Volkswagen - what took you so long?
Lou Ann Hammond, Sun, 07 Feb 2010 11:38:58 PST
From Wolfsburg, to Dresden, to Berlin, Germany - The VW Golf is coming home. One of Volkswagens best sellers, the Golf, was thrown by the wayside. But under the tutelage of Stefan Jacoby, Volkswagen's new CEO, the Golf will be coming back.
Jacoby left the arduous task of being CEO of Mitsubishi Motors, and became CEO of Volkswagen USA in September, 2007. He's got a hard road ahead of him. Quality has been off, the weak dollar means buying imports are even more expensive, something very few people can afford these days.
Germany's unions are just as expensive as the UAW, which means an extra added cost to a car that's heritage was a car for the common people. But if you love Volkswagens, you'll love the Golf.
The new Golf will come in two-door and four-door hatchback, and gasoline and diesel.
The gasoline engine is a 2.5-liter DOHC four-cylinder that comes in both two-door and four-door hatchback. The gasoline engine gets 170 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm and 177 lb.-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm. The gasoline manual gets 22 city/ 30 hwy miles per gallon and the automatic gets 23 city/30 highway mpg.
The two-door gasoline hatchback is offered with a five-speed manual, starting at $17,490 or a six-speed Tiptronic automatic with manumatic shifting, starting at $18,590. You can also get the two-door hatchback in a six-speed manual with a starting cost of $21,990.
There is only one four-door hatchback 2.5-liter gasoline engine offered, and it is with a six-speed Tiptronic automatic with manumatic shifting, and that starts at $19,100.
The second engine is Volkswagen's 2.0-liter SOHC inline-5 TDI turbo-diesel that comes in a two-door or four-door hatchback. The diesel gets 140 horsepower @ 4,000 rpm, and a startling 236 lb.-ft of torque between 1,750-2,500 rpm. The diesel manual gets 30 city/41 hwy mpg, while the automatic gets 30 city/42 highway mpg.
The two-door hatchback TDI only comes with a six-speed Tiptronic automatic with manumatic shifting that starts at $23,090.
The four-door hatchback TDI comes with a standard six-speed manual, starting at $22,590 or you have the option of VW's six-speed dual-clutch automated manual (DSG), starting at $23,690.
Our drive on A2 from Wolfsburg to the Motorpark Oschersleben was spent trying to outrun the black clouds hovering over us.
Whether we were in the four-door or two-door we had plenty of room. Volkswagen used all the interior room they could find and then spread a layer of steel over the body. There is no overhang of metal.
The front fascia is a horizontal grille that starts at one headlamp and goes the full length of the front to the other headlight, with a cooling air intake underneath that. You can tell we were driving the diesel by the fog lights.
VW design chief Walter de Silva, the Chief designer for Volkswagen said that would be the new face of Volkswagen.
The familiarity of the Jetta diesel will rub off on the Golf. The Golf TDI's narrow torque ban is so sweet. It's a feeling of safety, to know you've got a running back in your corner, going up hills with trucks around you. One step on the pedal and you're out of their way and back on safe ground.
Most of our review driving took place on Germany's autobahns, stopping in Dresden at the Die Glaserne Manufaktur, home of the VW Phaeton. Jacoby told us that the Phaeton might just find its way back to the United States.
We thought we felt a difference in drive and road noise between the gasoline and diesel versions and that was the difference in tires. The diesel version has 17-inch alloy wheels in place of the 15-inch steel wheels on the gas Golf.
We got plenty of seat time in both the gasoline and turbo-diesel models. Both engines were great, but we really appreciated the diesel. It had a throatier growl and We also enjoyed the turning radius of 35.7 ft, for those quick turns.
The Golf is a little more expensive than some of its competitors, but you'll find it worth the money. If you can afford it, make the jump to the diesel.
The Rabbit is dead, long live the Golf.