WOLFSBURG, Germany - We got lost then we got frustrated. Trying to read road signs in German and maps as well can stir the emotions. But the basics work no matter the language and when we figured out that we were headed north when we should have been headed south our problem was solved.
We also learned far more about the 2010 Volkswagen Golf than had we took the straight route to the Motorpark, Oschersleben. We had a TDI Coupe. Under the hood was a turbocharged 2.0-liter clean diesel engine that made 140 horsepower and 236 pounds-feet of torque that was mated to a six-speed dual clutch transmission.
The car felt "awesome," it was very tight observed my driving partner. It handled well on the two-lane road we found ourselves on. The Golf TDI's narrow torque ban translated into instant passing power to get around the sizable commercial trucks that cluttered HWY 248 North.
We could hear the dual clutch transmission shifting, it's branded DSG by VW, but we could not feel the shifts. The tranny changed gears so fast that there was no power lag. In fact, VW says the DSG delivers 42 mpg on the hwy versus the 41 mpg that a Golf TDI equipped with a six-speed manual gear box.
Premium fit and finish is making its way from luxury cars down into daily drivers and that's the case with the 2010 Golf, not that it was bad before. But the 6th generation of the Golf had a refined interior that had smooth surfaces, a sophisticated look, it made ergonomic sense and it had ambience, especially the two-tone motifs.
Audio and navigational controls were above the climate controls. Buttons and dials were larger and the lettering was easily readable. The operational controls like climate, media and setup were red. While, readouts like MPH and RPM were white.
VW says the Golf is the perfect city car. That means be prepared for stop and go driving. The Golf's interior will not make the wait excruciating. For a small car, the Golf was awfully spacious. With my seat fully back, my feet could not touch the bottom of the foot well. And though not much, there was still a gap of legroom in the rear.
There was some wind noise coming over the top of the car but it wasn't alarming. In fact, when we lowered the windows we got a good gauge of the Golf's quietness versus the road racket outside of the car. Front seats held two grown men comfortably, there was some lumbar support, the width of the seats was good and they supported us well. Two full size people could also sit in the back seats. The 2010 Golf really is a four passenger hatch back.
Steering was tight, I had no problem centering the Golf on the road. What's more, the suspension could be set in comfort or sport mode. The car rode really smooth but that's Autobahn smooth. I'll have to get the Golf on city streets in this country to see how well the suspension handles my world driving.
The list of equipment was along and impressive for a compact car. Amongst the Golf's creature comforts were Bi-Xenon headlights, satellite radio, a 30GB hard drive, touch screen navigation, Bluetooth, iPod and USB jacks, voice controls, an SD card slot and MP3 capability.
The 2010 Golf's standard engine is a 2.5-liter inline five cylinder that makes 170 hp and 177 pounds-feet of torque. The standard transmission is a five speed manual. In addition to the DSG dual clutch transmission there is also a six-speed manual transmission.
I test drove the five cylinder briefly and other than it lacked the snap (midrange acceleration) of the TDI, there wasn't a lot of driving distinction between the diesel and gasoline powered Golf. The 2010 Golf is being shipped now to the U.S. Prices start at $17,490 for the two-door version and $19,190 for the four door version.