Euro-spec Volkswagen Golf TDI - 5/09
Back in May our own Bengt Halvorson brought us the first impressions of a European-spec 2010 Golf TDI through American eyes, and now Volkswagen has released pricing information and fuel efficiency figures, helping to complete the picture of what will be on offer this year. Starting at $21,990, the TDI isn't as cheap as some of its Golf stablemates, but it does promise to rival the entry-level range of hybrids.
The $21,990 price is for the two-door hatch. The four-door model starts at a $600 premium of $22,590. Both cars come standard with a range of equipment above the typical Golf's feature list, including leather-wrapped steering wheel, premium touch-screen sound system, a lower 'sport' suspension setup, 17-inch alloy wheels and more safety-related acronyms than you can shake a stick at.
But the big news may be the 29 mpg city and 40 mpg highway rating of the new TDIs - the same for both two-door and four-door models. According to the government's official site, that's within 3 mpg of the 2010 Honda Insight on the highway, though without the aid of electronic assist, it falls 11 mpg short in city rating.
And according to that same government site, the Golf TDI is actually capable of a 30/42 mpg rating when equpped with the optional DSG gearbox, narrowing the gap a bit further. The manual rates 30 mpg city and 41 mpg highway according to the EPA's site.
The comparison to a hybrid-powered car may not be entirely fair, but it is inevitable, as Americans are increasingly seeing diesel as a way to boost fuel economy. One thing that's worth mentioning is that diesel engines boost fuel economy while also maintianing peppy driving behavior - something that can't be said for most hybrids.
However, like as Green Car Report's John Voelcker noted with the Jetta Sportwagen TDI, which features the same basic powertrain, the EPA and Volkswagen estimates of fuel economy may be way off what you'll see in the real world: our test driver saw an average of just over 42 mpg in 20 miles of city driving - enough to rival the Honda hybrid and even knock on the door of the new 2010 Toyota Prius.