2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI

I was not surprised to see the average mpg function cued up on the display screen when I hopped into the Golf TDI. This car puts up some pretty impressive fuel economy numbers, and it's natural to want to see just how well your doing. (For the record, I got just under 30 mpg on my short drive through town, and then 39 mpg the next day on an Interstate cruise out to the airport.)

For anyone with a long commute who is looking to get really great fuel economy, the Golf TDI has to be a top choice. It starts with the innate goodness of the Golf: superb chassis tuning, comfortable cabin, excellent packaging. Then add the excellent drivability of the 2.0-liter TDI engine, with its robust, easily accessible torque, and seamlessly integrated turbo. The only issue is that, as we discovered with our long-term Jetta TDI, the clutch take-up and throttle calibration mean you have to work to keep from stalling the TDI; the dual-clutch gearbox (despite its extra $1100) is really the way to go, unless your driving is all highway.

Joe Lorio, Senior Editor

Edward A. Sanchez
Again, I'm skeptical. I do not dispute the positive first impression the interior materials and paint finish impart. But in my experience, VW spends money on the areas that consumers will touch and interact with on a regular basis (not necessarily a bad strategy in and of itself) but consequently, cheaps-out on behind-the-scenes or below-the-surface components and engineering. Case-in-point, the notoriously fragile window regulators on the Mk4 Golfs/Jettas. Until I'm convinced VW's inherent quality is up to the same standards as its admittedly impressive paint and interior materials, I'm not buying.

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