As the manufacturer of one of the most successful cars in history, Volkswagen must face a constant dilemma when considering the Golf and Rabbit? Should it just leave well enough alone or forge ahead with innovation and potentially risk a good thing?Since its introduction in 1974 as the replacement the air-cooled Volkswagen Beetle, another of the most successful cars in history, the Golf/Rabbit has only been substantially changed five times.
Thirty-seven years later, the sixth edition in 2010 continues the car’s legacy without missing an RPM. Through 2007, more than 25 million of the cars had been built. According to the manufacturer, it’s the best-selling Volkswagen in history and the third best-selling vehicle of all-time.
The sixth generation Volkswagen Golf/Rabbit model features a more spacious interior and slight changes to the grille, headlights and air intake. It’s also now called the Golf again after four years as the Rabbit. Golf is the more global name for the car.
Beyond the name switch and design changes, the Golf remains an easy-to-like, sturdy and handsome hatchback — inside and out.
Equipped with a 2.5-liter, 170-horsepower, inline 5-cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission, it has a duel personality. It scoots around town like a high-performance sports car with a tight shift box, and powers quietly along the freeway like a refined sedan.
The Golf’s versatile driving attributes are complemented by its strong interior qualities. Seats are cloth, but well constructed and plush. The cabin’s metallic trim is handsome or as Edmunds.com noted, “Tastefully employed.”
There’s no “wow” factor, but considering the price point, VW couldn’t have done any better.
My weekly driver test vehicle had a long list of standard features, more than expected for a car with a suggested retail price under $18,000. The only three optional features adding to the total were the power sunroof ($1,000), the cold weather package (heated seats/washer nozzles) at $225 and Bluetooth connectivity ($199). With the standard destination charge of $750, the 2010 Golf still prices out at less than $20,000.
Oh, I almost forgot: The hatchback opens by lifting the round VW circle insignia. It’s cool.
Facts & Figures: 2010 Volkswagen Golf
Airbags: Dual front, side and side curtain (standard).
Fuel economy (EPA estimates) 22 mpg (city), 30 mpg (hwy).
Government Safety Ratings — Not yet rated.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $17,490.00.
Price As tested: $19,664.00.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years/60,000 miles; Corrosion: 12 years/unlimited miles; Roadside assistance, 3 years/36,000 miles.
Web site: www.vw.com
What Others Say:
“The 2010 Volkswagen Golf drives with a sense of confidence and purpose that no other compact hatchback can match, remaining remarkably composed at all speeds. On the highway, the Golf is unusually quiet, and when the road turns twisty, the precise and nicely weighted steering is appreciated.” —- Edmunds.com.
“To our eyes, the Golf VI’s cabin furnishings even surpass those of the related but more expensive Audi A3.” —- CarandDriver.com.
“Despite the fact that this new Golf’s cabin feels unnaturally spacious — for a Golf or Rabbit — I find myself drawn to its inherent VWness. In fact, this is about the most fun I’ve had driving a base Golf (or Rabbit) since I first sat behind the wheel of one some 25 years ago.” —- Tom Appel, ConsumerGuide.com
The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:
“The Volkswagen Golf 2-door has found itself a perfect niche. For drivers who still like to shift cars and have some sense of driving a nimble vehicle with sports car tendencies, less than $20,000 to spend and seeking good gas mileage, look no further. Buy a Golf.”