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2011 Volkswagen Golf

Overview
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2011 Volkswagen Golf Review

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Volkswagen's entry into the compact hatchback segment, the popular and well-known Golf, is a little bit pricier than its competition, but it also offers a level of refinement, handling and features few in its class can match. The 2011 Volkswagen Golf also offers one thing no competitor can match: A quick and fuel-efficient diesel engine. Freshly restyled in 2010, the 2011 model carries on with all the tell-tale markings that link it back through decades of Golf and Rabbit design. Available in two- or 4-door variants, the 2011 VW Golf combines safety, economy and affordability in a rather inconspicuous car that is loaded with-as VW used to put it-Fahrvergnügen.

You'll Like This Car If...

With the 2011 Volkswagen Golf you get a car that feels solid, has Audi-like interior fit and finish and sells for well under $20,000. Fuel economy fanatics will love the TDI model whose diesel engine gets an estimated 42-mpg highway.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If your idea of a small car includes a small price tag, the 2011 Volkswagen Golf's window sticker will come as quite a shock. Long-term reliability, not necessarily a VW strong suit in the past, is as yet undetermined.

What's New for 2011

Changes for the 2011 Volkswagen Golf are minor. All Golf trims can now be equipped with Bluetooth hands-free cell-phone connectivity. Additionally, the standard audio system now features a single-CD player.

Driving the Golf

Driving Impressions The 2011 Volkswagen Golf may be classified as a compact but, from the driver's seat, it feels as solid and surefooted as any mid-size sport sedan. In virtually...

every driving situation we felt nothing but confident our Golf could handle whatever we asked of it. Thanks to the Golf's Euro-tuned suspension, which is firmed up even more on the TDI, sharp turns were conquered with little fuss while bumps and road blemishes were absorbed as easily as a sponge soaks up a spill. The TDI model's impressive torque permits exhilarating off-the-line starts, although first-time manual-transmission diesel owners will probably need some time to adjust to the engine's relatively lower 5000-rpm redline. At highway speeds - and we're talking Autobahn here - the Golf is most impressive. If the Golf twins have one weak spot, it's their manual transmissions. Feeling somewhat rubbery and with long throws, the Golf's 5- and 6-speed manual gearboxes feel antiquated, especially when compared to the marvelous DSG 6-speed automatic.

The TDI Powertrain
It's cleaner, greener, and meaner all the way around. If you can afford it, the TDI is the way to go. Expect to be happy at the pumps thanks to its 40-plus miles per gallon efficiency. Expect to be happy on the roads with its 236 pound-feet of torque.

Cold Weather Package
This package includes heated seats and heated windshield-washer nozzles. Both features make enduring cold climates a little easier. It's an excellent option for those who live in places where winters can be harsh.

2011 Volkswagen Golf Details
Interior

Inside the 2011 Volkswagen Golf is an interior unlike any in the segment. Unusually wide, the Golf excels in the areas of head and shoulder room, although the rear seat can be a bit cramped with four adults aboard. The Golf's materials, fit and finish are superb, and its available technology, such as the TDI's navigation and Dynaudio options, is an unexpected treat. The Golf's front bucket seats feature wide side bolsters and angled seat bottoms, mimicking the excellent sport seats found in the GTI. A thick-grip 3-spoke steering wheel greets the driver and, on TDI trims, is equipped with a multifunction control pad that operates the audio and information functions. From a practical standpoint the 60/40-folding rear seats, along with the hatch configuration, make the Golf part people carrier, part mini-cargo van.

Exterior

Although it still rides on the previous-generation Golf platform, the 2011 Volkswagen Golf 's crisper lines create a compact car that is a bit more sporty and a tad more sophisticated than its competition. The two-box design (one box for the engine, the other for passengers and cargo) is maximized by the Golf's square, upright design. VW's new 3-bar grille featuring horizontal black louvers looks sharp on the Golf, as do the TDI trim's oval fog lamps and available HID headlamps. Around back, a large wide hatch with a rear wiper swings open to reveal a low lift-over ledge leading to a spacious cargo hold. Golf 2.5 models roll on 15-inch wheels and tires, while the TDI has more aggressive 17-inchers.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Notable standard equipment on the 2011 Volkswagen Golf begins with a 5-speed manual gearbox on the 2.5 two-door; the 4-door 2.5 has a 6-speed automatic, while the TDI features a 6-speed manual. For comfort and convenience the Golf boasts heated side mirrors, cruise control, remote keyless entry, an 8-speaker CD stereo and 8-way manual seat adjusters up front, including lumbar support. And for cargo versatility, the rear seats allow a 60/40-split fold. The TDI comes with fog lights, a sport suspension, 17-inch wheels, Bluetooth, a touch-screen sound system featuring satellite radio and an in-dash 6-disc CD changer. Both offer MP3 readability. The Golf's safety is enhanced by six airbags, electronic stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes (ABS) and Brake Assist.

Optional Equipment

Top options on both Golf models - the 2.5 and the TDI - include a 6-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic (DSG on TDI), power sunroof, Bluetooth connectivity and a Cold Weather Package, which includes heated seats and heated windshield-washer nozzles. Options exclusive to the TDI are a touch-screen navigation system with 20-gigs of music storage, a 300-watt Dynaudio Lite premium sound system and high-intensity xenon headlamps. Rear side airbags for outboard passengers are available only on 4-door Golf models.

Under the Hood

The 2011 Volkswagen Golf is powered by one of two capable engines: The 2.5-liter in-line 5-cylinder or the 2.0-liter in-line 4-cylinder turbodiesel (TDI). The 2.5 produces a healthy 170 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. Intended specifically for the U.S., the 2.5 makes good power and is a nice fit for the American style of driving. The efficient and powerful TDI engine, the same found in Volkswagen's acclaimed Jetta TDI, is surprisingly quiet and clean. Its specialty is its low-end grunt, measuring 236 pound-feet of torque. That's a lot of acceleration output for such a small car; then add to that performance an EPA fuel-economy rating of 30 mpg city/42 highway with an automatic and the TDI is a winner on both fronts.

2.5-liter in-line 5-cylinder
170 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
177 lb-ft of torque 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/33 (manual), 24/31 (automatic)

2.0-liter in-line 4-cylinder direct injection turbodiesel (TDI)
140 horsepower @ 4,000 rpm
236 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-2,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 30/42 (manual), 30/42 (automatic)

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Buying this car?

2011 Volkswagen Golf Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 92 Ratings for the 2010 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.3/10
    Quality
    9.5/10
  • Reliability
    9.3/10
    Performance
    9.6/10
  • Comfort
    9.3/10
    Styling
    9.2/10

A Practical, Fun To Drive, and Safe Car.

By on Saturday, May 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 790

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, practical, premium interior, fast"

Cons: "No USB ports, Better transmision feel/shifts"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

My 2015 Volkswagen Golf TSI S Four Door

"I've had my 2015 Volkswagen Golf TSI Four door with a six speed automatic for almost three weeks now, so I can't say too much as far as reliability goes yet. What I can say is that as someone who has driven almost every car in the compact car segment as part of my job (I work for a rental car company), I can say that my Golf smokes the base models of those cars in driving experience, ride quality, practicality, and looks. The driving dynamics about the Golf are what drew me to it the most. It handles better than most of the "hot" versions of other compact cars, and its the base models. The handling is neutral with very composed body roll, so you can chuck it into corners and cruise back-roads in it and have an absolutely great time. This is all while having a suspension setup that simultaneously soaks up all but the most jarring and wide pavement cracks while providing great cornering feel and stability. The back end is also very planted for such a light rear, and can easily dance around any corner it wants to. It's not a sporty car, but it sure behaves like one when thrown into a turn. The power-train is second to none. The 1.8L Turbo has all the power you want to pass anything you want on the highway, and the engine note is only apparent when you really push the accelerator. The rest of the time the engine is relatively quiet. The six speed automatic is a near perfect transmission, my only complaint being my preference for it to perhaps be a bit more soft at lower speeds. Sport mode doesn't seem to make a much noticeable difference so I just shift with the paddles when I get a chance. So far I'm averaging 30 MPG combined on 87 Octane regular, which is just what I was expecting and am very happy to meet. Practicality is awesome. My 6'2" stepfather was able to sit in the back seat without issues. The leatherette seats are so good you won't notice they're fake, an opinion seconded by a longtime German car mechanic in my family who has driven several generations (including the most recent) of Mercedes-Benz S class. The air conditioning system gets perfect air blasts and is very flexible, and defrosts the mirrors fast enough. The movable trunk floor is a great feature. I've already moved two beach chairs in the Golf without having to put the seat down, and I had no rear visibility issues. The technology in the Golf is second to none. Volkswagen's touch screen is not the largest I've seen in a compact, but it is hands down the best as far as responsiveness and graphics. Syncing my phone took very little time whatsoever, the sound system is amazing, and the number of buttons and dials is helpful when the touch screen is finnicky. My only gripe with the technology package is the lack of a proper USB port, which is rather irritating but not a deal breaker. Perhaps make the transmission a bit better at slow speeds and add some USB ports. But other than those issues, I could not be happier with my 2015 Volkswagen Golf. There is no car out there that I would consider buying for the money."

45 people out of 73 found this review helpful

My 2015 Volkswagen Golf TSI S Four Door

Everything That I Wanted

By on Friday, May 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Gas mileage, good styling, comfortable"

Cons: "Manual Day/Night rearview mirror"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

My car & the Battleship North Carolina

"I was researching for a new car that was small, comfortable, drives well, and fuel efficient I didn't think that I could find them all in one car. VW invented the hatchback and this new model shows the experience. The inside is comfortable and gives the feeling of a luxury car . The outside is sporty and is very pleasing to the eye. I didn't know what to expect with a diesel. I waited until the coldest morning of the year (15F) and asked to start the car cold. It turned over w/o any problems and drove well. I love my diesel! It's responsive, smooth and is getting a little over 50 mpg. The only thing I found different is that the diesel is more efficient then a gas engine, so it takes about 4 times the distance to warm up to a point where the heater is issuing heat in the winter. The heated seats, that I didn't think I needed, feel great on those days. It's everything I was looking for and I am enjoying everything about it."

9 people out of 13 found this review helpful

My car & the Battleship North Carolina

never had such value, mileage and performance

By on Wednesday, May 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,700

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"mileage over 44000 miles has averaged 35 in town and 42 on long trips and the power of a V6 it is simply amazing."

4 people out of 8 found this review helpful

It's a great drive! But......

By on Saturday, April 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Like being in a roller coaster around turns!"

Cons: "Quality control"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"I've had quality control issues. Hatchback opener has broken. Gas flap has snapped off. Leather seat bolster wearing through after 2 years. Little things that make a difference."

14 people out of 25 found this review helpful

Safe, Reliable, holds Value!

By on Friday, April 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Everything about this car is wonderful"

Cons: "Nothing"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This car was my first new car purchase as a young professional. I did my research and thank goodness for that! This car has always been reliable, I now have a child and feel confident it is safe for her and my family. Best decision. Plus it has a great sporty appearance."

22 people out of 36 found this review helpful

A fine, snug little car.

By on Saturday, March 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "engineering, build, handling, fun to drive"

Cons: "slow derfroster, heater controls"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Reliable, fun to drive, excellent fit and finish. A bit tight inside, especially in winter attire. Radio and CD have fine sound. Good snow handling with winter tires. Downside: Diesel takes 10 minutes to warm up in winter, so slow defroster. Heat controls are tiny, hard to read and not intuitive. Diesel fuel costs can cancel out higher mileage ratings."

19 people out of 38 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?