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2011 Volkswagen Golf

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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 101 Ratings for the 2010 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.2/10
    Quality
    9.4/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    9.6/10
  • Comfort
    9.3/10
    Styling
    9.2/10

More fun than my sport bike

By on Friday, May 6, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great driving, nearly 45mpg"

Cons: "only 45mpg, 4.9l TDi gets 50mpg. diesel gate"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"The highlight of this car is the handling. Power is good, but California is going to force me to sell or de-tune the TDi. First gear is too high, driving on hills can be tough with the clutch. I've driven clutch all my life, previous VW was TDi 4.9 liter and had gearing better suited for the engine"

Fits my need to the tee.

By on Tuesday, February 16, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000

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: "Rides and drives much better then the competition."

Cons: "NOX"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4

"This is my 6th Volkswagen and my first TDI. Bought it new and has not given me any problems what so ever. I am averaging 46 MPG for the 53K miles I have owned it and has only needed regular maintenance which I perform myself. Getting 600 miles plus per tank is great for long trips but my bladder needs to be emptied sooner than the tank needing filled. I chose this car because it has the fuel mileage and the quality I was after. Its a bonus that I am able to tow my 4x8' (<2000lbs) trailer and still get better than 30 MPG. The torque of the TDI is a joy to drive and surprisingly quick. I put a low "Not Likely to recommend" because most people won't like the cost of dealer maintenance and that you can't treat it like a "throw-away appliance" like so many cars offered. Too bad about the emissions because I really like this car!!!"

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

I love this car.

By on Wednesday, November 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 120,000

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
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Handling, acceleration, fit & finish, engineering."

Cons: "Small car ride, although better than most."

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

"I drive the two door, 2.5 liter gasoline Golf with a five speed manual transmission. It drives and handles very well in all sorts of conditions. After 120000 miles, it's still a bunch of fun every day."

12 people out of 18 found this review helpful

Phenomenal car.

By on Thursday, October 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,450

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Driving, engine, transmission, comfort, mileage."

Cons: "DSG quirkiness"

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

"without addressing VW's current diesel debacle, this is a fantastic car. Recent trip over 250 miles, averaged 52 MPG out and 55 MPG back. EPA Highway rating is 43. 640 miles on tank. And the car is very quiet, well insulated, drives solidly, responsively, calmly. Accelerates well at any reasonable speed, seamless shifting w/DSG. Dynaudio sound system is wonderful. Always makes me smile when I'm driving it. I would rate it better than past Acuras and Hondas. Quality is on par as I've had no issues with the car that I haven't caused. Only concern for non-VW, non-DSG drivers is that the DSG and its behavior does take some getting used to. Nothing wrong with it, behaves as it's designed, but you need to learn its peculiarities if you've never driven one before."

8 people out of 20 found this review helpful

Great Genes

By on Sunday, September 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,800

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"We bought the TSI model with sunroof, leatherette, fender stereo,17 inch wheels and lighting package. has the paddle shifters but rarely use. turbo lag very apparent in first gear, you have to learn to put your foot into it a bit otherwise very sluggish starting from stop, but after that it's a little autobahn rocket. Had a 83 GTI and reminds me a lot of that when driving. Not perfect though. poor rearward visibility, the rear back up lights do not illuminate very well at night, the backup camera does not have the turning guides that other cars like Mazda has and VW cheaped out by not also installing back up sensors that beep as you are nearing an obstacle behind you. I have that system on my ford pickup and can get within an inch of whatever is behind me without hitting. As you can probably guess, my wife was backing out at night and hit my truck. Light damage to both but could have been avoided with the sensors that beep. Otherwise, love driving this car."

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

CRAZY GOOD

By on Thursday, September 3, 2015

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

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
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "see review"

Cons: "nasty driver's side blind spot,add extra mirror."

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

"Best overall car I've ever owned. Even after a few years it's still a joy to get in, crank that turbo, and zip on down the road. Handles like a sports car. Diesel gets an easy 38mpg around town, high forties on the interstate. So far only changed the oil and filter (every 15K), and new tires at about 70,000 miles; and replaced battery last year."

14 people out of 21 found this review helpful

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