After starting life as a Rabbit and becoming a Golf – this two- and four-door hatch’s worldwide name – became a Rabbit and this year is back to being a Golf. You almost need a flow chart to keep track of the name changes.
VW imports its US entry-level hatchback from Germany and outfits it with a Mexican five-cylinder engine and Japanese six-speed automatic transmission, making Golf a true world car. The styling for 2010 has changed a bit and is certainly more sleekly drawn than the fifth generation. The manner in which VW slots the front and rear lamps, placing them flush on the body gives the Golf a more luxurious, stretched appearance than it had last year.
There are two different engines available on the 2010 Volkswagen Golf. The 2.5-liter five-cylinder driven here makes 170 horsepower at 5700 rpm (just shy of the 6000 rpm redline) and 177 lb-ft of torque at 4250 rpm. In California the Golf is listed as a PZEV (partially zero emissions vehicle). VW also imports this vehicle with its turbo-diesel (only available with a six-speed manual transmission) that has 140 horsepower but a massive 236 ft-lbs of torque.
The six-speed automatic transmission on the 2010 Golf has the ability to be shifted manually, should the driver wish (it’s very crisp-shifting) and its gearing is both economical and enjoyable, hitting 2400 rpm at 70 mph and 2600 at 75. That gearing helps the VW Golf achieve mileage of 23/30 mpg, using regular fuel in its 14.5-gallon tank. My mileage hovered around 27 and most of this was around-town touring.
This car’s suspension is taut without being jarring and the front MacPherson struts and multilink rear setups include stabilizer bars. The rack and pinion power steering is electro-mechanical and very, very direct. It is not very light at all but never difficult to operate. Brakes have antilock capabilities and are accompanied by a stability program.
The 2010 VW Golf has petite sizing: 165.4 inches long, 70.3 inches wide and 58.3 inches tall on a 101.5-inch wheelbase with 5.4 inches of ground clearance. For a front-wheel-drive vehicle, it’s got a nice, tight turning circle of 35.8 feet. The Golf weighs 3023 pounds in this iteration. The long wheelbase aids road isolation but there is some welcome feedback into the cabin, aiding driver integration with the car.
This entry level Golf is quite a bit more expensive than its peers but the list of standard features, the sleek looks, upscale materials and great driving dynamics on a stiff body structure inspire confidence.
The list price of is $19,940 including destination. There is no extra fee for the Reflex silver metallic paint but VW does charge $1000 for the one-touch multiple opening sunroof and another $225 for its cold weather package of (3-position) heated seats and heated washer nozzles, bringing the total to $21,165.
With that, one gets such safety features as front, side and multiple head curtain airbags, great sport seats in a Titan black cloth that truly hold occupants in place during heavy cornering inherent in driving the Golf. The driver’s seat is height adjustable and has power seatback adjustment; it is extremely comfortable. The power outside mirrors have signals imbedded; they are visible to the driver through a small opening at each corner.