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2010 Volkswagen Golf – Click above for high-res image gallery

Outside of North America, the Golf has been Volkswagen's bread-and-butter model for more than three decades, making the diminutive hatch one of the best selling global vehicles since its mid-Seventies launch as the Beetle's successor. But in the States, it's a totally different story. Except for a few brief periods when fuel prices spiked, the Golf/Rabbit has always played second fiddle to the Jetta – little more than a Golf with a trunk.

While the sixth generation Golf has been on sale in Europe for nearly a year, U.S.-spec versions are beginning to trickle into retailers on this side of the Atlantic. But before you head down to your local V-Dub dealer to check out the newest Golf (and buy a Jetta instead), we made the trek to Germany to sample the latest iteration of VW's workhorse in and around its Wolfsburg birthplace. Is the new Golf finally enough to woo hatch-averse Americans out of their sedans and into something with an added helping of practicality? Follow the jump to find out our first impressions.

Photos copyright ©2009 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.
Heading into 2010, Volkswagen of America is killing off the Rabbit name for the second time in the hatch's history. The MkI was originally dubbed the Rabbit in North America because the corporate mothership felt U.S. buyers wouldn't understand the European "Golf" moniker. By the time the MkII arrived, VW switched over to the global nameplate, only to reverse course with the last generation MkV, reviving the cuddly name in an attempt to rekindle nostalgia and spur flagging sales. It didn't work, so the Golf is back... hopefully for good.

The MkVI isn't quite an "all-new" vehicle – it's more of a MkV.5, retaining the last generation's platform and at least half (two-thirds if you include the GTI) of the powertrain lineup. The most obvious revisions are on the outside, with none of the previous generation's bodywork carrying over to the MkVI. We're good with that, and Walter de Silva, Volkswagen Group's head of design, is understandably proud of his latest creation.

De Silva discussed VW's styling strategy going forward, emphasizing the automaker's decision not to go retro, but rather incorporating elements that show a connection to the past. One of those themes is a horizontal emphasis in the grille that hearkens back to the original, rectilinear Giugiaro-designed model. De Silva maintains that a Volkswagen should evoke simplicity, solidity and robustness, noting that, "the period of over-design is finished."

We asked Klaus Bischoff, head of design for the VW brand to elaborate, noting that the last generation model's vertical, chrome laden face that infiltrated most of VW's North American line-up, always came across as overwrought for a VW. While Bischoff wouldn't go that far, he did concede that it never fit with the intended image of the brand and was perhaps too similar to the grille found on VW's corporate cousin, Audi.

The resulting redesign has created one of the most attractive Golfs in the automaker's history, with the front fascia adopting a more subdued, Scirocco-inspired grille and headlamps, while the tail lights and rear bumper have been reworked to reflect VW's new softened aesthetic, conjuring up a bit of the MkI in the process. Along the flanks, the more pronounced character line and wheel arches give the hatch a more muscular look, yet it remains instantly recognizable as a Golf, just slightly evolved and more grown-up.

The 2010 Volkswagen Golf is available in two variants for North America: The base model's 2.5-liter five-cylinder gasoline engine carries over, while the Golf TDI makes its triumphant return equipped with the same 2.0-liter oil-burner that debuted in the Jetta TDI last year. We had the opportunity to pilot both models while in Germany, although we spent more time at the helm of the TDI than the gas-powered five-cylinder, which proved to be yet another eye-opening experience.

When the Jetta TDI debuted last year, VW hid some of the diesel's price premium by equipping the sedan similar to the middle-level SE trim level of the gas models. The same strategy is being used with the Golf, although this time around the lineup is simpler, with only the base and TDI trims and no gas models priced above the diesel. As such, the TDI comes equipped with standard fog-lamps, while the 2.5-liter gas model makes due with blank plates, and the TDI rolls on attractive, ten-spoke 17-inch wheels, compared to the 15-inch steelies fitted to the standard Golf.

One of Volkswagen's hallmarks has been its thoughtful, well-crafted interior. Even the cheapest entry-level Golf is equipped with quality of materials, with fit and finish easily a cut above its class. Of course, when you consider the price premium the average V-Dub commands, it should be a nice place to spend time, and VW consistently delivers. Nearly all the materials inside the MkVI feel durable, soft and pleasurable to the touch, with visible seams kept to a bare minimum.

The design and layout of the new Golf's interior is a natural evolution of the previous model, but there's nothing wrong with that. Change for the sake of change doesn't necessarily make anything better, and with the Golf, the ergonomics are as superb as before, with nearly everything exactly where you expect it. The standard three-knob (fan speed, air location and temperature) climate control system anchors the center stack, with the entertainment system – available with a sat-nav setup – mounted above providing simple round dials for volume and tuning.

Here again, the gas and diesel models diverge with the oilburner offering a more upscale look and extra amenities to go with its more efficient engine. The gas Golfs get a basic AM/FM radio with a single disc CD player, while the pricier TDI gets a standard touch screen-based audio system with satellite radio and six-disc in-dash CD changer. Other features, like Bluetooth and a media device interface, are also bundled into the more expensive TDI, and for the directionally challenged looking for an integrated factory navigation system, the TDI is your only choice.

The front seats have basic adjustments for movement fore-aft, height, lumbar and back angle, while the driver enjoys a power adjuster for the seat back angle, while the passenger is relegated to the loved (by Germans, at least) rotary knob at the hinge. Both front seats have surprisingly ample side bolsters that help keep the driver planted directly in front of the steering wheel and all seats are swathed in cloth regardless of the powertrain choice.

Over two days, we drove a variety of U.S.-spec Golfs equipped with either the gas or diesel engines, and manual and Dual Sequential Gearbox (DSG) transmissions. For 2010, all Golfs get six forward ratios regardless of the shift mechanism, and those who opt for the petrol five-pot and DSG will have to pop the shift lever over to the right, then tap forward and back in order to manually select ratios, while TDI models with the DSG benefit from a set of steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.

Saddled into a two-door DSG for our run to the track, we quickly realized that VW continues to improve the behavior of the dual clutch gearbox. Some earlier examples occasionally felt sluggish when launching from a stop, but the latest edition never failed to pull away as smoothly as any torque converter automatic regardless of fuel type.

Maneuvering through Wolfsburg, the behavior of the gearbox was absolutely seamless. Despite our preference for three-pedal cars, the sub-5,000 RPM red-line of the diesel actually makes the self-shifting box the perfect traveling companion. The narrow power band proved effortless thanks to ample torque from the diesel, making both smooth launches and lugging along in second or third gear a breeze. The addition of the paddles are welcome when you want to take control of the propulsion process, and compared to the very similar Audi A3 TDI we drove several months back, this new Golf's powertrain felt superior in all conditions. We can only hope that the production U.S.-spec A3 is as good when it arrives later this year.

Another area where the TDI differs from the base model is its suspension and tires. All Golf TDI models come standard with a sport suspension package and the aforementioned plus-one wheels, giving the Golf a slightly crisper feel than the base model. However, both models exhibit the solid composure that we've come to expect from German-bred vehicles, a fact clearly demonstrated when we passed large trucks on the autobahn at triple digit speeds and felt nary a shudder or wiggle in their wake. One might expect a suspension capable of keeping body motions in check on smooth German highways would come across as stiff when road quality deteriorates, but that's not the case with the Golf. When we encountered stretches of bumpy cobblestones in Dresden, even the sport suspension setup on the TDI proved to be well behaved and comfortable, which bodes well for some of the neglected roads the TDI will have to endure Stateside.

The Golf always tracked straight, even at speeds over 100 mph, aided by precise steering that made positioning a simple point and shoot affair. The steering provided adequate feedback when we had the chance to dive-bomb a few corners, a when the occasional delivery van became a rolling roadblock in the left lane, the Golf's brakes – while lacking in feel – were up to the task, easily reigning in the party from 115 to 60 MPH.

Since the diesel engine is the same unit that debuted last year in the Jetta, output remains unchanged at 140 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, although both the gas and diesel models receive a few calibration tweaks for 2010 that boost miles per gallon on DSG models. The base, gas-powered five-cylinder engine puts out an adequate, if not inspiring, 177 hp, but its rough revving characteristics and lackluster fuel economy pale in comparison to the available oilburner. With any luck, VW will replace the five-pot with one of the TSI (turbocharged and direct injected) engines currently available in Europe. VWoA CEO Stefan Jacoby won't provided a timeframe as to when these stellar mills will make it to the U.S. market, but with displacement downsizing becoming more common, it's not a matter of if, but when. In the meantime, the quiet, smooth running diesel is easily the preferred powerplant for the Golf. Delivering a 0-60 MPH time of 8.6 seconds and flat torque curve, it's more than adequate for the vast majority of drivers and delivers fuel economy that could make most hybrids blush.

Cruising along at a steady 100 MPH, the trip computer was reading about 31-32 MPG (U.S.) or 7.4-7.5 L/100 km. On the run from Wolfsburg to Dresden, we saw an average of 37 MPG (U.S.) in a combination of urban and autobahn driving, including several triple digit stretches, while the gasoline version was hard pressed to enter the upper 20-MPG range. The EPA has already rated the Golf TDI at 30 MPG around town, with the manual getting 41 MPG on the highway and the DSG coming in at 42 MPG.

Volkswagen faces two problems with marketing the Golf in the U.S. market. The first, as we already mentioned, is the long-time resistance to hatchbacks among American buyers. That may be changing as hatchbacks begin to shuffle off their low budget, utilitarian demeanor. The second problem is more intractable. While VW builds the Jetta in Mexico, the Golf continues to be sourced from Germany. With the U.S. dollar currently trading at around $1.50 to the Euro, it's difficult for VW, or any European automaker, to turn a profit on lower end cars like the Golf. That's why the three-door, gas-engined Golf starts at nearly $17,500 and its MSRP tends to skyrocket as the option boxes are ticked.

Volkswagen's new factory in Chatanooga, TN will help alleviate some of these issues in the mid-size market when it starts building a replacement for the Passat in mid-2011. According to VW of America CEO Stefan Jacoby, the site has sufficient space to double the initial size of the factory and produce up to 500,000 vehicles annually. VW also intends for Chatanooga products to have over 85 percent domestic content by value, and if demand warrants, VW could build the Golf in Tennesse at a more competitive cost.

For now, you'll have to swallow hard to step into a Golf over one of its market competitors. If you don't choke on the price, the new Golf has plenty to offer, especially when it comes to vehicle dynamics and utility. The base model isn't inexpensive, but it doesn't feel cheap. And for our money, we'd choose the excellent efficiency, increased amenities and superior suspension dynamics of the TDI -- until VW decides Stateside consumers are ready for one of its highly efficient 1.4-liter gas engines.

Photos copyright ©2009 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.

Our travel and lodging for this media event were provided by the manufacturer.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      I got a MKIV R32 with 115K miles.... I've done 2 wheel bearings on it last winter after I wrecked 2 wheels on nasty pot holes. Thermostat and coolant temp sensor for total of 60 dollars with fluid to get rid of the CEL @65K miles.
      I'm still running the stock clutch, doing all my maintenance @ work. ASE master tech here for Acura. Needless to say, my R32 has been more reliable than my coworkers TLs. My wife drives a TSX, and we have some small issues with it also...
      Would I buy a new VW ? Nah, I'm very partial to my VR6. Its sound and thrust make me forget about any car I could be dreaming of.
      • 5 Years Ago
      vw golf perfect???
      • 5 Years Ago
      99.5 Jetta currently 166,000 miles:

      Brake light switch recall once, never had a problem at all.
      Center pillar cover recall no problems before or since
      Dealer replaced window regulators before they went bad, never had a problem.

      No warranty work
      No interior problems except the glove box which is easily repaired WITHOUT replacing.
      No wiring problems

      Timing belt at 100,000 miles (while in there replaced idler, water pump, tensioner.) total cost 380 dollars.

      Other than that normal service and 3 sets of tires, original brakes replaced at 102,000 miles.

      That's about it.

      Has never let me down. Bought a new CC, it's great.

      When you talk with most VW owners they don't have many complaints, that's really the case if they have owned more than one. First time buyers coming from oriental imports, not so much, not as happy.

      Folks who continue to drag up problems with MK IV's need a life.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "First time buyers coming from oriental imports, not so much, not as happy."

        That's the bar that VW has to reach, though. If I get the sense that the new VWs are as reliable as the Hondas I've driven in the last two decades (and the early-seventies VeeDubs I drove happily before turning Japanese) then VOA can count me in as a purchaser of a GTI, a GTD, or a Jetta TDI Sportwagen. But even the coolest Teutonic designs get scrubbed off my list if they don't have a rock-solid reputation for reliability. 200,000 miles or bust.

        Actually, I think VW will solve any lingering reliability issues long before the Japanese automakers fix their reputation for designing stupid-looking cars.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I am really digging the looks of the new Golf, the interior just looks like a Audi now. I am wishing to see the VW 1.4-liter Twincharger motor in it for America, but I am sure we won't get it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "The 2.5 is better, no turbo, no supercharger, burns regular gas, and has 1 more cylinder for a better sound, with a sport exhaust. This motor is good enough for the Audi TT-RS"

        The 2.5 litre 5-pot is a complete dog in comparison. The 1.4 litre twincharger is as powerful and achieves almost twice the fuel economy. And if you quibble over an extra $0.30 cent a gallon for premium, you shouldn't be buying new cars in the first place.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The 2.5 is better, no turbo, no supercharger, burns regular gas, and has 1 more cylinder for a better sound, with a sport exhaust. This motor is good enough for the Audi TT-RS
      • 5 Years Ago
      I like almost everything about the Golf, but you forgot to mention the biggest demerit for VW: their perceived lack of reliability. I can't speak from personal experience, but VW's always rank low on any third-party measure of reliability. They're also relatively expensive to fix and maintain. Anecdotally, everyone I know who's every owned a VW of Audi has had problems with it and has spent a lot of money to maintain it. These are serious problems, expecially for a small, practical commuter car like the Golf. In the US, long term quality trumps all.

      I don't quite understand it: in Europe, VW is considered to be a rock-solid standard bearer of quality. Here in the US, they're down there with Jaguar and Land Rover in terms of long term reliability. Maybe we drive more here and wear cars out more quickly? Until they fix the problem, most people are going to stick with a Corolla/Civic/Fit/Xa/Cube/etc.
        • 5 Years Ago
        a big reason the quality (or perception of it) is low in the US is simply due to the overwhelmingly large number of mexican built jettas vs german sourced rabbits/golfs. the jetta traditionally outsells the hatch by 3-1 here in the US, while it's the reverse in europe and the rest of the world.

        the new beetle is built alongside the jetta in mexico as well, another huge seller in the US but nowhere else, and another car that has a not so stellar reliability track record. i had an 88 gti 16v that had over 200,000 miles on it, and had no problems whatsoever. my sister's 88 jetta, however, was ALWAYS in the shop. no problems with my 07 rabbit (sourced from germany) as well.

        so the majority VWs we're driving here in the US are/have been sourced from mexico with sub-par quality, while the rest of the world gets the german (or in some cases south african) sourced cars.

        why would VW have such a great rep around the world but not in the US? could just simply be our preference of sedans over hatchbacks...
        • 5 Years Ago
        let's go ahead and keep it relevant. We're moving onto the MkVI, so if anyone wants to talk reliability, let's talk about MkVs, ie the previous generation. I don't go hopping into audi threads expressly referencing the Audi 5000 incident, it's irrelevant.

        Issues I've noticed thus far on the MkV

        On my Jetta and GTI 2.0Ts - fuel line rattle
        On my R32 - fuel tank valve thingie recall, forthcoming mechatronics recall.

        Nothing has prevented me from reaching work or completing a 5,000 mile road trip.

        If we want to talk long term concerns that's fine, but again, they should be relevant. Bringing up coil pack issues or brake light switch issues which affected models which began gestation in the late '90s and stopped selling around 2005 isn't going to be relevant, we're not going to see 1.8T issues on the 2.0T.

        When Ford, GM, etc climb up in reliability, we all get happy. When VW improves reliability, we all ignore it. If we're going to drudge up issues with previous generations of cars, issues which haven't crept up in the new cars, let's be honest about that.

        Is the MkVI going to be flawless? no. none of us are stupid. is it going to be as 'bad' as the MkIV? no. of course not.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I have found the quality and reliability to be very good. I have a 06 rabbit, with 26k on it and just a couple minor problems. Compare that to my 06 Acura TSX, what a piece of crap and the 2009 BMW 328i that the dealer just bought back after 8 months of ownership due to the numerous problems like the interior that sounded like an old creaky wooden boat. $26k for the TSX and $42k for the Bimmer, and$19k for the Rabbit. The Rabbit is quiet doesn't make a peep,is fun to drive and has given me 0, none drivability problems. All I have done is change the oil. My opinion of the VW, it's a well build car. I would buy one again.
        • 5 Years Ago
        the Golf is the standard because it's the best in its class. i don't care about what kind of Golfs they sell in the US, but in Europe they are solid cars , that's why people want them. i live in Eastern Europe and i have friends who sell used cars, VWs sell instantly, French and Italian cars not so good and people don't want to touch used Japanese cars.

        @ Kitko why are you calling the TDI agricultural when compared to the Japanese and French cars ?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I have a 2007 Rabbit, and it's been a flawless car, best car I have ever owned by a mile. Sure the 2.5 isn't the best engine out there, but it's torquey and can still put a smile on my face. and if the new MKVI is that little bit better. then it's one of the best in it's class.
        • 5 Years Ago
        We have a newsgroup at work and someone posted how it was nice to get some post warranty work done free on his VW (service bulletin).

        This quickly turned into a discussion of about 6 or 7 VW owners. Frankly it sounded like a horror show. Windows falling in, dead on the side of the road, there wasn't anyone with a length of ownership beyond 3 years that didn't have issues.

        Then there is just plain regular maintenance which seems about double. $1800 for a timing belt replacement (I am in Canada).

        you pay more up front.
        you pay more for regular maintenance.
        you have more things going wrong requiring additional work.

        You certainly don't buy a VW to economize.

        As far as a Golf TDI, It will cost you about $5000 more than Mazda three around here, so unless you drive a huge amount you will never save money, not to mention reliability/maintenance costs.

        If VW wants to push diesel, they need to have something that is under $25K.
        • 5 Years Ago
        My 2000 GTI GLX was horrific. I was at the dealer most every month. I believe (and hope) that VW reliability has gotten better. I'm not sure that I'm ready to take another chance on VW just yet, though.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ Mayoman

        Your giving the classic too early to tell jack ass review of your 2007 rabbit.
        ...your rabbit probably has less than 60k miles on it
        • 5 Years Ago
        My 2002 Jetta was a little troublesome, but my 2006 Jetta has been a rock. Nothing significant. My 2003 Passat has also been near flawless. I think VW quality has significantly improved over the last decade.
        • 5 Years Ago
        rip steakface, that is simply not true. The country of assembly was not correlated with the problems. Most of the problems were design related. Furthermore, my troublesome GTI GLX was assembled in Germany.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Here's my '02 GTI 1.8T experience to add to the mix.

        Had the window regulator and coil pack issues within a year or two of buying the car(I bought it used with 3k miles on it, essentially, I'm the only owner). Both were fixed by the dealer for no cost with minimal hassle, they even rented me a car when they had to keep my car overnight when they didn't get the window parts in time. When they fixed the coilpacks, I had the car back that evening. Window regulators have been fine since then, some 5-6yrs and 80k+ miles since they were replaced. I don't honestly recall exactly when it was.

        I recently had to replace the coil packs again myself which cost me about $120 and took about 15mins to complete. With over 100k miles now, I'm not surprised they went bad. Considering the original plugs were rated for 100k miles too, I guess that's not bad.

        I also had the brake light switch issue a few years back, a $7 part and 5 mins. under my dash and it was fixed.

        Lastly, I had the timing belt(and related parts) replaced about 2yrs ago as well. Instead of blindly letting the dealer work on it, I had a former dealer mechanic looking for side work do it himself. He's well-known locally and has done tons of work for others in the local VW/Audi community, I trust his work. I bought all the necessary parts and paid him cash for the work, total bill was about $500.

        Would I buy another MkIV VW again, probably not(not necessarily due to my issues either, I just like the newer models more). Would I buy another VW again, definitely.
        • 5 Years Ago
        RE: Quality. Golf is solid. Not there with Mazda and Toyota (the most reliable brands in Germany as measured by German TUV and Autobild), but solid. Most of the times....

        Renault's boss once stated that VW could make a horse cart, put a Golf sign on it and it would still sell by millions.

        I wonder why. Design-wise, it's the totally and utterly sterile, the most uninspiring and boring car. Ever. Inside out. It's dull to drive. It has good and bad years in build quality and reliability but it's never stellar. VW diesels are still agricultural compared to what Japanese manufacturers, the PSA and Renault have to offer.

        Still, in Europe, it's treated as a class standard. And rightly so. It's a car for the middle of the road, a gray car for the gray unimaginative horde, a car that is synonymum for compromises, an overpriced Skoda Octavia, that's trying to be everything for everyone while doing absolutely nothing perfectly in its utter mediocrity. An average car.

        A class standard. Nothing more. VW.
        • 5 Years Ago
        My Rabbit (back in the day) was hella cool and fast. It also SUCKED in regards to reliability.

        The Golf has one huge problem, it's been the same car since, well, forever. I like it and would probably buy one, but, it just isn't exciting anymore.
      • 5 Years Ago
      With the pricing situation, you have to be really sprung on getting a German car to choose the Golf/Jetta right now. And don't forget the increased maintenance costs, it's nearly twice the price to work on a VW over a Subaru where I live.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Thats why you buy the diesel, those engines last practically forever and they require little maintenance (no spark plugs to change!). Besides, VW offers no cost maintenance during the warrantly period so its not a big deal.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Dubya tee eff?
        Free maintenance for the first 48k/48mos last time I looked.
        Interweb is great!
        • 5 Years Ago
        I bet that there are many deals to be had on current MkV's out there right now. Sure, they're not as sharp-looking as the MkVI, but it's essentially the same exact car. The relatively low demand for (standard) Golf's in the States grants buyers much better bargaining power when compared to similarly equipped Fits/Civics.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think the GOLF should have been the new Scirocco. The Sci looks so much better.
      For latest reviews on performance cars check out www.carthrottle.com
      A serious contender to TOPGEAR
      • 5 Years Ago
      The specs of the U.S. version of this car really disappoint me. If you want a 2.5 gas engine, in 5-door trim, you have to settle for the automatic transmission -- there's no choice. WHY? And how about a center armrest for comfort and storage??! An upgraded radio would be nice too.

      Lumping all this upmarket trim in with the EXPENSIVE diesel is not good marketing.

      Check out vw.ca (the Canadian website for VW) and you can get three trim levels for both engines, a higher level of equipment, and MANUAL transmissions across the entire line.

        • 5 Years Ago

        In Canada, you can only get the TDI on the Golf, if you get a 5 door comfortline or higher. Not on the 3 door at all, not on the 5 door comfort line.

        So it isn't a choice free for all here either.

        • 5 Years Ago
        the armrest is probally optional and reserved for the highline version, i could buy it for my mkIV.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Seems to be quite a solid car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I used to be one of those people that thought hatchbacks were lame. Now I drive a Fit and even though it's not the fastest car I've owned. It's by far my favorite. I cannot believe how much more versatile it is. I've hauled a 42" flat screen, a huge rug, office chairs, landscaping supplies. In fact this just made me realize I'm doing way too many favors for friends haha.
      My point is, I think I am ruined, I don't think I can go back to having a car with a trunk. I don't think America is going to be selling out of hatchbacks anytime soon. But I think more people are starting to realize how much more car you get for the money. I'm glad we are getting more choices in the small hatch segment. I think the Golf is an awesome choice, I just hope eventually it can be built here in Chattanooga to drop the price some. I'm just happy to see more options available. I am looking forward to the new Focus hatch and Fiesta and hopefully we will see some Turbo options soon too. Would love to have versatility, speed, and great gas milage. Ford is toying with the 1.6 ecoboost for the Fiesta and I wouldn't mind seeing a Fit si, maybe they could just drop the 1.8 four from the Civic in it and tune it to about 160hp. I dunno, just a thought.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I love hatchbacks. Why anyone would want a tiny sedan with an oh so tiny trunk is beyond me. American car companies have ignored the urban market for decades. Most people live in cities folks. It's nice to finally see more good cars for the urban environment. Let's face it Dad's don't pile the kids in the car for a cross country trip to see the grand canyon anymore like they did when I was young.
        • 5 Years Ago
        My 06 Jetta trunk is larger than my 03 Passat. It's actually quite large, even without folding down the rear seats. Of course, compared to a Golf there's some limitations in fitting bulking objects. But that's what my truck is for!
        • 5 Years Ago
        According to the 2000 census, 80% of the population is urban but only 30% live in the city center. The rest is burbs.

        Not that they can afford to ignore 30% of the market, but for now even the densest urban roads and parking are still built around regular sized cars. So a 160" hatchback - or even a 110" Smart - doesn't gain you much versatility.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Here's my personal experience with VW- I've had a '04 Mk IV Golf TDI for 6 years now, and it's done 84,000 trouble free miles, while averaging 48 mpg. No horror stories, no expensive maintenance - the original brakes still look new; the whole car still looks and feels new. My wife's '06 Rabbit was perfect (had done 40k miles) until it was ruined in a hail storm. My experience with Toyota- my wife's RAV 4 (replaced the Rabbit): radio died, AC gas leaked out, both within 20k miles. Not bad but not great either. Now, my experience with Honda- My '99 Civic: bad window regulator, bad interior light switches, impossible to engage reverse, creaky rear suspension; all within the warranty period (36k); all fixed, though the latter two unsuccessfully, after many attempts. And worse of all was the terrible fit and finish (body panels that didn't line up), which of course could not be fixed. The only car that ever left me stuck on the side of the road? A Honda! I'll keep buying VWs, thank you very much! I'll take a '10 Golf TDI in red.
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