The Volkswagen Golf TDI combines two of the best automotive niches: hatchbacks and diesels. Separately, these two segments account for a tiny fraction of U.S. auto sales. Combined, though, they really make a lot of sense. Both diesel engines and hatchback bodies are all about efficiency. Someone who's placing a priority on fuel efficiency also likely appreciates a vehicle that has better space efficiency than the typical sedan. I don't expect the Golf TDI to create a rush for diesels or hatchbacks, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it outsell the diesel Jetta sedan.
At $27,690, the price of this particular Golf TDI induces cringes. However, the starting price of $23,340 for a four-door TDI is palatable and includes the essentials as standard equipment. As a comfortable, affordable, reliable, and reasonably involving vehicle, a Golf TDI would be on my short list for a personal purchase. My only gripe is that the touch-screen navigation and radio interface was slow to respond. The same head unit minus the navigation software seems to operate much more fluidly in our long-term GTI.
Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor