2011 Volkswagen Golf TDI
2011 Volkswagen Golf TDI. Click image to enlarge

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Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

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2011 Volkswagen Golf

It’s hard not to like the 2011 VW Golf TDI. While I’m a sucker for the sporty and all-round excellent 200-hp GTI, the pragmatic side of me would surely win out if I were kicking tires in a V-Dub showroom. I’d go with the super-smart four-door TDI clean diesel; and not only because it gets outstanding fuel economy.

But while we’re on the subject of parsimonious diesel-sippage, at the end of my week of mostly highway kilometres I still had a quarter tank of diesel and the average fuel economy display read a heart-warming 5.7 L/100 km.

With a base price of $25,275 in Comfortline trim (the base Trendline Golf is gas-only), the six-speed manual four-door Golf TDI is the least expensive diesel-powered car in Canada, and it punches well above its weight when it comes to refinement and road manners.

My Amaryllis Red Metallic tester with its optional $1,300 Multimedia Package checked in at $26,575, which is hardly what you would call a bargain when shopping for an economy car, but the Golf TDI lives in a different place from your Mazda3s, Honda Civics and Hyundai Elantras.

2011 Volkswagen Golf TDI
2011 Volkswagen Golf TDI. Click image to enlarge

This is a premium vehicle, and only a minute behind the wheel drives the point home. Against other compact cars, the Golf simply feels more refined, more solid, and yes, more expensive.

The doors close with a decisive Germanic thunk, and once settled into the excellent fabric seats with manual height adjustment and powered rake adjustment (other automakers would do well just to copy these chairs and be done with it) your eyes fall upon a simple, elegant and exceptionally logical dash layout out with clear gauges and glove-friendly controls. The meaty leather-wrapped multi-function wheel feels great in the hands and adjusts for both reach and rake.

Volkswagen is bucking the trend of swooping, overstyled dash designs like those in the Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra. For sure it’s a matter of personal taste, but this high quality effort will surely stand the test of time.

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