2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI

I have long had a fondness for Volkswagen hatchbacks, dating back to the diesel Rabbit I bought in 1981 that was the first car I ever purchased. Even though that car wasn't exactly the paramount of performance or reliability, its hatchback body style was extremely versatile - and it gave 50-plus mpg on the freeway.

Fast forward to the 2010 Golf TDI. Today's Golf has the same basic body architecture that the Rabbit/Golf has had for more than three decades, which is a testament to its ultimate practicality. But the diesel engine is where VW has made the greatest strides. Granted, you likely won't see the same 50-plus mpg I got in my old Rabbit, but today's diesel engines are light-years ahead of where they were three decades ago in both refinement and reliability. The Golf TDI is a vehicle I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to someone who wants a practical, efficient vehicle that will also provide some amount of driving satisfaction.

Amy Skogstrom, Managing 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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