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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 86 Ratings for the 2010 - 2015 models.

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

Base Golf suited my needs perfectly

By on Thursday, January 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Base model has everything you need"

Cons: "2.5 I5 engine not so frugal with gas"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I found a dealer demo 2011 Golf with 6k miles on it in the spring of 2012. It was priced about $5,0000 below original sticker price of $21k. The base model lacks interior features like center armrest storage bins and the plastic wheel covers look cheap. It still had bluetooth, heated mirrors and power everything, however. I last owned a VW about 20 years ago and I missed the handling it had. Something about their combination of steering, braking, suspension and acceleration just wasn't there in the Ford, Dodge or Hondas I've owned more recently. This Golf has only left me stranded once. The factory battery died in the oppressive August heat of Texas, but it was 3 years old. Thanks to a short commute, I drive less than 10k miles per year and it is mostly city driving. My combined mileage is usually around 22 MPG which I wish was a higher number. The weird 5 cylinder 2.5 engine is no longer offered on new VW's and I think that is a good thing. If I had a long commute I would probably gotten something like a Honda Fit. The service/oil change intervals are 10k miles and the first three were free. When I hit 40k miles this fall, the dealer says to expect to pay around $500. There is an independent Audi-VW shop near me that charges about $325 for that service. My car is out of warranty (36 month/30k miles) so I may opt to take it there. Overall, I am still happy with the driving experience and the fact that I have paid zero for anything except a battery, a tire damaged by road debris, and new wipers. This car is roomy and practical enough for me and I expect with proper maintenance I could keep driving it without major problems at least until it is a decade old."

17 people out of 42 found this review helpful

bang for your buck!

By on Friday, January 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000

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
9/10

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

"I bought my golf in 2010 brand new. Never had any issues after 45000 miles. Low cost to maintain the car as well. I will try to keep it as long as i can. If you are looking for a low budget car with no headaches, this is the one!"

7 people out of 17 found this review helpful

Best car ever?

By on Saturday, January 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,000

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: "Driving the Golf TDI is so much fun"

Cons: "Navigation data requires $99 update every 2 years."

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

"Fun to drive. Plenty of power. Solid feel grips twisty mountain roads in worst weather conditions. Love the touchscreen and hands off bluetooth. Plays well with iPhone. Exudes high quality and feel of much higher priced German road cars. Outstanding cabin materials and construction; fuel-efficient diesel engine; spacious hatchback body style; refined driving dynamics."

16 people out of 38 found this review helpful

Super fun to drive - great value for money

By on Friday, October 31, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

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: "Great price and fun to drive"

Cons: "Should buy arm rest"

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

"The driving experience is a lot of fun. While it feels secure, you do get the dynamic of a small fast car. Great MPG too. I use the VW Golf as a daily commuter to work, and I haven't had any problems with it ever."

36 people out of 71 found this review helpful

Great value, well built

By on Monday, October 27, 2014

I owned and sold this car
Reason: wanted a new car

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "quality, great customer care, very well built"

Cons: "Plethora of small things went wrong under warranty"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Fun to drive with a truly well built interior. I had a lot of warranty items needing attention, so it was inconvenient. The car is truly comfortable. Gas mileage was consistently 30mpg which for the 2.5L 5 cylinder was really good, and with the 5 speed manual. I really recommend the golf as a superiorly well conceived and designed car, top of its class NO DOUBT"

17 people out of 31 found this review helpful

Great, reliable and made for drivers

By on Friday, October 24, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000

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: "Comfortable, Great Gas Mileage, Brilliant Handling"

Cons: "None"

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

"This is my second Golf. My first was a 1996 CL, gas model. This is my first diesel powered car. I have been quite impressed with how well this car handles and corners, it's extremely tight and responsive. I also love the turbo engine, it really kicks in and the power is great. The tech package makes it really comfortable, navigation, sunroof, bluetooth, iphone charger, heated seats....really comfortable. I also noticed how quiet the interior cabin is as well. Any of my friends or family that drive this car tell me how much the love it. I love this car too and never want to sell it!"

14 people out of 22 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?