2011 Volkswagen Golf Review

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2011 Volkswagen Golf Overview

When it comes to the 2011 Volkswagen Golf, buyers considering the hatchback have two choices: two doors or four, and gasoline or diesel fuel. Answering both will help greatly in narrowing your choices for the German automaker's smallest U.S. offering.

Starting from the inside, the 2011 Golf has one of the best interiors in its class, with standard cruise control, an AM/FM/CD stereo system, and eight-way adjustable front seats. Reviewers note that the materials used for the headliner, seats, and even the plastics resemble those of the more upmarket Audi. Prospective owners can ramp up the volume with a Dynaudio stereo system, in-dash navigation, and a power sunroof as available options.

While buyers can choose among 2011 Volkswagen Golfs with two doors or four, the interior isn't changed, so keep that in mind if space is a concern. The backseat is more comfortable than competitors', evidenced by the fact that storage space in the trunk is 12 cubic feet, but 46 if the split rear seats are folded. That 34-cubic-foot difference makes finding legroom a bit easier.

The biggest decision buyers will have to make is for the engine. Options are a 140-horsepower four-cylinder diesel engine and a 2.5-liter five-cylinder that provides 170 horsepower. Those numbers are misleading, however, because the diesel engine provides more low-end torque, which makes for spirited city driving.

Economy numbers are better for the diesel-powered TDI, too, with a 30/41 mpg rating versus 23/30 for the gasoline engine. The TDI comes with a six-speed manual transmission standard, with the paddle-shifting DSG automatic an available option. The base gasoline engine comes with a five-speed manual or an optional six-speed automatic.

It's not just the engine that separates the 2011 Volkswagen Golf TDI and the 2.5L. The TDI comes with a better stereo that features a 6-CD changer and touch-screen and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with buttons for the cruise control. The trim also has a sportier suspension, as well as Bluetooth connectivity that is optional in the 2.5L model. The rear seat offers pass-through options and a center armrest.

Optional for both trims is a a cold-weather package with heated front seats and washer nozzles. Both trims come with a number of safety features, including six airbags (two front, two side, and two side curtain) and three-point seat belts, even for the middle passenger. Buyers who opt for the four-door 2011 Volkswagen Golf have the option of rear side impact airbags.

The feeling of quality that many reviewers note inside the Golf is also present on the road. Numerous tests dedicate space to the good steering feel of the Golf, and it feels planted in corners. Road noise isn't much of a factor, especially for the TDI, which is more quiet than other compact hatchbacks at highway speeds.

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