Review: 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI shows that fuel-efficiency can be fun

With diesel-powered engines slowly but surely making their way onto the American market, the German automakers are taking the lead, introducing diesel-powered variants of their most popular gasoline-powered models. Increased fuel-economy, more torque, and a smaller price-premium over gasoline-powered cars than electric-hybrids, diesel power certainly offers a range of benefits. Current diesel prices however, are slightly higher than that of gasoline, which in turn, makes the American public a bit reluctant to fully embrace the technology.

Volkswagen however is one automaker that is not deterred; the German manufacturer currently sports in its lineup four TDI Clean Diesel models: the Jetta, Jetta SportWagon, Touareg, and Golf are available in the TDI variant. We recently had the chance to get behind the Golf TDI for a week-long test-drive and never even put gas… we mean diesel… in the car. Keep reading after the jump to find out what our overall opinion was of the 2010 Golf TDI.

Hit the jump to read more and to view our high-res image gallery (at the bottom of the post).

Review: 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI:

2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI Specifications:

Base Price: $22,354.
Price as Tested: $25,914.
Engine: 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder TDI clean diesel – 140-hp / 236 lb-ft of torque.
Transmission: 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic with DSG/Tiptronic.
Curb Weight: 2,994 lbs (manual), 3,041 lbs (automatic).
0 to 60 mph: 8.6 seconds.
Top Speed: 125 mph.
Fuel-Economy: 30/41 mpg (city/highway), 30/42 mpg (with 6-speed automatic).

All Photos Copyright © 2010 Omar Rana ““ egmCarTech.


“˜Grown-up” and “˜classy” are the two best words we can think of that accurately describe the exterior of the new 2010 Volkswagen Golf. The new front-design features a wider stance, double-bar grille that flows seamlessly into the angled halogen headlamps (High Intensity Gas-Discharged Xenons are available as an option on the TDI variant), and a body-colored bumper that sits atop the redesigned lower fascia featuring a wide-mouthed cooling duct and Crystalline oval fog lamps. The rear of the car features a body-colored hatch-spoiler with integrated third brake-light, taillights redesigned to resemble the headlamps, a lower rear-bumper with integrated running lights, blacked out inserts and cutouts for a pair of exhaust tips.

The 2010 Golf measures 165.3″ long, 70″ high, 58.3″ high and has a wheelbase of 101.5″ – so it’s really not that different from its predecessor in terms of size.

Though the TDI comes standard with 17″ wheels, the Golf lineup is available with 15″, 17″, and 18″ wheels. Other exterior optional features include a front body-kit, sport roof-rack and cargo roof-rack – half of the extras that most of you will probably avoid and could live without.


The 2010 Golf”s interior screams of quality and design with a cabin that is better than previous generations by leaps and bounds. The front seats feature eight-way manual adjustability with two-way adjustable lumbar support, while the 60/40 split rear-seats provide for ample cargo room (I easily squeezed in a Fisher Price Ford F150 Pickup). All seating comes standardly upholstered with Volkswagen”s “˜Me2” fabric and the optional “˜Cold Weather” package upgrades the seats to heated ones.

The dash-design is very detail-oriented, featuring a standard brushed metallic trim insert (also featured on the interior door panels) that accents the redesigned instrument panel and center console. No detail is spared; even the tachometer and speedometer received chrome-trim. Sitting between the two gauges is a multi-function onboard computer display that provides the driver with key information relating to the selected gear, fuel-economy, odometer, and more (it is standard on the Golf TDI). Also the newly designed three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel comes standard on all TDI models.

While all Golf models come with an impressive list of features, the 2010 Golf TDI, with its starting MSRP of $22,354, offers phenomenal bang-for-the-buck and comes with a bunch of standard features including Bluetooth connectivity, metal-look interior trim, power locks, power steering, power windows and heated exterior mirrors, 6.5-inch Touchscreen Premium VIII sound system which features; an in-dash CD changer with iPod connectivity and a Highline instrument cluster with compass, six-month Sirius subscription and MDI, exterior temperature, and trip computer.

A touchscreen navigation system with 30GB hard-drive and SD memory card slot can be added to any model for an additional $1,750, and a Dynaudio 300W Amp sound system can be added for $476.

Overall, in our opinion, the 2010 Golf TDI certainly offers best-in-class interior quality and overall design; however, the comfort level could be improved upon.


The 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI derives power from a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder diesel engine that puts out 140-hp and a peak torque of 236 lb-ft. When mated to a 6-speed manual (a 6-speed automatic with DSG and Tiptronic is available as an option), 0-60 mph comes in 8.6 seconds with a top speed of 125 mph. Though that doesn”t sound fast, we did appreciate how eagerly the Golf TDI revved and zipped off the line, and how easy the manual we tested was to operate.

While we didn’t have any complaints with the overall drive of the Golf TDI, we would have liked to see the steering be a tad tighter. Also, while we were fans of the firm suspension, some might find it a bit uncomfortable on road trips or rough road conditions. In our opinion, the firm suspension provides the Golf TDI with the tightness it needs for great cornering and a fun fuel-efficient urban-driving experience.

The main attraction here though is obviously the fuel-economy; the 2010 Golf TDI gets an EPA estimated 30/41 mpg (city/highway), though we managed to maintain 32 mpg throughout our week-long test; impressive considering we never hesitated to stomp on that gas pedal and put the 140-hp to work. Of course if you opt for the 6-speed automatic with DSG/Tiptronic and drive normally, you should average some impressive figures.


One thing we learned during our week with the Golf TDI is that fuel-efficiency does not necessarily come at the expense of fun and enthusiasm in driving. To the enthusiast looking for a fuel-efficient daily driver, diesels win hands down when compared to hybrids, especially when one considers the price differential that a hybrid comes with as compared to that of a diesel.

The starting MSRP for the 2-door Golf TDI is $22,354, and $22,959 for the 4-door variant. Totally optioned out (including the most mundane features that most won”t opt for), the same car would fetch a price-tag of almost $32,000. That being said, this car is a must-test for anyone in the market for a compact fuel-efficient vehicle – especially a hybrid.

Review: 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI:

All Photos Copyright © 2010 Omar Rana ““ egmCarTech.

– By: Omar Rana and Stephen Calogera