The sixth generation Golf is here, and before we even begin, I want to thank VW for having the common sense to call it a Golf for us North Americans again. If I’m confusing you, the last generation Golf was sold here as the Rabbit, which is what VW called the Golf when it was sold in North America from 1974-1984. When we finally received the belated fifth generation Golf in 2006, VW inexplicably decided to dredge up the Rabbit name, which held absolutely no value or recognition to the young, educated buyers VW seeks.
For 2010, VW continues to offer the Golf as a two or four door hatchback. The 2.5L inline five is carryover, rated at 170hp. A 5-speed manual is available on the two-door only; a six-speed Tiptronic automatic is an option, and is standard on the four door. VW claims 0-60mph in 7.8 seconds for the manual, 8.1 for the automatic, and 22/30 city mpg city/highway for the manual, 23/30mpg for the automatic.
New for the Golf in North America is VW’s 2.0 TDI engine. Rated at 140hp, but with an impressive 236 lb. ft. of torque. I drove a Jetta Sportwagen earlier this year, and was impressed with the power and smoothness. In other words, leave your conceptions of a diesel engine at the door. VW boasts a 25% reduction in greenhouse gases, and a 30% increase in fuel efficiency over comparable gas engines with the TDI. While a tad slower than the 2.5 Golf, with a 0-60mph time in 8.6 seconds, VW is positioning the Golf TDI as the sportier ride. A six-speed manual is standard on two and four door TDI’s, while a 6-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission is an option. EPA figures for the manual are 30/41mpg, and 30/42mpg for the DSG.
So what does all this cost? Let’s break it down. Prices in USD.
2.5 : $$17,490 (2-door, 5-speed)-$$19,190 (4-door, 6-speed auto). For that, you get A/C, cruise control, trip computer, power locks, windows, heated mirrors, 15″ steel wheels and an 8-speaker stereo. The new Golf costs an astounding $1,190 more than a 2009 Rabbit, which is similarly equipped.
2.0 TDI $21,990 (2-door, 6-speed manual)-$23,690 (4-door, 6-speed DSG). In addition to the 2.5, you get a leather wrapped steering wheel, shift knob, and brake handle, sport suspension, a touch-screen audio system, Sirius satellite radio, foglights, and 17″ alloys.
A power moonroof and cold weather package is available on all Golfs, but xenon headlights, Navi and a high-power Dynaudio stereo are only available on the TDI.