This car was underwhelming.
Coming from a 200 HP Saab,
I did not mind the weak engine except the manual transmission would fight any attempt to downshift quickly.
The heater/AC moved so little air that you were either cold/hot or had to listen to the fan drone away on high.
The steering feel was nonexistent. You could not feel the front end break loose on snow.
The final straw was a fuel cut off that caused it to die in traffic if short shifted.
It was fun to make fun of the driver who stalled in traffic until we were hit from behind because the car would just stop without brake lights.
There was no warning.
You would be driving in slowing traffic and it would stop.
Just the right size.
1. No steering feel.
Not uncommon in cars with electric power steering but this sets a new low bar.
2. Manual transmission refuses to shift quickly, especially the 6-3 down shift
3. The engine would stall hard if brought even slightly below idle speed.
Granted, this is a driver error but I have never driven a car that would just stall if you selected 4th gear instead of 3rd.
The car just stops like the driver slammed on the brakes except there are no brake lights.
This problem was so bad that we did not let our kids drive the car after my wife was involved in an accident.
She has logged over 250,000 miles with a manual transmission.
Our family was looking to add a 3rd car(teenage driver) and we wanted an economical and versatile small car.
After searching all over we discovered VW through consumer reports and a great, patient salesman.
I am a big man(6'4") and the Golf appears to be the smallest car we drove but it is a magic car, more interior room than it appears.
Our family of 4 fits comfortably, even with the dog.
Completed a 6 hour road trip with minimal complaining from the family.
It is great fun to drive.
Great handling with great power on the highway.
In fact it is the highway/autobahn driving that separates this car from others in the size class.
Mileage for normal city/highway mix is 35mpg and improving.
Accelleration in traffic.
Great sound system with iPad interface.
Great Bluetooth and hands free phone features.
Big car ride at high cruising speeds, very smooth and quiet.
Would love to see leather seat option.
Could be a bit wider.
More cabin storage options.
Under seat drawers are available but would like to see them standard.
Had a problem the first week with a sensor that required a tow to the dealer to have replaced, ("never saw anything like this before") and a recall to replace a minor part a few weeks ago.
Thus the 4 vs 5 for depedability. Otherwise, this has been a wonderful car.
Bought it with gas mileage in mind, and get 38 around town, 48 - 52 on the highway, depending on how far I drive.
I'm a conservative driver.
When needed, it has plenty of power.
Fits both me (5'10") and my 6'2" husband comfortably.
Only thing I'd do differently is get a 4 door.
So much easier for passengers.
The instant mpg readout.
Change readout with buttons on steering wheel to get all pertinant info and make phone cals.
The voice activated phone on the steering wheel is a luxury I wouldn't want to do without.
Love the look, the hatchback for loading stuff.
Keep the back seats down most of the time and it holds almost everything I need to haul.
Don't like the instruction manual.
Find it hard to get the information in an easy to understand format.
Salesperson at the dealership got the phone info loaded.
Would never have been able to do it following manual.
I was shopping Mini Coopers and other small economical hatch backs when I decided to try out the Golf TDI. It handles like a go-cart, feels like a mid-size, nice and quiet inside, rarely 'sounds like a diesel', plenty of power - you REALLY have to watch as its easy to speed in this car.
Mine came with: DSG Auto, HID headlights and touch screen sound. I really was not looking for 'flappers' on the steering or 3 way shifting tranny (auto, sport auto and manual/auto) however I'm very pleased with the DSG even leaving it in "D" %99 of the time. It shifts smoothly without jerkyness. The TDI is a bit surprising - most of the time feels like a gas engine - other times some 'turbo lag'.
I really like how solid and quiet the car is. It feels like I'm driving a much larger and heavier car except this thing hugs the road like glue! The fuel mileage is in the TOP 5 reasons to get this car.
The back seats are actually usable and not an after thought for insurance rate reasons. I think it compares well with a friends 300 series BMW.
I've streamed audio from my Cell phone and plugged in an ipod into the dedicated interface in the center compartment. The 8 speaker 6CD Stereo sounds very good (I'm very picky).
Even large & Tall friends find the front passenger seat comfortable and easy to get in/out of. The seats have a fair amount of adjustment available.
My #1 complaint is the lack of rain gutters. Leave ether window cracked in the rain and expect to have a FLOOD of water run in the car when you go around corners.
The IPOD interface is over hyped - you don't have the song/artist/playlist selection control that you'd have via the ipod itself.
I'm short (5'3") and finding a good seat adjustment took a bit of time. My right leg ventures to lay against the center console. The ergonomics for smaller drivers has a bit to be desired - I have to reach BACK to the cup holders.
There are so many buttons on the steering wheel that its easy to activate one by accident while simply turning the wheel.
I purchased a 4 door Golf TDI with automatic (DSG) transmission in late July (2011).
I've just passed the 2000 mile mark and so far I have been thrilled with the TDI.
I'm 6'5" tall and find the driving position more comfortable than that of my Honda Accord.
There is plenty of room for a family trip, and the rock solid build quality and quiet interior make it a pleasure to drive long distances.
It handles like a go-cart and the diesel torque provides abundant passing power.
To date I am averaging 35mpg in miced City/Hwy driving.
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Fun to drive, Excellent interior materials, Excellent Fuel Economy
Minimal storage space in center console.
Lacks automatic climate control.