By Clint Williams
Green Right Now
The 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI is a taut, tidy example of Teutonic car making. And the clean burning, turbo-charged diesel engine delivers impressive fuel economy that reduces your carbon footprint while still delivering plenty of what we like to call smiles per gallon.
The Golf – once known as the Rabbit – has been redesigned for 2010 and sports a new front end design that includes a wider, double-bar grille. The look is sleeker, a bit more elegant, but it still looks like a Golf.
The interior is very nice, featuring good ergonomics, good materials and craftsmanship. This is a nicer interior than typically found in compact cars. The eight-way manually adjustable sports seats offer the driver and front seat passenger a fine perch. The rear seat is comfortable for two, not so much for three. Rear legroom is best described as “OK.”
There isn’t much storage in the cabin, but the center console provides a deep dish to toss change and a cell phone. The rear cargo area accessible by the hatchback has 15 cubic feet.
Safety equipment includes electronic stability control, six airbags and optimized front head restraints.
What sets the Golf apart from other fuel thrifty compact cars is that it is darn fun to drive. Handling is solid, steering crisp. Everything feels tight.
The 2-liter diesel engines produces 140 horsepower and 236 lbs.-ft. of torque. That means plenty of pull when clicking through the six-speed stick shift. VW says the zero to 60 mph time is 8.6 seconds but it sure feels faster.
It’s fun to drive and the Golf TDI also gets an EPA-estimated 30 mpg city and 41 mpg on the highway – 30 percent better than its gasoline sibling. We got 36 mpg in a mix of driving. The diesel emits 25 percent less greenhouse gas compared to a similar gasoline engine.
The Golf TDI starts at $22,590, about $3,000 more than it’s gasoline powered counterpart.
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