2011 Volkswagen Golf vs. Its Competition

2011 Volkswagen Golf 2-door HB Man Side Exterior View
Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director

On fuel economy alone, the 2011 Volkswagen Golf makes a strong case to compact-car buyers.

There are many engaging competitors, though.

The Honda Civic is a perennial favorite here, though its latest design isn't a favorite.

The Hybrid version has TDI-trumping fuel economy.

The latest Ford Focus has expert handling and unrivaled tech features like SYNC.

The Mazda3 is the perennial favorite for handling, but it can't match the VW's solid feel, even after a full redesign this year that thoroughly upgrades the interior.

The Kia Soul brings style to tall wagons, along with standard USB and satellite radio.

Finally, the new 2011 Hyundai Elantra sets a high-water mark for interior room and fuel economy in the compact class--and its sculpted style looks even better than the same theme on the bigger Sonata.

2011 Volkswagen Golf 2-door HB Man Side Exterior View2011 Volkswagen GolfBrowse Used Listings2012 Ford Focus2012 Ford FocusBrowse Used Listings2011 Honda Civic Sedan 4-door Auto EX-L Angular Front Exterior View2011 Honda CivicBrowse Used Listings2011 Hyundai Elantra2011 Hyundai ElantraBrowse Used Listings2011 Kia Soul 5dr Wagon Auto Sport Angular Front Exterior View2011 Kia SoulBrowse Used Listings2011 Mazda32011 Mazda MAZDA3Browse Used Listings
Quick Specs
The 2011 Volkswagen Golf has an upscale feel that's a notch above competitors; the TDI diesel gets exceptional, hybrid-like fuel economy.
With the 2012 Focus, Ford shows that small cars don't have to feel so banal, with charismatic compacts that are more satisfying to drive, more luxurious, and better-equipped.
The 2011 Honda Civic is still a standout for its perky driving feel and responsiveness, but in most other respects it's no longer so impressive.
38 mpg; a sleek, sophisticated look; and even more value for the money confirm that this little sedan has officially left the Corolla in the dust.
The 2011 Kia Soul is fashion-forward and fun-to-drive—and unlike most of its urban-wagon rivals, it's just as practical as it looks.
The 2011 Mazda3 provides more driving enjoyment than most other small-car models, along with a stylish, racy look; but with a tight, noisy cabin, it’s not without compromise.
MSRP From     
Gas Mileage     
23 MPG City / 42 MPG Hwy26 MPG City / 38 MPG Hwy21 MPG City / 36 MPG Hwy28 MPG City / 38 MPG Hwy24 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy18 MPG City / 33 MPG Hwy
Gas I5Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4
EPA Class     
CompactCompactCompactMid-SizeSmall Station WagonCompact
Style Name     
2-Door HB Manual4-Door Sedan S4-Door Manual DX4-Door Sedan Manual GLS (Ulsan Plant) *Ltd Avail*5-Door Wagon Manual4-Door Sedan Manual i SV
Front Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity     
Passenger Doors     
Body Style     
2 Door HB4 Door Sedan4 Door Sedan4 Door Sedan5 Door Wagon4 Door Sedan
ManualManualManualManual w/ODManualManual w/OD
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2011 Volkswagen Golf vs. 2012 Ford Focus2011 Volkswagen Golf vs. 2011 Honda Civic2011 Volkswagen Golf vs. 2011 Hyundai Elantra2011 Volkswagen Golf vs. 2011 Kia Soul2011 Volkswagen Golf vs. 2011 Mazda MAZDA3