This base Golf isn't a bad car for $18,000. The 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine is strong and reminds me of the old 12-valve, 2.8-liter VR6 engine, with gobs of torque and its intake growl. As others have noted, the steering wheel feels huge and the hard plastic isn't attractive. The center stack and radio is bland, but not bad for a "base" system. The seats are reasonably comfortable for long stints, and even though this is a two-door, the back seat offers plenty of space. If I were in the market for an $18,000 car, I would seriously consider this base Golf; free maintenance, good gas mileage, and a peppy 170-hp engine are all plusses. Perhaps the only option I would consider would be alloy wheels.
Mike Ofiara, Road Test Coordinator