2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI

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

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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