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2010 Volkswagen Jetta / Golf / GTI Pros and Cons at TrueDelta: Owner Pros and Cons by GolfTDI

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Reviewed: 2010 Volkswagen Golf

4dr Hatch turbocharged 140hp 2.0L I4 Diesel 6-speed manual FWD

Compared: 2010 Subaru Legacy

4dr Sedan 170-horsepower 2.5L H4 6-speed manual AWD

Why the 2010 Volkswagen Golf?

  Compared to the Legacy
Handling
Handling: Much better Better Worse

This car is really fun to drive. The handling is great, the manual transmission is great, and the ride is comfortable.

Fuel economy
Fuel economy: Much better Better Worse

I average 43mpg in a little over half highway driving. I get 55mpg on the highway and about 35mpg in city driving. This is very impressive considering this car's performance.

Powertrain performance
Powertrain performance: Better Better Worse

I love the diesel engine. Its torque is amazing. It pulls strong from 1400rpm to 4500rpm. You never need to downshift to pass on the highway, because at 65mph in 6th gear it's right at the peak torque. The transmission is also smooth and has great gearing for fuel economy and performance. It's doing less than 2000rpm at 70mph, but still accelerates effortlessly. It's also quiet and smooth.

Materials & workmanship
Materials & workmanship: Better Better Worse

The materials in this car are top notch. I am shocked by the number of $50000 luxury cars that have cheaper feeling interiors than this car (the latest BMW 3-Series for example).

Cargo capacity
Cargo capacity: Better Better Worse

It's amazing how much stuff you can fit in this little car. I've moved adult size bikes, huge boxes, and most of my garage in this car. I haven't towed with it, but unlike other compact cars I actually can tow and with the diesel's torque I would expect to to be pretty good at towing. It's also worth mentioning that the Golf has lots of passenger space and the TDI model's front sport seats are really comfortable.

Why Not the 2010 Volkswagen Golf?

  Compared to the Legacy
Discounts & incentives
Discounts & incentives: Worse Better Worse

None were available at the time I bought mine. These tend to sell as soon as they hit the lots, so it's tough to get a good deal on one. I think the Golf TDI is worth it though.

Tires  

The regular Continental all season tires are pretty unimpressive. They have reasonable handling and road feel, but are barely better than summer tires when the temperatures drop below 40 degrees. I have been very impressed with my General Altimax Arctic winter tires though. I plan to get a good set of summer performance tires soon, which is what this car should have come with.

Dealer practices
Dealer practices: About the same Better Worse

My dealer has been pretty good overall, but they have made a few mistakes that really should not have happened. When they changed the fuel filter at the 20k mile service they spilled diesel lots of diesel in the engine bay and bled the fuel system incorrectly, causing the car to smell from the outside and start slowly. They fixed it and always get the car back to me quickly. They have only given me a loaner when the car had to come back because they did something wrong.

Quietness
Quietness: About the same Better Worse

This is a very minor issue, but in the winter the engine warms up slowly and is noticeably noisier until it warms up. If I could keep it in a garage this would not be an issue.

Conclusion

I bought the Golf because it's fun to drive, very spacious, performs well, gets great fuel economy, and has a very nice interior. The Legacy has a larger back seat and all wheel drive, but was not nearly as fun to drive or fuel efficient. The Golf feels like a nicer car and I prefer the size.

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