For the last few years, Volkswagen experimented with the old Rabbit nameplate in the United States, but it's abandoned that badge for 2010, reverting to the Golf name for both the three-door and five-door hatchbacks. The compact hatchbacks offer a choice of four-cylinder gas and diesel engines, manual and automatic gearboxes or in the TDI, a dual-clutch transmission. The three-door's base price of $17,490 rises to $19,190 for the five-door, with the TDI diesel beginning at $21,990. (TheCarConnection.com reviews the performance-minded 2010 VW GTI separately.)
To TheCarConnection.com's eyes, it's a bit difficult to tell the difference with this sixth-generation Golf and the car it replaces. It remains conservative and boxy-but not unappealing in its own German way-though it's a little crisper with some interesting creases on the hood, a new front end with a wider grille and halogen headlamps, and a small spoiler at the hatchback hinge. Diesel TDI Golf hatchbacks also get oval fog lamps and optional xenon headlamps. The overall look is a little wider, a little more balanced, and mostly evolutionary. Jalopnik reports VW updated the car to "address concerns with dull looks," which many reviewers just last year praised as "simple" and "uncluttered," as did Cars.com, or "refreshing," in the words of MyRide. The new Golf, says Road & Track,
"has much cleaner lines than the previous car," and "sits lower for a sportier look." Car and Driver has TheCarConnection.com's back when it observes the 2010 Golf's "smooth, bland styling" and deems it "nothing radical." Jalopnik gushes instead that the "amorphous" old shape "has been replaced with more sharp lines and soft curves, as well as more aggressive headlamps and Walter de'Silva's new corporate face." (We wonder how a designer adopts a corporate face.) Autoblog thinks the new Golf has "a more muscular look, yet it remains instantly recognizable as a Golf, just slightly evolved and more grown-up."
The 2010 Golf's cabin bears more of a modern imprint, thanks to a new dash with even better textures and looks than the outgoing car. The "three-spoke steering wheel" and "high-mounted center stack" from the prior edition remain in place, Cars.com says, and the interior shared with the 2010 VW GTI is certainly "a step ahead from the 2009 model." Motor Trend contends, "Trim materials, always nice, are more sumptuous" and "Ergonomics, always intuitive, are further honed." Road & Track finds "the instrument panel is integrated nicely with the center console for a higher quality feel," while Jalopnik thinks "the interior initially looks somewhat Spartan."