Vehicle Profile: The 2011 Volkswagen Golf
Lately, it seems that lots of compact cars are promising “fun to drive” and great fuel economy in one package. Funny, but the Volkswagen Golf has been delivering that combination for over 30 years.
Some carmakers are making a big deal about their new “premium compacts” being engineered in Europe and delivering a “new” kind of sporty performance and added driving comfort. In other words, they ripped a page from Volkswagen’s playbook from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and today. The car that established the idea of combining fun, great fuel economy and versatility in the same package dates back to 1974. Volkswagen has perfected the concept with the 2011 Golf while others are doing their best to catch up.
The 2011 Golf comes in two-door hatchback (MSRP $17,965) and four-door hatchback (MSRP $19,755) models. Aside from the extra doors, the biggest difference between the two is that the four-door comes standard with a six-speed automatic transmission while the two-door provides a standard five-speed manual and offers the automatic as an option.
The Golf offers unique engine choices in the segment. Golf 2.5L models get their motive power from a 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine that produces 170 hp and 177 lb/ft of torque. A zero-to-60 mph time of just under eight seconds with the manual transmission and a blink over eight for the automatic tells only one part of the performance story. With its torque coming on strong at lower speeds, the Golf 2.5L feels more energetic and responsive than four-cylinder competitors. And yet its 33 mpg highway fuel economy (31 mpg for the automatic) keeps fuel bills low.
For even lower fuel bills, you might think hybrids are the way to go. But a more fun way comes in the form of the Golf TDI® Clean Diesel models, which feature a 2.0-liter clean diesel engine and choice of six-speed manual or DSG® automatic transmissions. The DSG transmission, which uses electronically controlled twin shafts, delivers faster gear changes and unbroken acceleration, for lively handling and improved efficiency. Starting at an MSRP of $23,225, the Golf TDI offers hybrid-like fuel economy of up to 42 mpg on the highway. The Golf TDI, however, performs in a noticeably sportier manner than hybrids. The secret is the torque, all 236 lb/ft of it available from a super-low 1,750 to 2,500 rpm. The zero-to-60 mph acceleration of 8.6 seconds is just a hair behind the gasoline-fueled Golf 2.5L models, and that prodigious torque makes it feel even quicker.
In all Golf models, four-wheel independent suspension systems ensure optimal agility and a compliant ride. The TDI models get sport-tuned suspension and standard 17-inch alloy wheels; other 17-inch wheels are optional for the Golf 2.5L models. The Golf has fun driving covered, no question. With a 2011 Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Golf also offers peace of mind.
Inside the 2011 Golf, you’ll find renowned Volkswagen attention to detail and quality, starting with standard eight-way adjustable front sport seats, upholstered in durable and comfortable Titan Black cloth. A standard multi-function onboard computer displays key information between the speedometer and tachometer including fuel mileage. The Golf offers a generous 35.5 inches of rear legroom, and the versatile rear seats feature 60/40-split/folding backs to maximize carrying space, and provide a fold-down armrest for when you have passengers.
In Golf 2.5L models, the standard audio system features eight speakers and offers MP3 CD compatibility and an auxiliary input jack. The TDI versions step up to a touchscreen eight-speaker sound system that also features SIRIUS Satellite Radio, an in-dash six-disc CD changer with MP3 CD readability and an auxiliary input jack. The TDI models in addition provide the standard Mobile Device Interface (MDI) along with Bluetooth connectivity. Golf 2.5L models offer Bluetooth as an option.
You can add the available power tilt-slide sunroof to any Golf model, and the TDI also offers a navigation system, a 300-watt Dynaudio Premium Sound system and bi-xenon headlights.
Capping off the great Volkswagen value, the 2011 Golf comes with Volkswagen Carefree Maintenance® standard, providing you with no-charge scheduled maintenance for the length of the New Vehicle Warranty – three years or 36,000 miles, whichever occurs first.
Come in and test drive the 2011 Volkswagen Golf, and experience what over 30 years of perfecting the premium compact feels like on the road.
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