Volkswagen Golf Review

35 years ago, Volkswagen revolutionized the concept of the small car with the original Golf (sold here for many years as the Rabbit). The basic shape and proportions are still recognizable, but the changes have been evolutionary, and it's easy to write off each generation as not having changed that much from the one before.

Big mistake.

It's impossible to overstate the refinements the 2010 Golf brings to the game....the leap forward it represents from last year's model, and how much better it is than virtually everything in its size and price class.


The first impression of change comes when you sit behind the wheel. VW has upped its game for the Golf's interior. Even in basic black rather than the contrasting tones shown above, it's a nicer place to do business...switchgear now more elegant, yet still purposeful and feeling built to last.

The 2.5 liter, 5-cylinder, 170 horsepower engine more than gets the job done, and returns an EPA estimated 23 miles per gallon city, 30 highway.

Our tester's base price was $17,490 and it had only three options (none of which I'd order): A 6-speed automatic transmission ($1,100), a power sunroof ($1,000) and a Cold Weather Package consisting of heated seats and washer nozzles ($225).  Bottom line, with $750 destination charge, is $20,565. But passing on those options and taking it straight would get the price down to $18,240.

Yes, you can get less expensive compact sedans from the U.S., Japan and especially Korea. But drive the Golf first and I'm betting you'll be justifying the additional outlay.