2010 Volkswagen Golf Road Test Review

Brian Armstead - CAP staff
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Germany is a small country in terms of size and population, yet they produce some of the world's finest automobiles.  Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and BMW are brands well known for performance, driving excitement and luxury.  They're also known for some rather frightening repair costs should you need major service.  But what about Volkswagen (aka VW)?  It's the only German brand known for performance, driving excitement, luxury and low purchase and operating costs.

On a recent press trip to VW's world headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany, I was introduced to the 2010 VW Golf.  With a base price of just $20,175, and with standard safety features that rival those found on the German "big boys," the new Golf is the perfect vehicle for families, singles, and those who want the ideal urban commuter.

Consider the two powertrains available:  a 2.5-litre, four-cylinder making 170 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque, and my favourite, the 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel four, making 140 horsepower and a very impressive 236 pound-feet of torque.  Folks, torque is what powers you away from stoplights, and it's what you feel when you accelerate hard and get that push in your stomach.  The Golf TDI (Turbo Diesel Injection), as it is called, is a roadway beast.  With today's "clean diesel" technology, the Golf TDI is an extremely clean (no diesel soot), very quiet car.  And it's plenty quick! 

If you've ever had the pleasure to drive on Germany's Autobahns (their excellent network of highways), you know you'd better represent when you are on one.  Many Autobahn roads are just two lanes, one for driving and one for passing.  Once you pass, you get out of the way.  Some of these roads have very high speed limits – limits that can render an underpowered vehicle dangerous. Why?  Because cars come up on you in a flash and are often traveling at speeds in excess of 200 kilometers per hour (about 125 mph).  Both Golf versions have what it takes to allow you to pass without drama, and provide enough torque and horsepower to even put a smile on your face when you are doing so.  Oh, and they get terrific fuel economy, with the gasoline engine getting an estimated 10.4L/100km in the city and 7.0L/100km on the highway, and TDI, 6.7L/100km in the city and 4.7/4.6 (manual/ automatic) on the highway.  On my drive from Wolfsburg to Dresden and then to Berlin, I stretched the Golf TDI out.  The results were impressive.  Put the Golf TDI on my list of favourite roadway burners. 

For parents looking for a first, safe car for your teens, the new Golf is the way to go.  Now understand that while you don't want to hand the keys to a Corvette to a young person, they do need a certain amount of power to be able to merge onto highways safely.  While that old Volvo 240 you've been saving for Junior is a very safe car, it can't outrun its own shadow.  Give your kids a fighting chance on the roads they share where roadway speeds are a bit out of control. 

All 2010 Golfs are available in two and four door configurations, and include as standard equipment a full complement of airbags, and Electronic Stability Control (ESP), part of VW's "Prevent and Preserve Safety System."  ESP is a technological marvel that uses computers to help sense and prevent vehicle spinout, which can lead to a rollover.  You don't pay an extra nickel for any of the 40 safety features with the Golf.  As with any VW, no matter the model, they are fully safety equipped.  My teen daughter drives a VW, and I don't worry as much when she's on the road because of it. 

Even loaded with comfort and convenience features like leather seats, a glass sunroof and premium audio, the 2010 VW Golf won't bust your budget.  Add three years of free maintenance from VW, and this could be the best buy of the new model year.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Hatchback, Volkswagen, VW, 2010, Golf, $20,000 - $29,999,

Organizations: Volkswagen

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