2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI

The Volkswagen Golf is one of the most iconic small hatchbacks of all time. Introduced in 1974, more than 27 million have been sold, making it the world’s third best-selling car. Now, in its sixth generation, the Golf returns with a full redesign and Volkswagen’s 50-state compliant TDI clean-diesel engine under the hood. The most recent generation was launched as the Rabbit in 2007, but Volkswagen reverts back to the Golf name for 2010. We test-drove this greener Golf on its mother soil, in Deutschland, on an open-road route that took us from Wolfsburg to Dresden to Berlin.

Compare the Golf TDI!

If you’re thinking about buying a Golf TDI, you might also consider a Jetta TDI or a Honda Civic Hybrid. Compare these vehicles.

The Golf TDI powertrain utilizes an electronically controlled turbocharger and fuel injection system to achieve better fuel economy and performance than the standard gas-powered model. The 2.0-liter diesel engine provides 140 horsepower and a stout 236 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy is 30 city/42 highway with a six-speed automatic transmission, and 30 city/41 highway with a six-speed manual. That’s about 30 percent better than the Golf’s 2.5-liter gas engine. Volkswagen claims the Golf’s range is just short of 600 miles on a tank of diesel.

Expect to pay about a $3,000 premium for the Golf’s diesel version. The base 2-door, 2.5-liter gas-powered Golf starts at $17,600 and the 4-door at $19,300. The Golf TDI starts at $22,200 and $22,700 for the four-door. Like the Jetta, the Golf TDI models come with a higher level of equipment.

Hybrid Comparison

Compared to conventional diesel engines, the TDI releases 95 percent fewer sooty emissions thanks to a trap and burn system—not the urea-based approach taken by Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi. (See our article on the “Two Paths to Clean Diesel.”

Despite the advanced clean diesel system, the Golf TDI is not as squeaky clean on emissions as the cleanest hybrids. Moreover, in terms of efficiency, the Golf TDI falls 8 mpg short of the Prius’s highway mileage rating, and 20 mpg in the city. All of the top-tier hybrids, including the Toyota Prius, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Honda Insight, and Honda Civic Hybrid, handily beat the Golf TDI’s city mileage—bringing the in-town benefits of hybrids into sharp relief.

In fairness, a similarly equipped Prius or Fusion would cost at least a few thousand dollars more than the Golf TDI.

Efficiency, Speed and Fun

With our automatic-equipped tester, we achieved an impressive 39.8 miles per gallon (after converting from liters per 100 kilometers) on our 326-mile triangular trek between the three German cities. That exceeds all gas-powered subcompacts and displays fuel-efficiency resembling many hybrid cars—although not quite in the league of Prius and Insight especially when driven with restraint (which we admittedly lacked in Germany). Approximately 80 percent of the journey took place at highway speeds ranging anywhere from 75 miles per hour to 120 miles per hour. After all, this is the Autobahn.

If our test had occurred on more speed-limited American highways, it’s likely that our combined mileage loop would have beat the EPA’s highway rating of the car. About 20 percent of our German mileage loop occurred on smaller country roads and slower, more congested in-town traffic. At the end of our trip, the fuel gauge showed exactly one-half tank of fuel, confirming VW’s claim of a 600-mile cruising range.

Volkswagen Golf TDI

Photo: HybridCars.com. All rights reserved.

The Golf delivers lots of spirit and fun with a healthy dose of off-the-line performance and passing power. That’s what you get when you have a small car with an abundance of diesel-driven torque. Not so much that it overwhelms the chassis, yet enough to give the driver reason to let loose in traffic (when that’s even possible on our crowded roadways).

Road Manners

In terms of drivability, the new Golf is smooth and solid. It offers a ride comparable to larger premium vehicles. This was best seen on the highway, where the Golf plowed ahead in a balanced and comfortable manner. Even at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour, the car feels extremely steady. There is virtually no small car wavering or drifting. It holds its place on the road as larger cars and trucks pass by at higher speeds, unlike many compacts and subcompacts that get blown around by bigger vehicles or lateral wind gusts.

The Golf has always been a sporty handler, but even that attribute has been improved upon, thanks to a redesigned suspension. The Golf takes tight corners and twisty roads with plenty of confidence. Body roll is minimal, and overall, the Golf feels quick and nimble.

Stylistically, the Golf stays loyal to its genetics and heritage, with some modern interpretation. The front fascia has been revised and lowered for greater aerodynamics and a sportier show. And the car’s wider stance gives it more on-road presence. A number of other small details—like updated taillights and black trim—give the Golf a cleaner, sleeker look.

As with previous generations, the interior of the Golf is much roomier than one would think from the outside. It will seat four comfortably or five in a pinch. With two passengers, expect more room for gear than a couple would ever need. Stylistically, the Golf follows Volkswagen’s philosophy of smart looks, ergonomic design and minimal waste.

The new Volkswagen Golf TDI is an excellent example of a practical and sporty diesel car for the masses. It’s efficient, powerful, and reasonably affordable. Volkswagen has had a great success with its clean diesel Jetta Sportwagen. The company should enjoy an equally enthusiastic reception to the 2010 Golf TDI, selling at a base price of about $22,000. The Golf will draw young urbanites who like getting out of the city on the weekends. And especially those who haven’t warmed up to hybrids, but want 40-plus miles per gallon with brisk highway performance.


  • About 600 miles on a single tank
  • A lot of diesel-driven power off the line
  • Stellar fuel economy on the highway
  • Putting three passengers in the back is a squeeze
  • Bland styling
  • Historically low rankings on reliability studies

Price quote for Volkswagen Golf TDI

2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI
Base MSRP: $22,200
Is this the vehicle for you? Want to find out what kind of deals are available? Fill out some basic details and we.ll have a dealer in your area send you a price quote to get the ball rolling.
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  • Nelson Lu

    Of course, none of the TDI models available in the United States by any of the German manufacturers actually is capable of competing with the midsize hybrid sedans, and the Golf is no exception. The Jetta comes close, but isn’t quite as big as a Fusion/Camry/Altima. My suspicion is that if, for example, Volkswagen had produced and marketed a Passat TDI, it wouldn’t sell because it wouldn’t be competitive mileage-wise with the midsize hybrids.

  • simon@syd

    I have to admit this is an impressive car. Grudgingly though because its not a hybrid.

  • alancamp

    Adding Stop/Start Technology would really drop the CO2 numbers considerably, along with a big boost in city mpg. At any rate, by now a compact car should at least offer 35 mpg city, hybrid or not.

  • Vik

    To the TDI bashing crowd: What is the hybrid that can run 120mph and still return 39.8 mpg? My TDI returns 53-57 mpg year after year.

  • Nelson Lu

    Vik, I hope you are not suggesting that the Golf can run 120 MPH *regularly* and still get 39.8 MPG.

    If you’re talking about *being able to hit 120 MPH*, no, I haven’t tried it yet in my Ford Fusion Hybrid (and won’t try), but I don’t have any doubt that it is capable of doing so.

  • Dom

    Nelson Lu – VW will have a mid-sized diesel sedan soon… that’s what is going to be built at the new plant in TN. We will see how they stack up.

    I for one am really happy to see the Golf TDI return to the US. That is one hot hatchback. And there is no hybrid currently available with a six-speed manual!! Sweet!

  • crut100

    Right on!, I mean they specifically state they were driving up to 120MPH which is double or nearly double the highway speeds allowed in most of America. Based off of my own cars and their gas mileage when speeds creep up, I would bet this vehicle would return about 45-50mpg on the highway if it was driven in the 65 mph range and that is some darn good mileage!!

  • simon@syd

    To the TDI bashing crowd… Aw come on, we all know that hybrid is better for the city (where, realistically, we actually drive) and TDI has advantages for the highway. There was never any dispute about that. It actually is why hybrid is better.

  • ms

    The vw tdi has such a loud noise on at idel mode thayt i guess no one would like to have one.

    You may compare with any gasoline enginne, from vw or any other brand.

    Not considering que polution, as the particules filter does not reduce the nox and other pollutions from the diesel engine. And f

  • Nelson Lu

    The points about the diesel being more efficient on the highway is true — to an extent. Again, the Golf is a substantially smaller car — two feet shorter than the Fusion, as a point of comparison — such that its passenger space is seven cubic feet smaller. It gets 42 MPG on the highway — but that is only six more than the Fusion Hybrid, leading to its being overall less efficient (34 MPG compared to the Fusion’s 39 MPG) despite being that much smaller. The difference in size is not small.

    So, essentially, we have a less-refined car that is a lot smaller and less efficient. (And this is not just the Fusion we’re talking about; the Golf TDI has the same disadvantages compared to the Camry and the Altima Hybrids, although the fuel efficiency gap disappears.) I also tried to price a Golf TDI as closely equipped as possible the Fusion Hybrid I have (as closely as possible — there are a number of features that the Fusion Hybrid has that appear to be simply not available on the Golf TDI, including a backup camera and the blind spot information system). It came out to $28,440, which is only $3,500 less than the price on my Fusion Hybrid. Given the substantial deficiencies it has, it really cannot compete with the midsize hybrids.

    As Dom noted, Volkswagen may be soon ready to compete with a midsize TDI. I am skeptical that it would be competitive fuel-efficiency wise or price-wise. That’s given that, in a larger application, the Volkswagen Touareg and the Toyota Highlander are virtually the same size, but the Highlander Hybrid blows the Touareg TDI away in fuel efficiency (27 to 18 in the city, both are 25 on the highway, leading to an overall 26 to 20 advantage for the Highlander Hybrid). Meanwhile, I am less familiar with either of those vehicles to know how to price them equivalently, but just based on base configurations, the Touareg TDI is over $5K higher in price than the Highlander Hybrid.

  • Lost Prius to wife

    Vik and Dom, the Prius will do 130 mpg (with the electronic governor off), probably producing somewhere around 40 to 45 mpg, and doing all this with essentially one gear (there is no gear shifting transmission of any type in a Prius; the Prius has only a power split system instead of a geared transmission). Does this mean either the VW Golf or Jetta TDI are lesser economical vehicles than the Prius? Definitely no! The VW Golf or Jetta TDI are just a different type of economical vehicle that meets a different set of needs for some people while helping to do less damage to our environment.

  • Jon

    Nelson Lu “So, essentially, we have a less-refined car that is a lot smaller and less efficient.”

    have you seen the new golf… definitely not “less-refined.” It feels like a luxury car, plus it actually preforms. Nelson, you do sound kind of boring so maybe a fusion is good for you… but ill take my 0-60 in 8 seconds before i take the highly inflated fuel estimates of hybrids… also the TDI engine will last longer than 100 000k 🙂

  • ex-EV1 driver

    Come on Jon,
    I haven’t heard of any Priuses being scrapped before 100K miles and I’ve been in Prius taxis with 300K miles on them and still going strong. On the other hand, most people I’ve know with VWs have had major engine or transmission work done on them before 70K miles, myself included (which, of course, they had to pay for).
    I’m not going to call either a Prius or a Golf a luxury car but there’s certainly a lot more passenger and cargo room in the Prius than the Golf or even the Passat so one can hardly consider them in the same vehicle class.
    You can have your 8 second 0-60 time in your TDI, I’ll just settle with my 3.9 second Tesla time. See you in my rear view mirror or at the gas station as I’m passing by.

  • Nelson Lu

    According to Car and Driver, the Fusion Hybrid’s 0-60 time is 8.5 seconds. Somehow, I don’t think that 0.5 second difference is worth it to get a Golf TDI.

  • wxman

    Good article. Thank you for the review.

    The only issue with which I would somewhat disagree is the emissions issue. The TDI may have marginally higher “tailpipe” emissions (it’s still certified ULEV in California), but since diesel fuel is essentially non-volatile, it has far fewer evaporative emissions than any vehicle which uses gasoline, including the gas-hybrids mentioned. This would make the emissions essentially a wash, regardless of what “bin” or green score is assigned.

  • NorCal

    Posting disclosure: I am a true blue car guy. I like to drive for the sake of driving and I put more emphasis on a cars’ handling dynamics vs. outright economy and reliability. Ok, with that out of the way, let me continue….

    The debate of hybrid vs. diesel is one that will never cease – what is important to remember is that each one brings its own set of strengths and weaknesses. What it boils down to is which car is best suited or appeals most to you based on your wants/needs. Having choices is good in my opinion.

    With the TDI, its best performance is on long, sustained highway driving. If you do a lot of long distance commuting or take a lot of road trips, the TDI (Jetta sedan/wagon or Golf) is a capable platform. Having driven a couple of late model VWs recently, the highway road manners of these cars are very nice. Low road noise, comfortable seating, good outward visibility and a nice ride. Another element of the new VWs is their chassis dynamics. A good friend of mine has a bone stock 2008 GTI (I know, not an apples to apples comparison to the TDI…but very similar underpinnings) and it is a very rewarding car to drive on a twisty two-lane road. Turn-in response is quick and sure-footed. Sure the TDI won’t be quite as spirited as the GTI, but no doubt just as enjoyable. For the owner who has ‘car-enthusiast’ coursing in their veins, this would be a great dual role car. Very respectible economy along with the fun-to-drive factor. A nice have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too compromise.

    As for the hybrids, there is no question these cars are the undisputed mileage kings (particularly the Prius). If maximum mpg is at the top of your list, go hybrid. For the type of driving most people do – stop & go city driving – this is where having a hybrid makes a lot of sense. My aunt owns a 2005 Prius which I have driven many times. Its a great car for those quick jaunts around town and I am impressed with how much ‘stuff’ you can put in back (especially if you fold down the rear seat). No doubt, this is a very practical, fuel efficient and reliable car. My one and only gripe is that I don’t find it to be a car I want to drive for the sake of driving….it just doesn’t inspire me that way. But for everyday use of getting from Point A to Point B around town, it is a very very good car. Other hybrids like the Fusion or Civic (or SUV variants) are equally good in this regard. I’m sure as time passes and technology improves, the hybrid market will broaden and have offerings that are not just about maximum economy, but also fun and inspiring cars to drive.

  • ex-EV1 driver

    It would definitely be nice if someone would come out with a good performing Hybrid for long road trips, however, I question whether the Golf TDI is a good road tripper, just because it is so tiny inside. I would think that, while not a great a handler, today’s hybrids would be much better for that purpose.
    If you like canyon cutting, you definitely need to try the Tesla. Nothing that burns fuel exceeds its handling and performance on winding roads. Nothing beats its energy efficiency either, including your ‘undisputed mileage kings’ (oops, I just disputed them)!
    I’ll admit that the TDI is a lot more affordable but the Tesla is the ultimate have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too. Its only compromise is on long road trips when, as I mentioned earlier, small cars are not right anyway.

  • ABop

    Interesting arguments. There is no need to be adversaries! Both Hybrids and diesels, TDi especially have room in the market place. In fact, they have room in the same household!

    The Jetta Sportswagen’s interior dimensions are close to the Prius so those two could be compared in terms of interior space vs MPG comparison. The Prius has awesome legroom which helps people fit behind me when move the front seats back 🙂 The Passat is Larger than the Prius and it is hard to think otherwise if you sit in the vehicles but here are the numbers:

    ’04 – ’09 Prius:
    Front Head Room: 39.1 in. Front Hip Room: 51 in.
    Front Shoulder Room: 55.3 in. Rear Head Room: 37.1 in.
    Rear Shoulder Room: 53 in. Rear Hip Room: 51.6 in.
    Front Leg Room: 41.9 in. Rear Leg Room: 38.6 in.
    Luggage Capacity: 16.1 cu. ft. Maximum Seating: 5

    ’09 Jetta sportswagen:
    Front Head Room: 38.4 in. Front Shoulder Room: 54.8 in.
    Rear Head Room: 38.1 in. Rear Shoulder Room: 53.1 in.
    Front Leg Room: 41.1 in. Rear Leg Room: 35.5 in.
    Luggage Capacity: 32.8 cu. ft. Maximum Cargo Capacity: 67 cu. ft. Maximum Seating: 5

    ’10 Passat B6 wagon:

    Front Head Room: 38.3 in. Front Shoulder Room: 55.7 in.
    Rear Head Room: 38.6 in. Rear Shoulder Room: 54.6 in.
    Front Leg Room: 41.4 in. Rear Leg Room: 37.7 in.
    Luggage Capacity: 35.8 cu. ft. Maximum Cargo Capacity: 62 cu. ft. Maximum Seating: 5

    If you place the TDi Powerplant into the B6 Passat, it will be more of an apples to apples comparison between the Camry hybrid, the ford fusion and a TDi B6 Passat would be worthy of a comparison.

    But coming back to the car at hand, the Golf TDi, is a sporty, fuel efficient vehicle in a small footprint. There are advantages to it’s size in both road manners and fuel efficiency and I am looking forward to driving one after throughly enjoying my Jetta TDi drive in the spring.

    All in all, it comes to the right tool for the job. We own a Prius which is wonderful around town and is perfect in size. However, to increase safety in inclement weather and improve it’s driving enjoyment, it needed upgraded tires which made it *almost* fun to drive!

    For my daily monotony which is my 20+ mile commute, a golf or Jetta TDI is perfect, sporty speed transmission and great mileage which will make the commute down right fun with no guilt.

    Both hybrid and TDi Power plants have a place in the market and both have a place on my driveway if I have any say in the matter! 🙂 We own a gen II Prius and a very used B5.5 variant 4motion. A TDi Jetta Sportwagen or TDi Golf 5door either with the 6 speed manual would be perfect addition to our stable.

  • ashbranson

    Everyone on this thread makes good points regarding their particular choice of vehicles, however I have noticed some significant details that are missing from the discussion. As it would seem, everyone seems to think that drivers are generally involved in stop-and-go traffic, included in city driving. This makes sense if you live in California, which most of you do, it seems. However, I live in Texas, where once you leave the big cities (Houston, Dallas, etc….) probably 90% of driving is done on an interstate or state highway of some sort. This is the area where the TDIs shine. We purchased our Sportwagen TDI in August of 2008 (we later learned it was one of the first sold in Texas), and it now has 65000 miles, having had nothing go wrong apart from a headlamp going out. The room inside is incredible, even as a 6’2″ male with two dogs and big friends. At 70 mph, I’ll easily average 43-45mpg, and the platform is stable as a brick house. Speaking as someone who downsized from a Chevrolet Avalanche, I am phenomenally impressed with this car. Hybrids in Texas haven’t been as popular as in places such as California or New York, but I do believe that these clean diesels from Volkswagen will really catch on quick in the South and Midwest. As of now, I am passing the Sportwagen on to my father, and looking to purchase a new 4 door Golf TDI 6M very soon.

  • dragonflyjm

    well i liked norcals comments most, and another thing you all keep missing out on, is looks. And dont try to tell me looks dont matter. The golf LOOKS better. it handles better, at 5’8″ 235 im a lil fat guy, i have all the room in the world plus some. it looks good it handles good, it has passing power and torque, every one i know has told me the vw was the best car they ever owned. and as far as engine trouble and such, thats why we check fluids do scheduled maintenance, and oil and lubes when its time. its not rocket science. so it handles, it looks awesom it has deceptively ample rooom and when driving it, the car screams to me of quality. i had to cover my ears, the scream? get it? ok nevermind. i want a car with good lines. i want a car that feels good to drive. it covers alll that and has 40 plus on the highway, and in florida where we have no hills and such, i bet i get close to fifty. so all you hybrid employees can have your title of mmpg champ. and while your electric sccoter weeeeeeeeeeeee’s on by, i will fuel up and laugh cuz that prius, is stupid looking. Its a goldfish bowl, halved and stuck on lil tiny wheels. Please. its a chick car dude.

  • golf driver

    Too bad that GM never introduced its powerful turbo diesel engineered by Opel Germany in the US market. They are clean and cheap cars and the engines could humm in some GM trucks.

  • Dan Williams

    Actually, the VW TDI has the world record for experienced highway mileage (over all mass-produced hybrids)

  • Chris R

    I spent 2 weeks in a TDI Golf travelling around Europe, it was comfortable, quiet and had plenty of power and sipped the fuel, most of the time we were getting at least 550 to 600 miles from a tank. We are now seriously considering replacing our generation 3 Prius for one.

  • Burbank auto glass

    I used to own a 2005 Golf TDI. Despite only having 100 hp, it was the 177 lb-ft that made the car pull like a small V6 between 2000 and 3000 rpm. When I first got the car brand new, it returned 28 mpg city and 36 mpg highway, which had me bummed out for a few months. After about 9,000 miles of break-in, my fuel economy skyrocketed and I started seeing 34 mpg city/52 mpg highway on a regular basis. STELLAR!!!

  • JM Forge

    I was looking at a 2dr Golf TDI today and they thing that struck me was that they basically migrated a lot of the interior parts from the GTI to this car. Yes, it costs several thousand more than the gas Golf, but there is no such animal as a TDI Golf with stamped steel wheels, cheapo radio, etc. My only choice wwouldbe between the Golf and the Jetta TDI because with the Jetta, you canget the “pleather” seats for a few dollars more and anyone who had owned a Geramn car knows that the vinyl seats are difficult for some folks to tell apart from leather. My last two cars, a ’99 Passat and a 2001 325i both had them and I am hesitant to go back to fabric, even though the cloth used in the Golf TDI and GTI is a totally different materiel than the fuzzy fabis that you see in the trpical Chevy or Honda. The dealer that I talked to is the one that sold the Jetta TDI to that couple who did the around the US loop and averaged 57.5 mpg. Apparently the previous poster wasn’t kidding about the break in period. These folks started out getting in the low to mid 50’s on the highway at 60 mph and about halfway though the trip they were getting 60+mpg!!!!!!!


    on my third passat, my current one, on 2008 2T is a gem. At 70mph with the cruise on, I can get approx 31 mpg, giving me a range of about 540 miles, not bad for a 200hp car. Once I hit the local roads, though, mpg drops. The car is awesome.. Am looking into the jetta sportwagon diesel though.

  • Tom

    Well, I am driving the Civic Hybrid for the last 1 1/2 Years, averaging 45mpg which is great but………..just like in the commercial, it gets boring very quickly. I always enjoyed driving but the Hybrid just takes the fun out of it. I will be getting my Golf TDI tomorrow and I am thrilled by it’s handling and interior build quality. My mother in law just got the Audi A3 TDI, same engine and it really is a fun car to drive. She averages so far (70% Highway) 43mpg, and the Golf is about 200lbs less.

  • Anonymous

    okay so i’ve owned a jetta tdi (cup edition) for 3 months now, you find me a hybrid that will get to 60mph in less than 9 dsec than get back to me, my average for the life of the car 6500 is sitting at 45.5mpg and i can regularly get 50+ mpg on hwy trips at 55 mph(the speed limit. I accelerate fast at most stops and coast tup to lights. I’m 20 and have loads of fun taking corners at speads double or triple the advised limit (yellow signs) without the slightest complaint from this car. the trac control on this car is unmatched imho, pulling the car back to where it should be without the slightest jerk, alli ever see is the little light flashing at me. as for vw haters if you take care of your car and keep up on the matainance these cars will last to well over 200,000. Its not made for americans who drive till it falls apart which i’ll give you, you can do in a toyota or american made car.

  • Anonymous

    Stick 4 people in a hybrid and go for a drive. The extra weight makes the cars very sluggish and dead on inclines. The torque in the desiel kills hybrids and are way better at commuting. I spend 20 mins a day at highway speeds and 5 mins at a day city speeds. Hybrids are gutless and not meant for real commuters.

  • RLW


    Great bit of info and opinion. I recently bought a VW sportwagen TDI and am getting to really like it. I wanted to mention to Nelson Lu that the size is not too different between the Fusion and the Golf-7 cu ft due to and inch or so wider space and rear seat area. To make a point on “midsize” cars, the new Prius is classified as a mid-sized car at 94 cu ft of passenger space. The Golf has 93 cu ft. The EPA includes cargo space. The wagon I bought interestingly has 92 cu ft for passengers but offers 33 cu ft of cargo up to 67 cu ft. It has slightly more cargo than the Ford Escape (100 cu ft passenger space) has. You mentioned in earlier posts that diesels could not really compete with hybrids of the same size. I am not sure that is true any longer. I get better real world mileage than an Escape and my mileage should only improve where most owners of the Escapes on the forum share how over time as their battery ages it takes longer to charge, thus, the mileage goes down. Several report a 5-8 mpg drop since purchased new beginning about 3.5 years and older. Plus several describe MPG figures about 5mpg lower than the 34mpg EPA figure to begin with. Perhaps they are learning to drive but my first tank I was at EPA figures with AC running in 90% city driving.

  • Earl Busch

    You got the price of a TDI Golf up to 28k? Did you gold plate the interior or something? The one I looked at was 24 with a moonroof and that was before the $1300 tax credit. I just need to find more about reliability. It may be worth it over a Civic but not if it is going to break down all the time.

  • Heinrich Von Fleischmann

    $27,000 for a Volkwagen TDI is outrageous! VW used to be such an affordable car and I remember my father owning a bug back in the 1960s that cost only $1,500. This is too much to pay for a people’s car, but I love the TDI so much that I am willing to eat slop for the next year just to have one of my own. You sacrifice for what you desire to have, but it’s still a crime how much the car companies are charging us.

  • Mike G.

    First I will admit I’ve never owned a gasoline powered hybrid. I’ve owned Mercedes, Lexus, Infiniti and Porsche. I now own a TDI Jetta and can’t quit talking about it. I am so impressed with the build quality, heavy feel on the freeway at 80 mph, the torque and fun to drive factor. I really don’t understand how a car this small can feel so sturdy, quiet and smooth at 80 mph. Now, throw the gas mileage on top – I’m sold. In fact I’m thinking about getting either the Golf or A3 TDI. These engines are known their longevity. After all, diesels have fewer moving parts and have to be built heavier to handle the compression of the engine. I’m not here to talk gas hybrid vs diesel but more what floats your boat. Kudos to everyone for getting 30+ mpg and saving everyone more resources. Imagine if more did it.

  • Clint

    Just bought a 2011 honda crz. 0-60 in 8.5 sec. I get 40 mpg on the highway and 43 in town. There’s your performance hybrid. PS, looks way better than any VW!

  • Roy

    Again… for the TDI bashing crowd…

    I drive a 2003 Jetta TDI

    I average 48 mpg.
    I get about 600 miles to a tank. I’ve heard of much more from a tank.

    This car will move, it wont move quickly, definantly a moderate sprint.

    And the Honda CRZ just looks like a prius with a honda front end.
    And a prius is not somethign i want to parade around in. TDI is much more fun to drive.

    If you are considering Buying a TDI anything… go for it. Great cars. And will far outlast most gas engines. I’ve seen people get over 400k miles with no major issues. Just routine maintinance.

    Besides, diesel is the only fuel that produces more energy than it takes to make. Also we’ve developed synthetic diesel. And Biodiesel.

    Skip the batteries, buy a TDI.

  • Anonymous

    yes! diesel is the only alternative at this time. See photos of lithium mines raping the earth and justify batteries. Hybrids are in no way “green”, just a nimbi “look at what I’m doing in the here and now mindset”, not the expenditure of energy to build these battery powered things, which is considerably more than any petro powered vehicle

    wake up! – electric/hybrid cars are not any more efficient than diesel in the grand scheme of things, in fact they are immensely less – do your research

  • nate hirst

    How many miles could i get out of a 2000 tdi?
    300,000 350,000?
    please answer!

  • Jeremy

    Well, I’ve been debating over hybrid vs diesel and have to say I’m sold on VW diesel for a few REASONS:

    longer life span
    Comparable HWY mileage (I live in Houston area)
    Sportier look than Honda or Toyota

    And from what I’m hearing are real fun and smooth drive. Also I love manual transmission and 6 gears sounds like a delightful experience.

    Nice thread, thanks for the advice and info.

  • RLW

    reading through the posts I agree that hybrids and diesels have their unique benefits. It also has to do with preferences. In May I purchased a Jetta Sportwagen TDI but not before test driving the Prius and the Insight. I also drove the Jetta TDI sedan and the Golf TDI. What I discovered was the sporty nature of the diesels versus the hybrids. I am used to Infiniti, BMW and other sport sedans and do not like sluggish cars. Also I owned a small SUV for 4.5 years and missed the cargo space. The scariest ride was the Insight. When I had to get on it to pull out in traffic, the engine sounded exactly like a cox model engine with all kinds of popping and cracking with minimal power. The leaves were also falling off my graphic ECO tree on the dash! I live in a typical suburban area where people drive about 45mph on major boulevards in town – not crawling around like in NYC so power is important when at a stop. Hybrids have their place AND I believe that eventually we will go electric with cars; however, the diesel is a fantastic powerful option. The sportwagen actually has more cargo area than an Escape SUV! So, consider that model in comparison too. What car gives that and also gets 30-34 mpg in city and 42-46 hwy? Certainly not a hybrid SUV. One other thing that I believe is overlooked with hybrids is the battery issue – charge life and eventual disposal. With each year, the oldest hybrids have taught us that MPG drops as batteries age. (SEE hybrid forums) Also, we are told that the batteries will be safely disposable but is that process really fully harmless to the environment? Hybrid technology is, in my opinion, a transitional technology. Diesel may be as well but at least with the newest diesels we know up front any pitfalls. Rarely has any hybrid battery failed but a new Escape replacement is almost 10K! How will such things effect the used value of a say 2005 Escape Hybrid with 80000 miles? Right now KBB price between a Hybrid and V-6 2005 Escape is $100. The problem is that the hybrid has to have that battery or you only have half an engine!

  • RLW

    Those are certainly a cool looking car BUT you also have little room in a two-seater as the CRZ actually is. To compare the TDIs you would have to look at VW’s smaller Bluemotion diesels in Europe. They get about 20-25% better gas mileage than their current larger car offerings sold in the US and would match your city mileage and surpass your highway mileage. They also are working on a Porsche/Audi/VW sports model (all the same company in 2011 with acceleration 0-60 in 6.2 seconds to be sold at a “normal person” price. It was just recently given the go ahead for production. Naturally the Audi and Porsche versions will cost much more. These brands share a alot. Current TDIs use the Porsche tiptronic:


  • TDI <3

    Just got a 2011 Golf TDI. I test drove a handful of hybrids, and decided on the VW TDI for two reasons: MPGs and TURBO!!! I’m sorry but a lot of those hybrids just are not as fun to drive. If they ever come out with one that has the pep of a turbo and in a 6-speed manual, then I will reconsider. But for the next 15 years I will be loving my TDI… by the way lets see a hybrid that will be running better than my TDI after 15 years.

  • Mik T.

    To all you hybrid enthusiast, I would NEVER buy American. You can compare American quality, workmanship, and engineering to the Germans.

    Yes, your hybrids may beat the Golf TDI in mileage. But, in overall driving excitement and satisfaction, the Golf TDI beats all hybrids!

  • Ukemike

    I’m a “drive it like I stole it” kinda guy. The TDIs still get great mileage when driven with… spirit. I have a friend with a Prius. To be polite, he does not drive it conservatively. I’ve driven it too and I’ve seen his average mileage. It isn’t impressive. Those low rolling resistance tires you find on most hybrids are no fun at all. The Golf TDI comes with the same OE tires as the GTI.

    A Prius is really fantastic for someone who loves to get great mileage in a practical car. I want a practical car that I love to drive, that is still efficient when driven the way I like to drive. Different criteria, different solution.

    I’ve noticed lots of people here comparing the Golf TDI to cars that are a good deal more expensive. Someone else was complaining about the lack of a backup camera. A Prius or the similar Insight NEED backup cameras because they have lousy rear visibility, I’d say that’s another point for the Golf.

    What it really boils down to for me is that I desire a Prius/Insight about as much as I desire a minivan. After test driving that TDI yesterday, oooh I want one! Nice handling, great exhaust note, tons of torque, comfortable, and perfectly practical.

    I will admit one clear advantage the Prius has, legal access to the Soccer Mom/Hybrid/Cheater lanes (aka HOV lanes) in California.

  • 24rockboy

    This is what I learned to drive a stick shift and I have absolutely fallen in love with this car.

  • KM

    2001 VW Jetta TDI 310,000 miles and still going.

  • Dennis123

    You hybrid fans, I have a co-worker had an issue with her hybrid not too long past 100k and she had to foot the bill. She won’t tell me other than it was enough to offset the gas she saved. Sounds scary enough to me. Hey, I was wondering how hard it is to find a hybrid mechanic if you aren’t around toyota/honda dealer and have no waranty, I wouldn’t know, I don’t own one of these or a TDI? I know a diesel is a normal thing around the garages so in the long run it kinda sounds the safer bet because I drive my cars forever. By the way I’m actually currently looking for an economic car and I’m still up in the air about which to get so opinions are welcome. Reliabilty is a nonissue for me, I ‘ve only really driven Chevrolet and these “unreliable” vehicles got me 200-300k miles with very few problems and were sold running, so a “reliable” car could only be better to me. I’m sort of beginning to believe that “unreliable”=good and “reliable”=better (on somebody’s chart somewhere). Like buying tires, the kid upsells me to “better” and I really don’t notice a difference. And mpg, every vehicle mentioned here trumps my gas guzzling truck so I’m sure I’ll experience great satisfation no matter what. Well to the point(weighing my options), I’m mainly curious about repair options with the hybrids, and don’t respond with “they never break”. I’m really serious, if I buy it, I wanna know it can be fixed when something happens. I’m hard on cars and drive straight through the factory warranty in the first year or 2.

  • sonia.mike732

    woo it a fabulous car.


  • Syd

    I just bought a TDI last week and I. am. in. love.

    I decided to go automatic since I drive in traffic, and wanted to give my feet a break. It was hard for me to give up a manual, but I can still drive in manual mode, and when in drive it still FEELS like a manual. When I take my foot off the break I can feel the car downshifting. This car is not only a blast to drive, but it gets great gas mileage.

    Fitzgerald mall is where I got mine (for a great price), if you live in the area. Ask for Ed.


  • Eugene

    I bought a 2011 TDI golf about 2 weeks ago and love it. it is a fantastic car. In my personal opinion i would not buy a hybrid i have friends that own then and they dont seem all that happy driving them. On the other hand with the TDI golf it has a sophisticated sporty look and it is sports like with its suspension that comes from the GTI and the handling is amazing on it. One thing that the hybrids lack is torque i have heard people compare the honda crz with the TDI golf and sure 0-60 is close between them but when you look at the torque the golf kills the crz the golf has 236 ft of torque while the crz has 128 and thats the 6MT the auto has 123 torque. There is also the matter of the battery in the hybrids that thing wont last forever like any rechargeable battery you have to replace it over time because over time it will die completely and those things are not cheap to change. Also the 2011 TDI golf might seem small to some people on the outside once you look inside its pretty big all of my hybrid friends are so impressed with it they are sad that they ever bought a hybrid but thats my opinion on it.

    So if you want something that will be fuel efficient have lots of power look great and fun to drive go with the TDI you got the choice of VW or Audi but there is a third choice too. Mercedes has diesel to it will be more expensive but you get the big sedans in diesel like the E class and others but they call there diesel Blutech but im gonna stick with my TDI.

  • Zac

    75-120mph? How does that even constitute a mpg comparison with anything. Above 70mph fuel consumption starts to go up exponentially. My VW TDI gets like 64mpg on the highway at around 70mph. 45-50 in town. I know for a fact I get better mileage than a prius, my parents own a 2010 Prius V. We compare fuel mileage pretty often. I’m not for sure but TDI should have a lower operating cost as well. No tune ups. I’ve never done anything but change the oil and filters with the exception of an occasional suspension part or brake pads and thats after 9 years and 250k.

  • Gergg

    I bought a 2011 Golf TDI a few weeks ago….this is the best car I have ever owned, fun as heck to drive and 40-47mpg so far on city/hwy commutes of 100 miles/day…I LOVE this car. I traded in an Infinity G35 for this car and have zero regrets, yes the Infinity was faster, but this VW feels better, and with the torque it is a blast to drive. I test-drove some hybrids as well….boring!! I’m also concerned about the batteries in hybrids, not only for the replacement cost factors but the disposal/pollution comcerns too. Now I want another turbo diesel!!

  • Going for TDI #2

    I can’t compare the TDI with the new CRZ when it comes to driving since they weren’t an option for us when we went to test out the hybrids and the TDI, but I will say that the Prius and both Honda’s fell short when compared to the VW’s. Originally we were looking for a TDI Cup Edition Jetta since my wife was not going to be driving a mommy mobile station wagon till she saw the Sportwagen up close and took it for a drive. We’re seeing 40+ mpg on average with less then 10k on the clock with the Sportwagen which is impressive with her lead foot and 85+ mph driving habits. I have noticed that the average economy keeps creeping up the more mileage we put on the car and if I’m driving I can usually coax more then a couple extra miles out of gallon. Right now with gas climbing up to the $4 mark again I’m starting to think that the VW may just have to take the place of my Xterra for trips to Home Depot and weekend trips with the dogs since it has almost as much cargo room. I’ve recently increased my commute to over 80 miles round trip and as much as I like the X my wallet hates the gas pump. I’m pretty sure I want a hatch since I haul gear around pretty often and my puppy’s nose would be out of joint if she didn’t have something she could ride along in with her head out the window. The only question for me is do I go for the 2 door or 4 door Golf… another Sportwagen maybe?

  • Going for TDI #2

    I can’t compare the TDI with the new CRZ when it comes to driving since they weren’t an option for us when we went to test out the hybrids and the TDI, but I will say that the Prius and both Honda’s fell short when compared to the VW’s. Originally we were looking for a TDI Cup Edition Jetta since my wife was not going to be driving a mommy mobile station wagon till she saw the Sportwagen up close and took it for a drive. We’re seeing 40+ mpg on average with less then 10k on the clock with the Sportwagen which is impressive with her lead foot and 85+ mph driving habits. I have noticed that the average economy keeps creeping up the more mileage we put on the car and if I’m driving I can usually coax more then a couple extra miles out of gallon. Right now with gas climbing up to the $4 mark again I’m starting to think that the VW may just have to take the place of my Xterra for trips to Home Depot and weekend trips with the dogs since it has almost as much cargo room. I’ve recently increased my commute to over 80 miles round trip and as much as I like the X my wallet hates the gas pump. I’m pretty sure I want a hatch since I haul gear around pretty often and my puppy’s nose would be out of joint if she didn’t have something she could ride along in with her head out the window. The only question for me is do I go for the 2 door or 4 door Golf… another Sportwagen maybe?

  • becks66

    Test drove a Prius. The suspension on that thing will beat you to death in the potholed roads around my bankrupt city. It’s a Golf TDI for me. It is also way more refined than the Ford Fusion. The interior is just nicer in every respect for slightly less money.

  • crew_dog

    I wanted a sporty car that would return good milage. Test drove the CR-Z and it felt like an over weight pig, with an interior made by Tyco….felt cheap. Drove the Golf TDI and was like stepping into an audi at a vw price. Bought one the same day, this was a year and 23,000 miles ago. Still VERY happy made the right decision.

  • David

    I am getting a TDI Golf, either DSG or 6 speed. Just got a 2011 Sportwagen for my wife. I am going to run an MTM chip and exhuast, when they become available here through Hoppen motorsports, basically build my own GTD. I am keeping my S4 but for the skiing I do, I usually do not need quattro and the diesel mileage is great. The chipped diesel with exhaust will still get good mileage and I expect it will surprise some people with its performance. MTM aftermarket parts are pricey but well tested. If you want an appliance, by all means, get a Prius. Don’t think you can can KW coilovers for it, LOL. Also no battery replacement or disposal problems with the TDI. I have 218,000 miles on my heavily modded S4, if you choose VAG carefully and maintain, they will run pretty much forever.

  • Im

    I just bought a 2011 GOLF TDI….so excited. I love that it’s cute and little plus it handles well. Now I won’t have as much trouble parking as I did on my Audi A6. My husband can have his car back. BTW, we prefered the Golf to the A3 and hybrids weren’t even on our minds.

  • Topher

    Ok. I have read a lot of your reviews and comparisons to hybrids. I just want to let you know that I have had my 2010 Golf TDI 6spd for about 5 months now and have been steadily recieving 50-55mpg highway and 30-40 city. On average I recieve 47-48mpg at around 30% city / 70% highway.
    My only problem with hybrid cars is the nickel cadmium battery, which is a costly purchase along with a heavy polluter. Please take a minute and search for the Nickel plant in Canada. You really think your Prius is a more enviormentally friendly vehicle?

  • Erik

    Well, to put some of your facts straight. My girlfriend has a new 2011 golf TDI (4Door/ DSG). The vehicle was purchased for $22,400. With GA state tax/title/dealer fees it was $24,900 out the door. There are deals on TDI’s if you shop around (we lucked out with overstock.com). Anything comparable (with similar options/ amenities) was pushing 30k+. That’s over 5k in savings.

    I drive a 2010 GTI, and am every bit as impressed with her TDI – it’s quick, handles extremely well, and is far more poised in corners and weight transfers than anything in it’s price range. I have driven a fusion; it’s ok, but nothing that excited me. There’s far more body roll in the fusion, braking feels mushy, and the tdi feels far more sprightly (both in handling and acceleration/deceleration) on the highway. The 6 speed DSG w/ paddle shifters is a hoot, and the interior is on par with 30k+ cars (i.e. entry level audi/bmw). As far as options – her’s has the touchscreen, heated everything – really a well laid out interior w/ as many bells and whistles as one could want. With the slightly smaller dimensions of the TDI, you don’t need a backup camera to park…it doesn’t have that big bum that won’t fit in many spaces.

    This TDI CONSISTENTLY returns about 40mpg COMBINED. On the highway, in cruise around 65-70mph it pulls close to 50mpg. VW grossly underrates their diesels. I calculate my mpg using the trip odometer and # gallons at each fill up and average that over several fill ups. Driving it hard, I can’t get less than mid 30’s (combined), which is fantastic – you can have fun and return decent mileage. I’ve got plenty of friends with hybrids, and for city only, they’re great. On the highway, and as a ‘drivers car’ the TDI wins hands down in my opinion. If they ‘push’ their hyrbids (i.e. drive with a little zest) they shave 20mpg off their numbers instantly and are high 20’s low 30s at best. Not to mention, they hybrids simply aren’t as much fun to drive! As far as size – the TDI’s a compact car. Considering such, it’s crash results are amazing (IIHS results), and the amount one can carry in it is surpising (I can fit my 5 piece drums set in my GTI with seats folded down)….it does, also, seat four adults quite comfortably (this surprised me).

    One thing to note – if you’re about the environment – look into the total energy cost for the life cycle of the vehicle (hybrids really aren’t that eco friendly when you put all the pieces together – i.e. mining and production costs of batteries/ rare earth metals). In short, if you just want a city car – get a hybrid. They win in city driving hands down. If you ‘drive it’…go for the TDI – it’s a hoot to drive AND quite efficient. If you shop around, you can get one out the door for around 25k. It’s been done before…

  • jackjr

    All you hybrid guys must not have read the fine print or asked the dealer how much it cost to replace the batteries.

  • Anonymous

    My TDI Jetta get 54 mpg all day long at the speed limit.

  • AndrewNC

    Why not a TDI hybrid?? Would that not be the perfect car?

  • Anonymous

    We have a 2010 Jetta TDI automatic and we have always had one VW in the driveway. I live in Europe half the time literally and VW is light years ahead of all automobile/truck/bus makers bar none. We drive ours and have always put between 30 and 100,000 miles on them per year.

    They have three models smaller than the Jetta/Dora that are gas or diesel powered with three and two cylinder diesels with one getting 75+MPG’s combined and the other at 100 MPG’s combined. By the way they also have a 1 passenger 1 cylinder diesel death-trap headed for India and China that gets 250+MPG’s.

    The diesel Passat will be here this year and perhaps the Lupo. VW still allows the choice of engines there in Europe that range from their small turbo gas engines to the neck-snapping V-10 diesel that is 300+hp and 530+ ft pounds of torque.

    With their Phaeton you have these choices plus that 10 or 12 cylinder stump-puller gas engine that has been proven in the Bentley rated at well over 500 hp.

    They should bring their Caddy here as it would revolutionize the truck industry in America.

    Back to our Jetta. These numbers are all cruise-on, lubricants warm and dry roads. We live where it is flat and loaded with adult people and luggage it gets 38-42 MPG air-on at 70. At 55 air off it gets 57MPG. At 38-40 MPH air-off will do 65-69 MPG. I am currently seeking a chip to improve these number if that is possible needing to sort the wild claims out here.

    This car is capable of 900 miles on 14 gallons of fuel if we have to discipline ourselves in the future and slow way down. It is also designed to safely cruise @ 120MPH for hundreds of thousands of miles. That is 4,000 RPM’s with plenty left!

    Hybrids are here to stay and bring the future environmental issues with them creating more regulation and bigger government. These are vehicles that will be disposed of rather than maintained and few will see a life cycle of 150,000 miles due to costs to do the same at 15,000 miles per year.

    We have chosen to avoid this social experiment and stay with what works and has worked at 130 degrees and 30 below zero Fahrenheit.

  • erikaskis

    Just got a 2011 golf TDI. As one review mentioned – the Golf wins by a landslide in the fun-to-drive:MPG ratio. This car is so incredibly fun to drive. The interior is awesome (if you like European styling which I do), it feels quick (quicker than the 0-60 time suggests), and I love the sport-suspension. Getting consistently 40 mpg in the city, even though it is supposed to get 32, and I drive pretty aggressively. Had this car for 1 month now and I’ve noticed I’m getting better and better MPG.

    The Prius really doesn’t compare to the Golf – it’s like comparing apples with oranges. They are completely different, so I can see why people on both sides get so heated up about this subject. Our golf has none of the fancy-schmancy space-agey looking interior of the Prius, nor would we want it to. One driver described the Prius as an “experience”, not a car.

    In summary – golf TDI = fun!

  • jgrider

    Drove prius, insight, Fit, and Golf TDI.

    The Golf TDI is by for the most enjoyable of the group. It feels like a sporty hatch, but with unmatchable economy in that class. Definitely my road tripper of choice. The interior is surprisingly large, with more usable space than my old Outback wagon. The Golf is notably more fun to drive than the sportwagen, BTW.

    If i did mostly city stop-and-go commuting … definitely a hybrid. But for mostly highway driving, road trips, and some spirited curve work, there is not a better combination of ecomomy / fun / price available today.

    It all depends on what you want out of your car. City = hybrid. Mixed driving = Any TDI. Fun = Golf TDI.

  • Anonymous

    Own a 2011 TDI Golf and 2010 TDI Touareg. Both amazing vehicles. Flat out fun to drive, fast, and great gas mileage. I commute 204 combined miles a day, 5 days a week. The Golf is unbelievably comfortable. Never feel tired or stiff when stop. Getting 44-45 mpg 95% highway. And I love to accelerate every chance I get. The torque is awesome. Quick but very quiet. Had a 2.5 rabbit but performance doesn’t compare to the TDI. And the Touareg TDI. Well that’s another story. Not a SUV that compares except maybe the Q7 TDI but we have transfer case w 4 low and a lower payment. Go VW TDI!

  • Shane

    Thank you. But you’ve made some serious omissions, you forgot to mention the batteries and heavy metals your TDI isn’t dropping into landfills after the life cycle of the battery is up. And you forgot to mention the carbon released to ship those materials literally around the world one time to get them in the States. And you forgot to mention the part about diesels having the ability to burn more fuels than just diesel itself. Having said all that, nice car isn’t it?

  • John noonan

    I am not badmouthing your hybrids, so please do not badmouth my golf tdi. At 60mph I get 50+ mph on the highway and I get 38 mpg avg in the city. Not bad when my car can also take most other cars when accelerating from a stop light.

  • MeDotOrg

    Anecdotal feedback seems to suggest the EPA mileage rating system is tilted towards Hybrids. I rarely hear of Prius owners getting 60 mpg, but I often hear stories about diesels getting better mileage than the EPA says.

  • Anonymous

    I purchased a new 2011 Golf TDI 6 spd manual a few months ago. I drive 130 miles round trip to work each day, about 50/50 interstate and highway, and I am currently averaging 45-50 mpg. I average 75-80 mph on the interstate and 65-75 mph on the highway. My goal was to double the fuel mileage that I was getting with my Mazda V6, which was averaging 22-24 mpg under the same conditions. So the TDI doubled the fuel economy. I was not expecting all the other ‘perks’ when I started looking at the Golf. Personally, I could care less about city mileage given my daily commute. I looked at the Honda CRZ…I used to have a Honda CRX-hf and loved it. Plus I have owned other Honda models and Toyotas. But to be honest, the Golf blows away anything Honda has to offer. It’s absolutely true what people are saying over and over again about the Golf’s quality interior, superior handling, and zippy torque. One distinct advantage of the Golf that I have not heard as much about is the acceleration / torque at higher speeds. I have no problem passing other cars and trucks at interstate speeds (this was always a big problem with the Honda CRX – and an irritating downshift problem with the other automatic Hondas). It’s actually a great deal of fun to accelerate around other cars on interstate knowing full and well that at least some of the other drivers are wondering how this compact car is blowing by them. Every day I look forward to driving my Golf, and I am disappointed if a day goes by and I don’t drive it. I can’t say that about any other car that I have owned.

    If you want a car that gets great fuel mileage and puts a smile on your face every time you drive it – it’s the Golf TDI hands down (over hybrids and several non-hybrids).

  • Towking

    I have 2 jetta tdi 1 sedan and 1 sports wagon and now I’m getting the new golf tdi not to found of the new jetta I love these cars they have a great ride Handel like a sports car and look better than most hybrids out there i would never consider a hybrid one of the reason is I own a towing company the number one car towed the toyotas Prius !!! as far as I’m concerned diesel technology been around forever I have 270k on one of my jettas and still runs strong all with just normal maintenance i also have a buddy that has a 2001 golf back in europe pushing 500 k everybody has the right to there own choice but I still believe most of the people have a misconception of the diesel motors beside the fact that the hybrids cost more up front u also have to look at the long term cost they get expense wait till the batteries have to be replaces or the electronics start going bad

  • John Eigenseher

    Boy, you could tell this review was written by a hybrid lover. Opinions are one thing, but this review has no true comparison between the performance of the Golf TDI and a hybrid. Yet, according to the article the hybrids outperform the Golf. Test any hybrid under the same conditions (high speed driving) as you did the Golf and tell me your results. I also see you didn’t test 0-60, 60-0, 1/4 mile, or skidpad tests. All of which the Golf would handily hand any hybrids their ass on. I take that back. You probably did test, but didn’t want to so any of the Golfs strengths. If you would have shown those results, your findings may be still be more bias to the hybrids, but at least I would respect you a little better. Call a spade a spade. Hybrids are appliances with no driving appeal whatsoever. They are a interim technology that will, most likely, be replaced. I am not a hybrid lover, but that does not mean they don’t have their place. I will never fault anyone for buying one, but they are not for me. They only thing hybrids and TDIs have in common is better fuel mileage compared to gasoline engines. That is all. You might as well compare a hybrid to a muscle or sports car, and then fault them for not getting the same mileage as a hybrid. The Golf is a perfect middle ground for people wanting a pleasurable driving experience, along with very respectable mileage. Give the Golf its props where they are due.

  • Oni

    Can anyone tell me what ever happened to the GOLF TDI Hybrid…? I heard it was too expensive to mass produce… is that right..? or did VW just bucked under the pressure of Big OIL. What….?!! 71 mpg NO that can’t be until year 2017. So to give the masses or should I say Sheep the 42mpg to think there making a difference. CROCK…!

  • Jon

    I live in Portland Oregon, and all the TDIs I’ve seen have a $3,000 “Regional Charge” markup. Whats the deal with this BS??? I ran away from the car dealers as fast as I could because of this, so didn’t have an opportunity to ask… BS!

  • Jodi

    I have been looking for a new car for awhile. We have a Chevy Blazer, Mercedes ML500, Audi A4 Quattro, and a Mercedes SL500 (a few years old). We have test drove several cars because I am really tired of the poor gas mileage of our cars. Obviously you can guess, my husband and I are avid drivers. We like the gas pedal and the SL500 with it’s gas guzzling V8 will always be near to our hearts, it usually only comes out on nice sunny days.

    The car issue has come up because I have gone back to work and I’m spending about $130 or more a week on gas. I am tired of watching CNBC while getting ready for work and listening to traders running the price of oil up.

    I thought I was going to get the Passat TDI because I am kind of a car snob after all. A friend of ours was an engineer for the building of the plant in Tennessee. The new Passatt was here so we went in to take a look. At the dealership I realized the Golf was a smarter option for day to day driving, I already have a luxury SUV that can handle a large number of passengers. The Golf was way more attractive in person than on my computer screen AND it made me smile when I stomped the gas and felt the turbo kick in.

    I can say I never smiled when I drove the Pruis or Ford Fusion. I saw the sales guy gripping the side of the Golf, which made me smile too. Halfway through I asked my husband if he would like to drive it, he said, “Nope! Your smile says it all. It performed exactly like I expected.”

    So, we are selling the Audi and Blazer, we will be in to get our Golf shortly. Reading all the reviews on here is exactly what I expected. It is a great little car, far more impressive than the price tag reflects. I was quite happy with the automatic, the stick would be fun in my 20’s, now, not so much. The finish, quiet ride, and responsiveness was just awesome. I am really impressed. I was really impressed with the roominess, we both sat in the back just to see what the leg room was like and we sat in the front. Quite roomy.

    I’m sure the hybrids are fine, but they are expensive in every other way than just the fuel. We keep finding VW TDI’s online with 80,000 miles or more and they are nearly as much as a NEW ONE, which means it can hold it’s value. Crazy!! My next car will be a Mercedes or Audi Diesel and get rid of the ML500.

  • Tommaso Petrella

    Hybrid vehicles are not as green as everyone thinks. There is much pollution created mining, and building these batteries. Then you have transportation around the world that never gets included in the “big” picture. Then, you have to dispose of the old batteries. Yes they say they are disposed of properly, but it still takes space and more transportation, not to mention the pollution to recycle certain parts – yes, it causes pollution too. Then lastly, you have to charge the batteries sometimes, so this also adds to the pollution problem. Even if a hybrid gave you 100 mpg, it would be great for you, but not so great for the earth. So yes, hybrids are efficient – but when it comes to destroying our earth they are actually worse than any other vehicle. I know because I did a thesis at McMaster University. People are just blind. We have to see the whole picture, from manufacturing to the end of the vehicles life. Diesel is the way to go. Something interesting to know about diesel – You can use cooking oil that has been filtered and use that in your diesel. It will run just fine. I wouldn’t suggest it, but it goes to show it is a very flexible alternative for other types of fuel. Please – no more batteries!!!

  • Tommaso Petrella

    Where is my input!!!

  • CollinLeon

    I am looking for a car that I can use for in-town errands and to hand down to my daughter in 2 years when she goes off to college, so I test drove a Golf TDI 2-door with a manual transmission yesterday. As someone who has owned various sport cars and high powered SUVs and trucks, I would have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with the acceleration that the little diesel engine could accomplish. I would feel quite comfortable with being able to get up to freeway speeds on the entrance ramp before getting to the main lanes of the freeway. I looked down and saw that I was merging into the main lanes at 95 mph, so I really do not have a problem with the power in the little car. Seating is comfortable enough, most of the sport cars that I’ve owned have had tighter seating. I currently have a Porsche Cayenne Turbo and of course it is not a replacement for it in performance or hauling capacity, but for those errands where I don’t want to chance getting door dings from clueless shoppers or where I don’t need to project a certain image (e.g. business lunches, family reunions, etc), I think it might serve a purpose… At least until my daughter goes off to college… It’s not like I want to give her a *new* car to go off to college… Wouldn’t want to spoil her… Hell, my college car was an old VW bug that we put together from probably a half dozen or more differently years (6VDC electrical system). In fact, I wish VW had a means where it was possible to program the car to not be able to go above a certain speed so that I would feel more comfortable allowing my daughter to drive it periodically while she is still in high school.

  • rcpmac

    Don’t compare the fusion to the golf, compare it to the TDI Jetta. Fuel economy and price are about the same as the golf with even more roominess in this year’s design. The gas Jetta has Comparable space and gets 15% better mileage than the Fusion … and is $4,000 cheaper!

  • CastIron

    The unsubstantiated statement that a Prius will do 130mph while returning 40-45 mpg is laughable at best.

  • Top Gear

    I laughed pretty hard when I read that. Top Gear, while not scientific, did a test of spirited driving between a diesel BMW and a Prius. The BMW ran rings around the Prius and achieved far greater FE numbers. The best part of diesels is the real world mpg’s over the lofty government tests. People ask me “why did you get the most expensive VW when you could have gotten the Elantra for $3k cheaper?” The fact that the real world mpg’s for the Elantra is 33 to 35 where as I’m seeing 47 in my Golf TDI easy.

  • 2011GolfTDIGuy

    I purchased a 2011 Golf TDI at the end of July and have been very impressed thorugh the first 1000 miles. I set out to purchase a small sporty car and was considering the Subaru WRX, the Mazda Speed 3 and the VW GTI. I really liked the GTI and on a visit to my local VW dealer to try and make a deal on a GTI, I came across a TDI, took it for a test drive and the rest is history. While the TDI isn’t as fast as the GTI, it is a a blast to drive and handles just as well while returning amazing fuel economy numbers. I’ve started a blog to share my TDI experience (good or bad). If you’re considering a TDI check it out at:


  • Joe

    Found myself stopping In Reno to get a price on a Golf tdi. Whacked out sales “Boy” Told me they only had 2 four door TDI Golfs and they were $35,000. I wonder if Volkswagon America knows how screwed up these dealers are with the pricing. What a turn off! I walked away instantly. SCREWY!

  • Michael S.

    Purchased my 2012 Golf TDI in Portland, OR on August 19th. The dealer had marked up the price by $7,000. However, we payed only the $24,400 price. Considering that others have paid far more than this for 2010’s and 2011’s, and that TDI’s are in great demand, I felt we got a good deal.

    Now, what are my impressions of this vehicle over the past three weeks? From one who still owns a GTI and have owned several VW’s over the years, this car is the best out of all of them. Love the new suspension. We took a roadtrip the weekend after our purchase and averaged 45.3 mpg. Went 600 miles before the fuel light came on. After steady city driving and almost 1,000 miles, still averaging about 42 mpg. The handling and feel of this car is as good as any Audi, BMW or Mercedes I’ve ever driven. And it is tight. Like a vault. Not a buzz, clatter, or squeak. Anytime. Anywhere. Goes over bumps in the road as if they’re not there. And what a suspension! Much better than my ’02 GTI! Have only gotten on it a couple times, but that incredible torque is pretty satisfying!

    This car is the most refined vehicle I’ve ever driven. The interior and exterior is perfect, with perfect paint, seam lines, etc. I can spend three hours or more in those seats and feel comfortable the whole time. When I drive a Ford Escape hybrid at work, after just 1/2 hour in those seats, I feel stiff afterward. VW simply has done their homework and made a GREAT product here. I have an ear to ear grin every time I drive it! I cannot imagine that a hybrid could be better than this. And considering that you have to replace batteries periodically, which can’t be cheap and can’t be good for the planet, well I think the diesel is the way to go. Awesome car and I’m thrilled that we made this purchase. When the 2002 GTI wears out, I suspect we’ll get another VW diesel (either Golf or Jetta).

  • DennisF

    Does anyone have experience with the Golf TDI on mountain snowy roads. I am considering buying this car and while the comments here are mostly very positive, bobody has mentioned the winter handling characteristics and I live in the great smoky mountains where in winter we drequently have 10-12 inches of snow on the county roads. Thanks for any input.

  • Jessica

    I am interested in the Golf TDI, possibly used. So, questions:
    -As posters are noting that the mileage improves after the first 10,000 miles, can anyone weigh in on how much mileage improves in the automatic?
    -Does the automatic with the manual option perform as well as the manual when it’s in manual mode(Did I read that correctly, that such an option exists?)?
    -Does anyone know if a particular year was a better (or worse) car?
    -Also, I’ve heard that VW’s can be maintenance nightmares, but that Golfs are generally better – if anyone validate/debunk that I’d be grateful.


  • Anonymous

    Ford manufactures a 60+ mpg diesel that is not sold in USA market.

  • Turk9591

    Ford sells direct injection diesels in Europe, has for years, there focus there is a big hit with this engine, I think they only don’t import it to us because of ties to big oil, shame on ford and others I’m getting a vw!

    Batteries ruin the long term investment in a hybrid and driving with all that weight I bet the handling won’t compare forget the durability of the diesels for a guy like me who will run the car to 400,000 mi, bet NO hybrids will ever hit that…

  • chancey stanley

    I just purchased a pre-owned 2011 VW Golf with 9000 miles on the clock. I saved a substantial amount of money by not buying brand new, and I won’t suffer the new car depreciation. Additionally, the car still has 2 years or 26,000 miles of bumper to bumper warranty remaining. And, because the car was certified, VW gave me another 2 years or 24,000 miles on top of that. That takes away some of the worry associated with an expensive repair early on. Initial quality seems very good. No noticeable squeaks or rattles. Fit and finish is quite nice. The diesel engine is so quiet, I’ve stalled it two or three times, because I couldn’t hear it. Yes, it’s a stick. I am averaging 50-52 mpg. Even better than EPA estimates! In a nutshell, I love this car. Keep in mind that this is coming from someone who normally drives a 2008 F350 crew cab 4X4 compound turbo diesel that weighs close to 10,000 lbs and makes over 650 hp and 1200 lb ft of torque. I needed something smaller, lighter, and more economical, yet still fun to drive. I think I got it! Now if only VW would offer leather as an option. Sigh…

  • Brewerer
  • world travler

    Hybrids are fine, but ugly and are they really that green? 6′ 4″ 250lbs I own a 2011 golf TDI traveled from Scott air base to FT Hood Tx, 42.5mpg comfort (exc) ride (exc) everything is excellent looking to boost horsepower to 170 and torque to 250 and see my mpg this car is just fun to drive I dont even look at the fuel anymore. PS your hybrids handle like a mod -T! And theres a big difference between the jetta tdi and golf tdi in the handling department and feel and do your research all car companies have diesel cars they just dont sell them here in the states only VW does?

  • Randall H Smith

    Here is an engineer’s perspective on hybrids vs. diesels. Hybrid engines are a design engineer’s wet dream. They are very complicated and have alot of room for elaborate design…keeps an engineer employed. On the other hand, diesel engines are elegantly simple. The engine is over 100 years old but is still very relevant. Any mechanic can work on a diesel. That cannot be said about hybrids. Most people don’t want diesels because they associate diesels with noisy pickup trucks and 18 wheelers. It is this reason that hybrids even exist. A good comparison between hybrids and diesels is:


    It is an apples-to-apples comparison review; the first I have seen. Jetta/Golf TDI to Prius is an apples-to-oranges comparison. TDI vs Prius is what keeps this website popular because the comparison is subjective.


    What year is your tdi?

  • Michael S.

    Well, as promised, we bought another new TDI from our local Portland, OR dealer, this time for my wife. We test drove the new Passat TDI; what an incredible car that is with loads of interior room, and we wanted the one we test drove. But it was already presold! We couldn’t find even one Passat TDI SE available. So, my wife’s second choice was to get a black VW Golf TDI four-door with a manual transmission, just like my red one. It was important for us to act when we did on the final day of the year, as the dealer had a customer for life program which includes free tires for life and the offer ended on Dec. 31. So after a search, one was finally located from the Bellingham, WA dealer and we took delivery a couple days later. We were told it was the last four-door manual available in Oregon and Washington! Again, we just love it! Windows are now tinted and that black one is a real looker! Took it on a beach trip for our anniversary and achieved 47 mpg round trip following the speed limits here in Oregon. I think I know why those in their hybrids go flying by us on the highway, lawbreakers that they are. They can’t wait to get home so they can get out of their cars! Meanwhile, we’re kicking back, enjoying comfortable seating and a quiet environment listening to our satellite stereo not even worried about when we get home (or a speeding ticket). On a short trip between Newport and Depoe Bay, we achieved 50 mpg. Again, the vehicle performed flawlessly, is super quiet and just a joy to drive. Everything just works right! And we’re not some Toyota or Honda clone. In my red TDI, which now has almost 6,000 miles on it, in city driving the very worst I’ve gotten is 38 mpg and that’s with our cold, wet weather. I’m consistently getting about 40 mpg with a city/highway mix. My wife is thrilled with hers now and what a source of pride it is to have two 2012 Golf TDI’s in the garage, knowing that we have two fun cars to drive for many, many years to come with great fuel economy! Practical, yet with a bit of an exotic German edge! Cool!

  • Steve Markman

    Less than a year ago i test drove nearly every high-mileage small car in the United States that can be bought for $25,000 or less. It was really no contest. The Volkswagen Golf TDI was simply the most refined and fun-to-drive of the bunch. Approximately 10,000 miles into the ownership of the car, there have been no regrets and i would buy it again. I think that VW could import and sell more of these cars in the U.S. with the right marketing and education, as i have run into a number of people who won’t consider buying a diesel-powered car because they are convinced that hybrid technology is more advanced. My advice is the same to everyone – go drive all of the cars on the market of similar function and pricetag. You’ll learn fact from fiction a lot faster than reading endless blogs on the internet, and end up buying a car that you are pleased with. That’s what i did.

  • gloria

    Skip the batteries, get a TDI. (I love that.)

    This thread is like the car version of the debate of paper over plastic at the supermarket. Basically bring your own bag, is the solution. As far as diesel vs hybrid, live close to work, walk to work or bike to work, shop local, have a garden.. us americans are way too in love w/ the environment destroying industry that makes cars.. no matter what kind of car. Even hybrids destroy the planet, later rather than immediately.. where are you going to put those dead batteries??? Even if we’re not creating more pollution w/ our cars by driving a hybrid or diesel, we’re not actually helping the planet. We don’t just need to not damage the planet, but also repair the extreme damage that’s already been done.
    Sounds more like we’re (me included) just feeling good about our car purchases, to justify our love affairs w/ cars.. (i.e. “the look, the feel, the ride..”) You really wanna help the environment then live close to work, eat from your own garden, and don’t own a car at all, ride a bike and use public transit only, and motivate others to do the same.. That’s true sustainability in an urban world. (I understand this is probably the wrong thread for this rant.)

    Just for the sake of the long term undetermined damage to the environment by the dead hybrid batteries yrs down the road is why I lean toward TDI!!! :).. (And w/ TDI there’s other fuel options.. biodiesel, etc.)

  • paulv

    I used to work at a ski resort and drove to work everyday in my 2002 Golf TDI so I know a little bit about this. Get yourself some good snow tires and the car will do great in the snow. I used to pass stuck 4wD trucks with my Golf ! The only negative is that the ground clearance on the Golf isn’t very high so you have to watch out for high snow and big blocks of ice, but otherwise the car does very well in snow, just remember to get some good snow tires in the winter.

  • Elindo

    Does anyone have any info. on the long-term reliability of these diesel engines??? I want one, but if there is a greater chance of having problems in the future, I will just buy the 2.5 gas engine. Any input would help me, please.

  • Elindo

    Does anyone have any info. on the long-term reliability of these diesel engines??? If there is a higher chance of having problems in the future, I will just buy the 2.5 gas engine. Please help!!!

  • chriss

    Look up the top gear side by side comparison of hybrids (prius) and a bmw m5. They had a prius drive a course and the m5 follow behind at equal speed. The m5 got better mileage! Why because hybrids aren’t meant to be driven. See how much you like your prius when you hit 120k miles and have to replace the batteries. My vw has 218k and gets the same gas mileage it did years ago and i can drive it at 75.

  • derrick

    So what hybrids are running in the 250-500k-1m mile ranges???? You look at any TDI forum you will find a large amount of TDI’s running 300,400,500k miles and more. The diesel engine has a much better life span then lets say a battery pack. People are tending to hold on to cars longer. Do you think 1st and 2nd gen hybrids will have the following and fuel economy that VW and its TDI have developed?


    P.S. I have seen several Toyota Prius doing 80 and 90 on the PA turnpike. Hats off to those brave souls.

  • Anonymous


  • tapra1

    he Golf TDI is not as squeaky clean on emissions as the cleanest hybrids. Moreover, in terms of efficiency, the Golf TDI falls 8 mpg short of the Prius’s highway mileage rating, and 20 mpg in the city.CWDev

  • Anonymous

    Yeah the Prius is great, you just have to overlook the following:
    1. The prius uses batteries with strip-mined toxic metals that will eventually wind up in a landfill after they can no longer be recycled. 2. My Golf gets 50 mpg hwy every day, that’s better than a Prius. 3. The Prius does drive like a golf though…an electric golf cart that is…and it looks like a car designed by nerds for nerds. Other than that the Prius is great!

  • Ken Brown

    Nelson, My guess is that the Fusion Hybrid would be hard pressed to reach 120mph. I’m sure the 4 banger in the Ford puts out less HP than the VW Diesel, plus I’ll bet it weighs more with the batteries it lugs around. If you want a real idea of what diesels can do in the real world, try Top Gear (BBC) and watch the videos of the hosts driving from Switzerland to England on one tank. Even the Jag Diesel was over 50 mpg, the VW and Subaru were over 70. Why do we even need Hybrids?

  • jason kenne

    My wife has a Jetta Wagon TDI, she gets 40 to 42 consistantly and she drives the car, not putt around. on a 2000 mile trip with 3 people and luggage and got 51.7mph. It was the worst trip i ever made. Felt like my bladder was going to explode. Not saying the hybrid is not the awnser. Just believe simpler is better no extra batteries, no charging, no extra electronic wiring, and not so boxy little designs. My Wife loves this car and will not give it up even for a nicer brand car. P.s. this 120 thing doesn’t matter. Hybrid seam to be a a political effort from the dealers to make them feal good. chevy volt sucks and everyone knows it, but even the government is in on its advertisement. I have only seen one on the road. Sorry if you drive volt, it is just an example. The Volt seamms to be engineering failure in all aspects and should only be used for the R&D of the next gen… My 03 one tone desiel gets 22 on the hwy yet the 1/2 tons now gas bearly get that. OH ya it has 140,000 on it. toy hauler and toys at 14 mpg. Emagine if they put a 4 clyder turbo desiel in a half ton and getting 30 to 40 mpg.

    People are hung up on Gas. I do not know why. Everyone else in the world understand, we americans cant seam to understand..

  • David

    My ’00 Golf TDI has consistently achieved 48mpg (combined city/hwy) since I bought it new in ’99. Did you do anything to your engine to get your higher mpg’s?


    I just had my first major work done on my year 2000 Golf TDI… And it was not technically the engine, it was the water pump. I have over 150,000 miles on this car and it still runs great!! Take care of the TDI and it will take care of you. At 48mpg, I will continue to drive mine for another 100,000 miles, at least! Hope that answers your question.

  • Gary W

    I’d echo the previous comments about the Golf TDI being fun to drive with good handling and a quality interior. I rode with a friend while he test-drove a Prius V, and I found the seat cushioning to not be that comfortable, and the ride harsh. And it was a bit slow. I know a lot of people love the Prius, and I’m sure it’s a fine, reliable car, but it feels like an economy car, while the Golf does not. Just be sure you test drive and pay attention to the details to be sure it will fit your lifestyle.

    @Gloria: As for living close to work, in this area, it’s very built-up and a bit out of my budget to afford an old, small house that is close. (Nice houses would be out of the question.) They could tear down homes and build more apartments, but that’s a different style of living, and I have to admit that I prefer living in a house with some room than a small apartment. Most areas in the US are too spread out to depend on commuter trains. On top of all of that, I’m not so sure that the environment is all that ruined because of my impact, at least vs. living in an expensive apartment. And how do I build a garden in the city if I can’t afford something with a yard? Out here in the ‘burbs, we did try planting a garden, and the deer and rabbits enjoyed it. Oh well!

    But is that really a side-topic? If you really want to reduce your impact to the environment, how many compromises must you make? At least with the Golf TDI, it doesn’t seem much of a compromise to conserve a lot of fuel.

    Averaging about 38MPG on my commute.

  • justmdoss

    Hybrid lovers, at the end of the day my TDI is more fun to drive and i’ll still be driving my 2011 in 10 years well into 200,000 miles while you’re buying your third hybrid. And, oh by the way, where will the other two hybrid’s be? Landfill, except for the toxic batteries of course.

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  • love my tdi

    I drove my five door hatch from north dakota to new mexico and back in five days, I’m taking four of my climbing buddies and all our gear to Wyoming about seven hours from now and I love…LOVE my golf. It absolutely eats miles, it’s comfortable, it gets great mileage (50 in town if you drive it like a diesle not an idiot, 42 on the freeway doing 80), it looks awesome, and the interior features (seats, audio, ect…) are great! It’s a born road trip-mobile. I don’t know how the two-door hatch stacks up because I’ve never driven one, but the five-door is flat out fantastic.

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  • Phil

    The EPA driving cycles are not terribly accurate reflections of actual driving, unfortunately, and they seem to be especially inaccurate for diesels.

    The older VW Golf TDI was rated 42 city, 49 highway. I’ve never gotten below 55 on the highway, and usually 60 or more, even when doing 80mph with the AC on and a trunk full of heavy equipment.

    My guess is that the EPA driving cycle assumes the engine gets to optimal operating temperature instantly, and that driving 2 miles on the highway gives the same fuel economy as driving 20 miles on the highway. That’s much more true for gas engines than diesels, which, as you note, do relatively poorer in city driving.

    If you’re going to drive 2 miles at a time, get a hybrid, because they’re built for that. If you’re going to drive 20+ miles at a time at highway speed, a diesel will probably do much better than the EPA rating.

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  • Rcoish

    Vik. I’d like to know that kind of value you’d get on resale once you hit 100,000 kms on that hybrid. Lol

  • Rcoish

    I’m not knocking hybrids at all, but why a hybrid when there’s a TDI out there that can get you approx the same milage, longer life span, far better re-sale value.

    I just purchased a golf MK6 TDI and the pep and handling in this car Is superb.
    12 year warranty on the body and I opted to the extended warranty (cost $2500.00) for 200,000kms or 10 years (full warranty) I’d like to see a hybrid manufacture offer that.
    That to me shows VW stands behind their product.

    PS I average 52MPG.

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