seat and swallows your cargo, like an SUV. I slid my
upright bass in nicely, but any number of configurations would happily
rest there as well, like your new flat-screen TV for example, or a dorm
room’s worth of junk. Despite its 165-inch length, this is one of the
best combinations of fun, economy and usefulness you’re going to find
for sale on wheels today.
The TDI, which stands
for Turbo Direct Injection by the way, offers more than just a strong,
environmentally sensitive powerplant. And the electro-mechanical,
variably-assisted, power rack-and-pinion system, with a quick ratio,
makes for a real sense of control.
For safety, the car’s
Electronic Stability Program (ESP) uses its electronic brain to compare
your driving intentions with the vehicle’s actual direction and steps in
to alter the latter if it doesn’t match your input, all automatically.
The ESP system actually
includes a batch of other traction and safety features, including
Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR), Electronic Differential
Lock (EDL), Hydraulic
Brake Assist (HBA) and Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution (EBD).
These happy acronyms are all watching out for you as you drive.
Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS are standard.
Most of the time you
spend with your car is not admiring it in your driveway, it’s inside.
VWs in general, and this new Golf in particular, are well turned out for
long term comfort, starting with supportive cloth seats. The dash, doors
and trim are typical nicer-than-you-would-expect VW, and in this new car
the shapes flow more than the earlier, more linear design concepts.
Assembly, at VW’s
historic Wolfsburg location in Germany, is superb. Leather on the
steering wheel and shifter upgrades the skin / vehicle contact zones.
The TDI comes standard with a touch-screen eight-speaker sound system
with AM/FM, Sirius Satellite Radio, and a six-disc CD changer. It also
has an AUX jack, and even better, an MDI (Mobile Data Interface) port
for your iPod. I heard a little stumble at the start of each shuffled
song, but performance was fine otherwise.
Pricing for the TDI
begins at $22,740 for the two-door with six-speed manual, including
destination charge. My tester, a four-door with DSG paddle-shift
six-speed automatic, came to $26,614 with the optional Touchscreen
Navigation System, Cold Weather package with includes heated seats and
washer nozzles, and Bluetooth connection. The gasoline-powered 2-door
manual-shift, Golfs begin with an MSRP price of $18,240.
By Steve Schaefer ©
AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
The Bottom Line:
The 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI: Unless you plan to tow a boat, or your
family has six or more members, you can’t do much better than this car.
Plus you get three years of free maintenance and roadside assistance.
It’s fun to drive, efficient, clean, practical and reasonably priced.
It’s kind of like a no-brainer buy, really.
Review provided by: Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Volkswagen Golf TDI
Review provided by: Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net. “Tony the Car Guy”
is an automotive writer, editor and publisher in the San Francisco Bay
Area. If you have a question or comment for Tony send it to
TonyLeo@pacbell.net or visit AutoWire.Net at
www.autowire.net - And remember: “ You Are What You Drive ”
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Column Name: Diesels
are back, and they’re fun, clean and cheap to run
Topic: The 2010
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