I test cars for a living. I get SUVs, sports cars, family sedans, sports sedans, minivans, crossovers, hybrids from most every mainstream automaker. And while I have a personal love of the entire Honda/Acura lineup I must admit a weakness for VWs, as well. But never in all of my road testing have I felt so strongly that I found the car that I would buy today if I need one.
In all truth, however, I do get to test new cars each week so I don’t really need one. But if for some reason I did need a new car I would absolutely but a 2010 VW Golf TDI like the manual transmission equipped model I am testing this week. I even love the Shadow Blue Metallic exterior color although I would probably get a four door variant instead of the two door I am testing as I have a dog.
Why, might you ask, do I love this zippy yet frugal blue hatchback so much? Well, I am sure I could go on and on extolling the virtues of this utilitarian hatchback but I am going to boil down my love of this car into five salient points. Let me just put it this way: when I drive the 2010 VW Golf TDI I feel like I am home. And that is a feeling that is very hard to find in a new car.
The Exterior Styling
The 2010 Golf is one of the most beautifully understated compact car designs on the market today. It is classically Germanic, the doors close with a solid “thunk” and when you compare it to other visual messes like the hatchback Subaru Impreza or Mazda3 it is easy to see why it is the superior design. This gorgeous hatchback doesn’t have a bad visual angle and it never screams “cheap hatchback” like some competitors do. All it says is that “my owner has style and taste.” And in that aspect it is truly in a class by itself.
The Engine and Transmission
Unlike hybrid technology, the diesel engine dates back over 100 years and these engines are well known for being able to withstand mileages of 200,000 to 300,000 or more without any major rebuild issues. I don’t think any Prius batteries are going to last quite that long without giving up the ghost. The 2.0 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder diesel returns 30 miles per gallon city/41 highway with the six-speed manual and has a range of over 450 miles between fill-ups.
Now, onto the characteristic of the 2010 VW Golf TDI that makes it utterly unlike any hybrid. It is a giggle-inducing, frown line repelling, absolute laugh riot to drive. The six-speed manual transmission snicks into each gear with authority and the engine pulls hard from any speed. The steering is precise and the brakes are also strong and lack the grabbiness of many hybrid systems. This car is, simply put, the most fun to drive efficient compact car on the market today.
The Efficiency, Low Cost of Ownership and Low Price
With a base price of $21,990 and VW’s free 3 years/36,000 miles of servicing, this utterly disproves the notion that Volkswagens are expensive to own and operate. Again, the EPA estimates of 30 city/41 highway may be less than the averages quoted by the Prius but during my testing I have gotten 43 miles per gallon which isn’t a whole lot less than the 45 miles per gallon that I averaged in my recent $33,000 2010 Prius tester. Granted, you can load up your Golf TDI with options like navigation, xenon headlamps, heated seats, Bluetooth and upgraded audio but your bottom line will only rise to about $26,000. However, that still makes it a much smarter buy than the pricey Prius.
The Optional Dynaudio System Upgrade
I cannot recommend this option more highly. The Dynaudio Advanced Sound system upgrade costs only $476 and turns the interior of your 2010 VW Golf TDI into a concert hall of crystal clear sound. I have been listening to the “Glee: Volume 3” CD on repeat for the last two weeks and each time I hear the songs through the Dynaudio system I hear some new aspect of the songs I missed when listening to it in other test car’s audio systems. An absolute must buy. Competitors charge thousands of dollars extra for audio systems of this caliber so it really is a bargain.
The Interior Design
Although the 2010 VW Golf has the most robustly built, pleasingly tactile and gorgeously appointed interior of any car in its class or the class above it still manages to make you feel instantly comfortable much like a well worn tennis shoe. I don’t mean that in any way to belittle the incredible quality of the interior materials, plastics, chrome trims or durable seat fabrics, however.
The interior of the 2010 VW Golf TDI looks like it could withstand a nuclear bomb going off inside it. But that has always been the case with Golf interiors. I am referring here to a friend who would trash the interior of his last generation VW Rabbit yet after a good detailing it would always look brand new. That was also true of the interior of a Mk3 VW GTI that I once owned. VW interiors are, simply put, the best in the industry. And most importantly, they feel like home.
Vehicle Provided By: VW of America