The 2011 Volkswagen Golf is a tough hatchback to beat thanks to a well-rounded combination of factors, including an impressive interior with high-quality materials, capable and athletic road manners, a fuel-efficient diesel variant as well as overall price value given its level of refinement and performance.
The fact is, the Golf offers the kind of style and substance more typical of its Audi cousins, but at a friendlier price. And in comparison to other top rivals in its class, it's clearly the most upscale. The more reasonably priced Golf can also approach the luxury car level by adding optional goodies such as navigation and the premium Dynaudio stereo.
But it's not just features and materials that set the Golf apart. Powering the new Golf is either a spirited 2.5-liter inline-5 engine or a super efficient turbodiesel that gets 42 mpg on the highway. And once on the road, drivers will likely be impressed with its capable driving dynamics and confident handling.
While the 2011 Golf stands out as a value play in terms of features, materials and performance, it's always a good idea to consider other top segment competitors to help make the most informed final buying decision. Other worthy rivals would include the Mazda3, the Hyundai Elantra Touring and the Mini Cooper, each with their own appealing qualities.
Trims, Standard Features And Options:
The 2011 VW Golf is classified as a compact hatchback and is available in both two- and four-door forms, each in two trims: 2.5L and TDI.
Standard features on the Golf 2.5L include power windows, power doorlocks, power and heated external mirrors, 15-inch steel wheels, cruise control, air conditioning, 8-way manual adjustable front seats, a trip computer, metallic interior trim accents, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel and an 8-speaker audio system with a CD/MP3 player.
In addition to its diesel engine, the Golf TDI comes standard with all the above plus a sport suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth, foglights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with multifunction controls, a leather-wrapped shift knob and brake lever, split-folding rear seats with a center armrest, a trunk pass-through, floor mats and an upgraded touchscreen audio system with satellite radio, an iPod interface and an in-dash CD changer.
The four-door models of both models also come standard with power-reclining front seats. In terms of available optional features, both models can include a Cold Weather package (which adds heated front seats and washer nozzles) as well as a sunroof, while Bluetooth is an offered option for the 2.5L. In addition, stand-alone options for the TDI include navigation, a Dynaudio sound system, adaptive xenon headlights and rear seat airbags for four-door models.
Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:
Under the hood of the Volkswagen Golf 2.5L is a 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine that pumps out 170 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with either a standard 5-speed manual transmission or an optional 6-speed automatic. The EPA-estimated gas mileage for this engine is 23 mpg city and 30 mpg on the highway with the automatic and 22 and 30, respectively, with the manual.
Powering the Golf TDI is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel that produces a fairly modest 140 horsepower but a robust 236 pound-feet of torque. It's mated with either a standard 6-speed manual transmission or an optional 6-speed dual-clutch automated manual (DSG). The EPA gas mileage rating for the TDI comes in at an outstanding 30 mpg city and 41 mpg highway with the 6-speed manual and 30 city and 42 highway with the DSG.
Standard safety features for all 2011 VW Golfs include stability control, antilock disc brakes (ABS), front-seat side airbags and full-length head curtain airbags. In addition, rear-seat side airbags can be added as an option on four-door models.
In government crash testing, the four-door Golf equipped with optional rear side airbags earned five out of five stars for side-impact occupant protection and four stars for frontal-impact protection.
The 2011 Golf's cabin is another of its strong selling points and is even much more refined than the new Volkswagen Jetta. In fact, once inside you're more likely to think you're in an Audi. It's clearly at the top of the class thanks to its elegant design, excellent craftsmanship and high-grade materials.
The seating is comfortable and supportive, both front and rear. And the interior passenger space is the same in both the two- and four-door models, with the four-door offering the easiest access to the quite roomy rear quarters, while the two-door offers front seats that easily slide forward. The cargo capacity behind the rear seats stands at 12.4 cubic feet, expandable to 46 cubic feet in models with the split-folding rear seats.
The 2011 Volkswagen Golf is also a class leader when it comes to driving performance. This hatchback is quick, agile and well-planted, providing a driving experience that is both fun and secure. Even with its athletic "fun factor" on those back twisty roads, the Golf is still able to provide an impressively quiet and comfortable ride when cruising down the freeway, evidence of a well-balanced suspension tuning.
While most drivers will likely be pleased with the gas-powered Golf's combination of quickness and driving refinement, the turbodiesel is an appealing choice for its strong torque at low speeds and exceptional gas mileage performance.
How To Get The Lowest Price:
Best Negotiating Tactic: Well, there's definitely a 'best way' when it comes to new car buying. If you want to get the best bottomline, out-the-door price you need to know exactly who to talk to at the dealership, how to make the contact and how to make this person eager to quickly drop prices as low as possible to get your sale.
Those of you in the market for a used car may want to check out this article about how to buy a used car at the lowest price. It details a super effective buying method, one that often beats down prices to wholesale levels.
And somewhat related to this, here's another excellent method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.
In addition, you can also try Wholesale Public Car Auctions in your own geographic area. While there can be a lot of junk vehicles at these auctions, there are often absolute gems sprinkled in as well. This article reviews what to expect at open-to-the-public car auctions and how to locate them in your own area.
2011 Volkswagen Golf Hatchback Two-Door:
2.5L, manual: list price: $17,995, invoice price: $17,275
2.5L, auto: list price: $19,095, invoice price: $18,331
TDI, manual: list price: $23,225, invoice price: $22,297
TDI, DSG manual: list price: $24,325, invoice price: $23,353
2011 Volkswagen Golf Hatchback Four-Door:
2.5L, auto: list price: $19,755, invoice price: $18,965
TDI, manual: list price: $23,885, invoice price: $22,930
TDI, DSG manual: list price: $24,985, invoice price: $23,986