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2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI 4 Door Sedan Review


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A Diesel in The Big Apple (and Environs)
By Bob Gordon,Co-publisher
The Auto Channel

See Also: Volkswagen Buyers Guide 1997-2011

Most of my new car reviews are either here in Auto Central's home town of Louisville KY or up in the Rockies around Vail, Colorado. But this time I had a great opportunity to spend more than a week with a tester and for many reasons (including number one - fuel economy) I chose to a test the 2010 Volkswagen TDI, and I was not disappointed.

I knew that I would be on the road between Plainview on Long Island, Allentown Pa., New Jersey, New York City (including Brooklyn, my home town, Manhattan (The City), Staten Island, and upstate NY. Lots of driving in lots of varying conditions and roads...some times I would be by my self and with 4 people as well with luggage no less...so a test this was.


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Waiting for me at Newark Airport was a gray metallic Golf TDI 4 Door Sedan (not the Sportwagen TDI I assumed I was testing) and truthfully I was initially concerned that this compact hatchback wouldn't have the carrying capacity I knew I would need at times during my weeks test. But was thrilled to find it equipped with a touch screen navigation system, which for the most part was great, intuitive, user friendly and most of the time a nice co-pilot especially, in those areas that were unfamiliar to me...no maps top look at, no trip-ticks to prepare and no mapquest printouts and no worries about getting lost.

So off I went...my first stop was to be LaGuardia airport to pick up my daughter who was arriving there from Denver...I spent a few minutes figuring out the Nav, and I mean quite a few minutes and finally LaGuardia was entered as my destination.

I had lots of time (or so I thought ) it was Saturday afternoon so there shouldn't be too much traffic (or so I thought) so I followed my new best friends directions, she routed me through the Lincoln Tunnel...and after almost two hours of STOP and go driving, detours, construction, jay walkers, lane closures and 15 bucks in tolls I arrived cool and confidently at airport pick up, and we were soon on our way.

The Golf TDI was zippy, and easy to handle in the NYC traffic...I was able to hold my positions against an onslaught of yellow cabs and drivers whose credo it seemed was to get the best of their on track competition (huh, I thought we were all on the same side but I guess not...) the Golf was quick off the line when needed and it was needed.

Well when finally out of the city traffic and cruising at above legal speeds (keeping up with traffic) the Golf was smooth quiet and filled with high quality sound from the optional Dynaudio Advanced sound system ($478) with satellite radio.

During the test I was visiting family friends, when as always the subject of cars came up...”what did I think of this, what did I think of that”...oh by the way I mentioned, I was in the middle of a road test of the 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI...hmmm said my friend, a diesel...”does it smell, does it smoke, does it make noises, does it have pickup what does it drive like?”...he went on to explain that he owns a Toyota Prius which he drives at least 1000 miles a week, and that although he likes (loves) its fuel economy he lamented that he really needs more pickup and power in the mountains of New Hampshire and asked me what I thought of the TDI diesel?

Well I says, let's go for a drive and then you can tell me what you think...so off we went, me and my Prius owning friend...he started the engine and it took just one minute to put a big smile on his face...”it sure has pickup” he said, “it sure is quiet” he said, “it sure don't smell” he said, “it definitely doesn't smoke” he said...”how many MPG can I get on this” he asked, “well its rated for 42 MPG” I says “but frankly it will deliver more much more...in fact 50 MPG is not out of the question” and he was sold, so Volkswagen you never know when a review will convert directly into a sale.


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The next day it was time to put the carrying capacity of the hatchback to the test. 4 adults, two BIG bags, a few smaller pieces of luggage plus various and sundry garment bags and other road trip paraphernalia...and as you can see in the picture it all fit in, it did take some creative packing but did comfortably carry the four of us and our luggage from the green hills of Long Island to the wilds of Brooklyn...wow.

Oh by the way, my Aunt had a comment about the front seat...she has trouble walking and was unhappy that the front passenger seat sport type side bolsters were so high that she couldn't just slide into the seat...so if you are considering the Golf TDI for purchase make sure that you are aware of this situation. (for those of us not so encumbered, the seats were firm, supporting and comfortable throughout the week)

After driving down state my trip took me to Allentown Pa and from there back to Long Islands via upstate NY and Westchester county, throughout the drive I felt confident in the ability of the Golf to give me what I needed when I needed it.

Although rated at 140 HP the Golf TDI diesel pushes out 236 lbs-ft of torque which provided more than ample power from take off to cruising and averaged 44 MPG. It was matched with a 6 speed DSG Automatic transmission with Tiptronic, so I was able to get the manual transmission experience on roads that screamed out for it.

Throughout the week the Golf TDI felt bigger, drove bigger and acted bigger than its actual dimensions (although easily fit into the micro parking spaces in Manhattan. It handled and responded like you would expect a German engineered motor vehicle to act, a feeling that no other car manufactures seems to be able to duplicate.

At $22, 590, the 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI comes with a long list of standard safety, comfort and convenience equipment and extraordinaire capabilities that equal or exceed those of vehicles costing many thousands more...and oh yeah its a diesel....try it you'll like it!

See Also: Volkswagen Buyers Guide 1997-2011