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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.
Favorite Features

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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2011 Volkswagen Golf Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.3
Out of 10

Based on 66 Ratings for the 2010 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.3/10
    Quality
    9.5/10
  • Reliability
    9.3/10
    Performance
    9.6/10
  • Comfort
    9.4/10
    Styling
    9.3/10

Great Value

By on Monday, March 31, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,400

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
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "German engineered, fun, practical"

Cons: "Can't think of any"

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

"I bought this car new in 11/13 and have 3400 miles. So far the car, despite it's size, has proven to be very capable. We use it as a daily driver, mostly in town (2 mile commute) and it is getting about 23-24 city. We have had the occasion to take a couple of extended trips and can get 30-31 highway with the cruise and "speed limit" (V1 radar detector is always on). Went to Palm Springs loaded with 2 sets of golf clubs w/pull carts intact, luggage, cooler and had plenty of room with the rear seats folded down. The tiptronic transmission is flawless and is actually the mode of choice in our driving patterns. No, the 2.5L isn't the most powerful engine, but has proven itself to be more than adequate. Body integrity, driving comfort, handling, reliability are all consistent with German engineering expectations. There is a reason it's the #1 selling car in Europe. The Golf offers heated seats and a sunroof which were MUST HAVEs for my wife. All in all one of the best cars I have owned."

4 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Best vehicle ever!

By on Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,500

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: "Great price, fun to drive."

Cons: "small"

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

"It was my very first car I bought myself and also learned to drive standard. I couldn't ask for a better and more reliable car myself. It is great that the dealership does all maintenance for me and its free!"

14 people out of 19 found this review helpful

This is a Golf I'm proud of!

By on Saturday, February 08, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Torgue, MPG, FUN to drive, Styling."

Cons: "Price, GPS-screen elec NO realtime traffic/Pandora"

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

"I've had many VW's in my life, including 4 Jetta's, 3 bugs, an old school van and a 4Motion Passat, yet this is my 3rd Golf. I had a 1999 Golf TDI, and a 2005 GTI. Both were fun and nice to drive. Yet the new 2012 style, look, and overall quality is awesome! I'm not so much of fan of the GPS, as it is missing real time traffic and voice commands. To only have Sirius XM radio offered and NO Pandora or other FREE streams is SAD. Overall, this car RULES for MPG, torgue, looks, and styling it's a winner. Pricey overall, yet well worth the investment IF the longevity lasts as most diesels do. I'm shooting for the 1 million mile mark, after all I did get 500,000 miles out of my 1999 Golf diesel before selling it. Just get a Mark 6 instead of a 7 cause they're made in Germany."

best car for the money

By on Saturday, January 18, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,500

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: "fun to drive, sporty, practical, best MPG"

Cons: "more expensive, warranty could be better"

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

"While the TDI version of the Golf is more expensive it is SO worth it! I get 39 MPG on average and can reach MPGs of 45-50 on the highway! I can drive a round trip from Seattle to Spokane on one tank of diesel easily. The interior is flawless and beautiful, super well done. I can play my iphone through the bluetooth option, no plug in required, yet still have the option of USB if needed. Touch screen is so fun. The seats are comfortable and sporty. It drives so well, and with a six speed really has some get up and go! My seats fold down for maximum storage and are easy to operate. Safety is in the top of its class with multiple airbags. Having the four door option is great for my passengers and my future children/getting car seats in and out. I just wouldn't choose any other car! I love my Golf! Its practical and hold its value unlike any other hatchback"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

I have never loved a car like this before;

By on Friday, January 10, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 78,000

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: "a fun car to drive; still love it with 80,000 mile"

Cons: "DRL can be a problem when asked to turn off"

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

"Its my everything; very reliable; 43-50 miles to the gallon, Hugs the road; can move; I just love it!!!!"

Great Car!

By on Friday, December 06, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Performance, Gas Mileage, Fun to Drive"

Cons: "Don't love the electronics (stereo, bluetooth,etc)"

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

"I have been wanting some form of TDI since 2009 but was always apprehensive to buy a diesel due to the thought process of old school loud, smelly, slow diesel cars of the past. I started doing some research and what convinced me was a couple of road test reviews on Youtube. The build quality of this car is just like a typical German high end product. Solid as a tank. As for the drive this car moves! The torque is amazing I can pass cars with ease even high performance sports cars! Oh and by the way I do this and I still average close to 40 mpg in mixed mostly city driving. Yes diesel gas cost more per gallon than regular gas but think of the extra mpg and fun you get to have with this car! I have owned dozens of cars in my lifetime and this is one of my favorites! I highly recommend any VW/Audi TDI."

4 people out of 10 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?