LEAN, GREEN AND A LITTLE MEAN
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Sat, Mar 20, 2010
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
By Roy Nakano In Europe, one of the hottest little vehicles on the driver’s radar screen is the Volkswagen Golf GTD, a car that combines the look and agility of the formidable GTI with the TDI clean diesel powerplant that captured the Green Car of the Year awards for 2009 and 2010. Much to the chagrin of TDI fans in the States, however, Volkswagen has chosen not to import the GTD. On the bright side, the new Golf is now available with the highly acclaimed Green Car of the Year motor. The Golf TDI lacks the visual do-dahs of the GTD, but it does have an upgraded, sport suspension that brings the car very close to GTI standards. It doesn’t come cheaply. While the new Golf starts at $17,490 for the two-door model, and $19,190 for the four-door version, the TDI package adds about $3,400 to the price over the base Golf. On the other hand, it does turn the Golf into a lean, green and slightly mean machine that gets over 40 miles per gallon of fuel. EPA says it’s 30 miles per gallon in the city, and 41 or 42 on the highway, depending on whether you opt for the six-speed manual or the six-speed DSG automatic transmission with Tiptronic (the latter gets the 42). We averaged 38 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving, but the TDI is famous is getting upwards of 50 miles per gallon by gas mileage hypermilers.
And what about the car that this model is based on? It’s been said before, but it’s pretty hard to overstate the goodness of the Golf. The fit and finish of the car is shockingly good – comparable to what one would expect from a higher line European car. The Golf is more expensive than other compacts, but no compact exhibits the quality that exudes from the interior of this car. This latest generation Golf had already been honored as the World Car of the Year. The TDI add a little green frosting to the cake. And how green is the TDI? It emits 25 percent less greenhouse gas and achieves more than 30 percent better fuel economy compared to a similar gasoline engine, thanks to a combination of an electronically-controlled turbocharger and direct injection fuel system (hence, TDI, or turbocharged, direct-injection). Volkswagen’s latest TDI incorporates a common rail design similar to Mercedes Benz’s BlueTec technology, which reduces sooty emissions by 95 percent, which is why VW labels this a “clean diesel” . But the Golf TDI is not just about being green. Diesel engines have a reputation for exhibiting lots of off-the-line low end torque, and the Golf TDI is no exception. It’s great for zipping in and out of rush hour traffic – the perfect commuter car for Los Angelenos and others that travel long distances in high-density environments. Alas, the TDI lacks the upper end pull of the GTI. You won’t be able enjoy going through the gears at higher RPMs like you can with the GTI. On the other hand, you’ll get fewer speeding tickets, but still enjoy the benefits of GTI-like jack rabbit starts and romps through the twisties. Not bad for a car that gets over 40 miles per gallon.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT Eight-tenths GTI; ten-tenths certified green machine. For more information about Volkswagen products, go to vw.com
SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI Price: $22354 (two-door) $22959 (four-door) $27,614, as tested (four-door, with 6-speed DSG automatic transmission with Tiptronic, power sunroof, touch-screen navigation system with a 6.5” high resolution display, WMA / MP3 audio CD playback, DVD playback, an SD memory card slot and a 3.5mm auxiliary input jack in the center console, hands free Bluetooth™ connectivity, and cold weather package with heated seats and washer nozzles) Engine: 2.0 liter Turbocharged, Direct-Injection common rail diesel four-in-line EPA-rated fuel economy (city mpg/highway mpg) 30/42 Horsepower: 140 at 4000 rpm Torque: 236 pound-feet at 1750 rpm Transmission: 6-speed DSG automatic with Tiptronic Drive configuration: Front-wheel drive Steering: Electro-mechanical, variably-assisted, power rack-and-pinion system Suspension Front: fully independent suspension with McPherson struts and an anti-roll bar comes standard on the base Golf, while the TDI models include an updated sport suspension Rear: fully independent four-link arrangement with coil springs, telescopic shocks and stabilizer bar Brakes: Power assisted four wheel disc brakes, with vented rotors at the front and solid rotors at the rear, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Stability Program (ESP®) - includes traction and safety features such as Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR), Electronic Differential Lock (EDL), Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA), and Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution (EBD) Wheels and tires 17-inch alloy wheels with 225-45/R17 all-season tires Dimensions Length: 165.4 inches Width: 7.3 inches Height: 58.3 inches Curb weight: 3041 pounds The 2010 Golf TDI comes standard with 24-hour Roadside Assistance for three years or 36,000 miles • Five-year / 60,000 mile (whichever occurs first) Powertrain Limited Warranty • Three-year / 36,000 mile (whichever occurs first) New Vehicle Warranty • 12-year unlimited distance Limited Warranty against corrosion perforation The Golf TDI is included in the no charge Carefree Maintenance Program. Under this program, all of the Golf’s scheduled maintenance, as described in the maintenance booklet, is covered for the length of the New Vehicle Warranty – three years or 36,000 miles, whichever occurs first. Additionally, all current Volkswagens, including the Golf, use synthetic oil, which Volkswagen says eliminates the need for a 5,000 mile oil change. This ultimately allows TDI owners to driver farther between scheduled oil changes.