Summary: I own an '09 M3, but prefer to drive this '11 Golf TDI. Great exterior style, very comfy seats (I am 6'4") with great side support for back and hips. Audio quality is great... get the Dynaudio option. Very fun to drive... the torque hits like a 2 stroke motocross bike... at all RPMs. Very fun to corner around free way ramps... Holds family of four quite comfortably. I had a significant collision within weeks of buying it... and the front end got crushed, but the engine was 100% OK, and the subframe wasn't touched. So the VW front end collision system absorbs hits very well.
I was in the market for something that was a) more fuel efficient than my 2002 Civic, b) had more power than my 2002 Civic, c) have something more environmentally conscious, and d) drive something more fun. The VW Golf does all of this, but does it better than I could have imagined. The clean, simple exterior belies the well assembled interior and its turbo diesel engine. Getting where you need to go should not be as fun as this car makes it (but I'm not complaining =p)! DISCLAIMER#1- For me, this car is totally worth its premium price, but it is nearly the same price as a GTI (budget beware!). DISCLAIMER#2- Diesel can be a task to find, but VW has a locator on their site.
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.
I bought my 2011 VW Golf TDI new on March 19, 2011. I currently have just over 1800 miles. The interior is well designed, friendly, comfortable, stylish and all around enjoyable. The exterior looks are not flashy or exceptional, it is a basic wedge hatchback shaped vehicle. I am am happy with picking this vehicle because of the diesel power supplied by the turbo as well as the economical driving experience. I refer to my car as zippy, she maneuvers well through traffic, great brakes, and the engine is powerful enough to zoom past trouble if need be. The sound system is powerful and clear, the road noise is minimal, and the handling is great. I am averaging about 43mpg so far. :-)
I have owned my TDI 4-dr manual for two months (2500 miles), and it has been a delight to say the least. The fuel economy is unsurpassed (averaging 36 mpg city/hwy). The ride is firm but very compliant (soaks up bumps). The handling is sports car like (very little body roll). There's plenty of acceleration. The exterior styling is simple yet elegant, sporty yet practical. I've gotten compliments from pedestrians when I'm parked. The interior is very upscale (feels like I'm in a BMW/Mercedes). Despite its short wheelbase and length, there's plenty of leg room front and rear. This car is worth every penny!