2010 Golf New Car Test Drive
The Volkswagen Golf is all-new for 2010. The Rabbit is gone. Volkswagen is rejuvenating its price leader, not only with the restoration of the Golf name, but also with the return of a diesel engine that's more powerful and more responsive and available to buyers in all 50 states.
The all-new 2010 Volkswagen Golf comes in two-door and four-door body styles, and it's available with a highly efficient TDI diesel or a less-expensive gasoline engine.
There's a new transmission for the 2010 Golf, too. Available only on the diesel model, aka the TDI for turbocharged direct injection, this is a six speed, automated manual, aka the DSG for Direct Shift Gearbox. Utilizing a technology heretofore available only on pricier sporty sedans and high end sports cars, the DSG uses an automated twin clutch setup that engages and disengages gears without the driver having to operate a clutch pedal. Alternatively, much like the Tiptronic automatic that's optional on the 2.5-liter Golf, the DSG permits the driver manually to select the gears, which is pretty much the best of two worlds: the efficiency of a manual transmission but the convenience of an automatic.
Also new for the 2010 Golf is a restyled body, with a sportier grille, sleeker flanks and stylish rear fascia. The 2010 Volkswagen Golf comes in two body styles, a two door and a four door. Both seat five.
The standard 2.5-liter five-cylinder puts out a very usable 170 horsepower at 5700 rpm and 177 pound-feet of torque at 4250 rpm. A five-speed manual transmission comes standard on the two-door model, and a six-speed automatic with Tiptronic is standard on the four-door. The 2.5-liter gets an EPA-estimated 22/30 mpg City/Highway, or 23/30 mpg with the six-speed Tiptronic. The manual offers better performance, able to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds, compared with an 8.1 second run for the automatic.
The 2.0-liter TDI diesel produces 140 horsepower at 4000 rpm, and an impressive 236 pound-feet of torque between 1750 and 2500 rpm. Note the diesel offers substantially more torque than the gas engine and that this is available at much lower rpm. Torque is that force that propels you from intersections and up hills. This translates to responsive performance around town from the TDI, doing the kind of driving most of us do most of the time. The TDI comes standard with a six speed manual, optional with a six speed, dual clutch, automated manual, called the Direct Shift Gearbox, or DSG. The TDI gets an EPA-estimated 30/41 mpg City/Highway (30/42 with the DSG) and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 8.6 seconds.
Changes for 2010 inside are minor but in keeping with the marque's commitment to function tempered by form. The only upholstery is cloth, but there are three sound systems, the premium system integrated into a touch-screen navigation system.
All these changes, major and subtle, package well into a cleanly refreshed, fuel efficient, Autobahn-validated, reborn Golf that's better than what has come before while faithful to its heritage.
The 2010 Volkswagen Golf 2.5 liter 2 door ($17,620) comes with cloth upholstery, air conditioning with pollen filter, eight-way adjustable front seats with two way lumbar, 60/40 split rear seat with a center armrest and trunk pass through, AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio, cruise control, tilt and telescope steering wheel, power locks, power windows, power mirrors with heaters, steel wheels with wheel covers and all season 195/65R15 tires. It comes with the five-speed manual or the Tiptronic automatic ($18,720).
The Golf 4 door ($19,335) is equipped the same but it comes standard with the Tiptronic automatic.
The Golf TDI 2 door ($22,155) and 4 door ($22,760) add leather trimmed steering wheel, shift knob and handbrake handle; a touch screen, eight speaker audio system with a 6CD in dash changer, iPod cable and six month SIRIUS satellite radio subscription; fog lights; sports suspension; and 225/45R17 high performance all season tires on alloy wheels. The Golf TDI models come with the six-speed manual but the DSG automated manual is available for both the TDI 2-door ($23,255) and 4-door ($23,860).
Options include a power sunroof ($1,000), a cold weather package comprising heated front seats and windshield washer nozzles ($225), and Bluetooth connectivity ($199). The TDI can be fitted with Xenon headlights with the adaptive front-lighting system ($700), an upgraded Dynaudio Advance Sound system ($476), and a Navigation package ($1,750).
Safety gear includes frontal airbags and front seat-mounted side impact airbags and side air curtain airbags and lower and upper child safety seat anchors. Active safety features comprise antilock brakes (which give drivers steering control during emergencies), electronic brake force distribution (which allocates braking where it can do the most good during panic stops) and brake assist (which primes the braking system when sensors indicate imminent brake application); electronic stability control (which attempts to keep the car heading where the driver intends during extreme maneuvers); and tire pressure monitors. Optional on four door models are rear seat side impact airbags ($350).