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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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2011 Volkswagen Golf Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 72 Ratings for the 2010 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.4/10
    Quality
    9.5/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    9.5/10
  • Comfort
    9.4/10
    Styling
    9.3/10

Dull, dull and brilliantly dull

By on Saturday, May 31, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Dull, but brilliantly so"

Cons: "Dull, but that's the biggest con I can think of."

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

"The Golf 2.5 Base is my wife's car. It replaced her 12 year old Miata. Everything about this car is sensible or reasonable or both. Dependable, predictable, solid, reasonably economical, sensible price, sensible size, reasonably comfortable, reasonable stereo, reasonable servicing costs, reasonable looks, better than reasonable built quality. Reasonable performance if you can be bothered to go and find it. Just does everything it says in the brochure without any fuss or excitement. She hates buttons and it has the minimum. For example, Lights: on or off. That's it, 2 positions. She hates complexity, and there isn't any. Absolute wysiwyg,(the car and her) and she loves it. Dull but brilliantly so (only the car this time - not her). Probably everything she looked for in her spouse, and at least the car came through."

8 people out of 15 found this review helpful

I love driving this car.

By on Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 118,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Torque! MPG! Handling!"

Cons: "Cup holders suck."

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

"Kickass torque! Terrific mileage: average 40 mpg doing 70-75 on highways and often pushing it in town. Handling is fantastic: takes curves on the Taconic like a champ. Only quibble: mechanics. Several early problems, including a cylinder issue were covered by VW even well after warrantee expired. But no issues for over a year now.... In sum: I put on a lot of miles and I love that diesel!"

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Great Diesel Sipper

By on Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,300

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to Drive, Fuel up less often, lots of power."

Cons: "Price too high, Blue motion not available in USA"

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

"Compared to other cars I have driven among a fleet of cars, the handling of the 2011 VW Golf TDi is sporty and loads of fun to drive. As a daily driver in-town the MPG is not as high as hybrid but you will be passing those hybrids on the road. Out on the highway is where the fuel economy kicks in. It lost only one point for reliability because it required road-side assistance to jump the car 3 times, which was covered under warranty for the first 3yrs/36K miles which was all due to a faulty battery. Related to quality after service was conducted to replace a faulty cruise control switch the horn was put back in improperly. It is really embarrassing having your car involuntarily honk. The dealer rapidly repaired the issue and provided a loaner during the process. The interior surfaces are firm but the seats are a bit rough to the touch and could be softened up a bit. The road noise was a bit more than I'd like for a VW. Only thing related to convenience is the service location is rather far away and requires taking off during the work week for anything more than an oil change. More dealerships would be nice. The interior finishes are great but the seats are rough to the touch. I would have rather had leatherette as an option in this car. I do love this car!"

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Great commuter and highway cruiser

By on Friday, May 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fuel mileage, great on local 2-lane roads"

Cons: "Nearest dealer 50 miles away"

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

"Really a great little car. I've put 70,000 miles on mine and only had a check engine light come on once for a faulty oxygen sensor. Can consistently returns 35+mpg in town and 40-45 on the highway depending on how heavy your right foot is. Comfortable, quiet, and pretty good room all things considered."

8 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Expensive car to own long term.

By on Thursday, May 01, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 97,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
1/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Solid body, great handling, loads of torque."

Cons: "Engine explodes"

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

"97,000 meticulously maintained miles. Turbo failed pumping engine oil into intake and exhaust systems. $4000.00 and counting. Wheel bearing failed at 80,000. The repair costs are 50% of what the car is currently worth. I have a timing belt due for replacement-$1000.00 dealer cost. Three of my co workers drive VW Diesels. All have had a catastrophic engine event. My first and last VW."

7 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Rented one and fell in love

By on Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,500

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
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great economy and fun to drive"

Cons: "I need to lose 20 lbs to be really comfortable"

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

"I rented a 2012 Golf TDI in Europe and fell in love with it. When I returned to the US, I bought one six months later, same car, same color, same six speed. I've had it for two years and still love it!"

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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?