The VW Golf has gone through a number of incarnations, actually, 6 in all. And every one was simply a blast to drive. Building on the design philosophy that made the original Mini so groundbreaking, VW in the 1970’s made the front-wheel-drive hatchback fun again.
Back in the near Paleolithic era, I made my first trip to Los Angeles to visit a director friend and his wife who had moved there. He drove me around town in his new Rabbit convertible and declared it was his poor man’s Porsche.
And it was, and the latest generation is a quantum leap forward, with the added plus of an optional turbo diesel. Now, if your impressions of diesels run to heavy duty pickups, Peterbilts and smoky European taxis, you probably as old as I am, and that’s just darned sad..
But, for those who don’t know, the reigning LeMans champions for the last few years have been turbo-diesel sports cars by Audi. The magic of turbocharging has turned the economical 2-liter four cylinder diesel powerplant into a roaring good time. Statistical performance isn’t mind blowing with a 0-60 time of 9 seconds. But the car can hit 130 and get over 40 miles per gallon on the highway doing it.
Inside, the Golf displays the kind of neat as a pin design and smooth operation usually reserved for Swiss watches and Colt revolvers. It just works, and coddles you while doing it.
The TDI model commands a $2000 premium over it’s gas-powered sibling, but you get a $1300 government credit for driving an alternative fuel car. But be warned, as addictive as this little puppy is, diesel fuel is a little more than gasoline, but you get much greater mileage, much longer life, no spark plugs and no tune ups.
It’s a fair trade.
And that’s the VW Golf TDI…you’re having a great time and wasting fewer natural resources doing it. We won’t tell anyone if you won’t. that’s our road test, I’m roger gray and I’ll see you on our next road trip.