The Volkswagen Golf is one of the classiest hatchbacks you can buy. It offers an excellent blend of comfort and sporty handling. All this with a decent sized boot and massive kit level. The Golf pushes all the right buttons, but can it lure the sedan loving U.S. buyers?
Performance: There's two engines available for the Golf. A 2.5-liter five-cylinder with 170hp, and a 2-liter turbo-diesel with 140hp. The pick of the bunch is the 2.5-liter engine. Although it doesn't have the fuel economy benefit of the diesel. It's not as expensive, and finding one won't be difficult.
Ride & Handling: The Golf is in a class of its own. Handling is excellent as well as ride comfort. There's plenty of grip, and the steering is well weighed. The Golf is a doddle to drive. Around town the ride is smooth and well composed. On the highway the suspension soaks up bumps well.
Refinement: The Golf's cabin is hushed, making it a great vehicle for long journeys. The engines are smooth and quiet. There's very little wind and road noise.
Behind the wheel: Driver's can easily get comfortable behind the wheel. The steering wheel adjusts for reach and height. Visibility is good all round, allowing for more confidence when squeezing around tight urban areas. The dashboard has a minimalistic approach, with everything within reach of the driver's hand.
Space & Practicality: The Golf has plenty of passenger space. There's plenty of head and legroom for four adults. There's plenty shoulder room so a fifth passenger isn't out of the question. The boot is big and well shaped, but the rear seats don't fold flat.
Equipment: Every Golf comes well equipped for the money. There's air-conditioning, cd-player and remote central locking. Automatic headlamps, speed sensitive headlamps and optional rear curtian airbags. The top of the range adds a body-kit, alloy wheels and bluetooth connectivity.
Buying & Owning: The Golf isn't the cheapest in its class, but its definitely worth the money. Reasonable discounts are available, and your purchase will be secured thanks to Volkswagen high resale value. Running costs are low thanks to decent fuel economy.
Quality & Reliability: The Golf is the best in its class. The interior is up to par with Volkswagen quality. All the textures used are excellent in quality. They look and feel well put together. Build quality is generally solid and reliability has been rated above average by owners from JD Power customer satisfaction surveys.
Safety & Security: Every Golf comes with an extensive safety kit. ESP, ABS and side curtain airbags are all standard. There's a theft alarm and deadlocks to keep theft away.
Likes: Upscale interior, roomy interior for four, benchmark handling and ride comfort, frugal diesel engines.
Dislikes: Five-cylinder engine droan, diesel engine commands premium price, no manual gearbox on five-door 2.5 trim.
Overall: The Golf is the benchmark in its class. An extensive safety kit with plenty of equipment for the money. If you're willing to dish out the extra cash, the Golf will provide you with German quality for a low asking price.