Test Drive #5: 2010 VW Golf

2010 Volkswagen Golf

At last, Mr. Crowe! The most anticipated car review to date on your beloved car of choice. Volkswagen Golf, Volkswagen Rabbit same car with different name.  A lot of hype, a lot of anticipation before getting into the driver’s seat of this vehicle. My good friend has a newer Rabbit and sang it’s praises up and down and when he found out highly encouraged, persistently that I test drive the Rabbit.

My first thoughts were that this car looks pretty slick for a hatchback and the price seems quite affordable for what standard features come on the vehicle. Plus, the car comes standard with a manual transmission, which is very attractive considering that is what I have been looking for all along. My hang ups come on the fact because its German, parts are going to cost significantly more, but more importantly, VW does not have a track record for reliability. It is well noted the mixed feelings and historically, VW has the highest cost of ownership over the course of the car’s lifetime. Between the things I read and the people I have talked to, VW was the first brand that I was afraid of based on quality and expense that could potentially arise from all the cars I have looked at so far.

Consumer Report 2010 Car Edition recommended the Golf though and that renewed my confidence some and motivated me to test drive the car sooner rather than later. I knew the car was a good ride from being in my friend’s Rabbit, but I had to know what it would feel like for me behind the wheel.

Arriving at the dealership, I was anxious to see not only what this Golf would do, but would VW say in response to my concerns on reliability and maintenance. The salesperson I had was very detailed in her presentation of the car in talking about a lot of the innovative, practical ideas VW infused their cars with. There is no doubt the level of thinking that went into this car with the placement of fuel tank to avoid getting hit on the highway if pulled over, fold in mirrors, and the way the car “reflects” the damage when impacted in collision with an object. I’m not saying other car companies haven’t done the above list or variations of similar things before/currently, but VW is doing them now and it was something unique that was brought to the sales floor before me.

The first part of the test drive was the shakiness I have ever had to say the least: I killed the car 6 times from a stop position. Whether it was not enough gas or starting in three gear, I had trouble like I had never before since learning manual transmission in starting from an idle position.  Other than that, the car rode well. The cars had plenty of get up and go, blind spots were limited to a minimum, plenty of leg room and the overall aesthetics of the car were pleasing.

 Out of a possible 50 points. (10 for each category)

Performance/Driving: I have never had such trouble with a manual transmission, but I’ll admit some rustiness and I did get the hang up of eventually. 170 HP with a tight turning radius. Very good, no complaints really outside of getting the feel of the stick. 9/10

Space/Room: This is a hatchback, come on….of course there is going to be plenty of room and I was surprise at the amount of  leg and head room offered in both front and back seats. My knock on the car comes underneath the hood. Big black mold of plastic covering everything with many bolt so take off to see the engine. That and there is no arm room to reach into the car to work on it. Not user friendly in that sense, but if you don’t plan on doing your own maintenance, I guess it isn’t much of a concern. 8/10 

Appearance: Personally, I could care less for hatchbacks, but this is definitely one of the best looking ones out there and obviously I think it has some sort of attractiveness, because I test drove it Like I said before, a lot of thinking went into this car and it shows from the outside in. 9/10

Cost: Lot of reviews really get on for this being a little pricey of a car, but with the standard list of features, I find the price well within my range and contention. Maybe others think that because this doesn’t get the best mileage, you might pay for a little more for gas than other cars in the class, but if you want mileage, then go with the diesel upgrade (upwards of $10,000 more) Do not let cost dissuade from looking at this car.   9/10

Comfort: I like this car, I like how it feels when I sit in it, but my discomfort goes more psychologically than anything else with the car brand. I do not feel right now, this car… in my gut, is for me. Therefore because of my questioning of the brand, lack of convincing on the dealership, feel an uncertainty in purchasing a Golf. Maybe some more reading, another test drive and some more thought can turn the tide, but I have to go with for this review what I think now.  6/10

Overall: Again, I didn’t think this Golf was going to be disappointing on the test drive like other cars I have tested. It probably tests better, more consistent than anything I have drove so far, but I need some extra convincing before I take a plunge on Golf. Bottom line I didn’t get it this time around and I may never get it. At the end of the day, if you cannot feel confident about your car and purchasing decision, you cannot go forth in the buying process. I really want to believe in this car, but I haven’t been sold….yet.  Total Score: 41/50

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