|2010 Volkswagen Golf
|2010 Volkswagen Golf
- The base model is very satisfying
- Exterior design is clean and attractive
- Interior is excellent
- Comes in 3-door and 5-door
- Model selection is very broad with Diesel, GTI and high performance models coming
- Fun to drive rating is off the charts for a base model aka practical car
- Construction and feel is very solid
- 5-cylinder engine is quite powerful with a very usable torque curve
- Chassis handles nicely and feels like it can handle a lot more
- Could use a center arm rest with storage
- No interior options like leather are available
- Radio has mediocre sound, poor FM reception and no steering wheel controls
- Can’t get it as cheap as the competition
I’m a hatchback guy. I loved the VW Rabbit as I was growing up and I bought a Honda Civic hatchback as soon as I was able. Now I drive a modified Mini Cooper. I love the sportiness and utility of these cars. And to top it off, I just like the way they look.
Such is the market for the 2010 Volkswagen Golf. And unlike most cars where I pursue the sportiest, most powerful versions of the car, I was at peace testing the base model of the 2010 Golf. This model runs $17,600 with a 2.5L 5-cylinder motor mated to a 5-speed manual. That in itself is quite a surprise since it is a big motor for a base model and not the most frugal at 22/30 mpg city and highway. But the 170 hp and 177 ft/lbs torque should be interesting.
Ahhh, performance for a budget car is usually a very short section. But this is where the 2010 Golf shines. The chassis is solid and the suspension is taut and responsive. Couple that with a capable base model engine and this car is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. The highlight is the 5-cylinder engine that puts out 177 ft/lbs of torque. It pulls this car around town, around turns and on the highway. Get it on a twisty mountain road and it really responds.
Oftentimes you have to keep reminding yourself that is this a base model more of a practical car. No smiling allowed! Well that’s not how VW likes to treat their numerous, perhaps first-time VW brand customers. They delivered a car that is fun to drive as it accelerates and handles like a sporty car. 0-60 acceleration of 8.0 seconds is very respectable for a car in this category. And since this engine has a lot of torque and grunt, it feels faster than that.
The chassis feels like it can handle more than what the economy-tuned powerplant can churn out because it can. Unlike other small cars, the Golf is a platform that needs to be able to handle the weight and torque of a diesel version. In addition, the GTI and the R32 monster powerplants and suspensions are destined for this chassis. And as you drive this car and carve mountain turns, it feels confident that it can handle more power and more speed.
Construction-wise, this car feels more like a BMW 3-series than it does a Toyota Yaris. The Golf feels overbuilt and solid. We’ll repeat our theory that this chassis is built for so much more. On the higher-end models that are about to come, it will probably cost $40,000. So the build of this car feels much better than the hatchback competition.
This is the best looking VW Golf ever. The exterior and interior styling have been vastly redesigned as well. The body is gorgeous (if you’re a hatchback person). The proportions and lines are just right and all the chrome trim has been blackened out. The rear angled tail lights have been simplified and straightened to improve the rear of the car significantly. The beveling and contouring of the body panels are subtle but effective. And the front of the car is attractive and neutral unlike the ‘smiling’ Mazda 3. This is easily the best looking Golf in an attractive lineage.
The beveled body panels and recessed cavities all work together to form a clean and unified look. The black body trim is reserved and does not call attention to itself. And the rear and front lights work really well with this car.
How does a $17,600 economy hatchback deliver good value? It is more expensive than the competition as the Honda Fit starts out at $14,900 and the the Toyota Yaris and Nissan Versa are even cheaper.
But this starts out at a good price and ends at a good price without the need for all kinds of options and upgrades to make it a decent daily driver. And most important, it is a solid and very fun to drive car. So it gets our highest recommendation for delivering excellent automotive value for the money.
This car is an evolution of a hatchback species from a company that understands hatchbacks. It is not merely the ‘5-door’ version of a sedan. Rather it is car and platform that delivers a lot and can handle so much more. The 2010 VW Golf is solid, fast, safe and FUN!
|Official website for Volkswagen of America – www.vw.com|