Ah, the Jetta and the Rabbit. Both cars played a large part in my youth. My best friend in high school…still today, it’s not easy finding additional people to like me. If you know me you understand. My friend Paul had a 1984 Jetta. It was black and at the time I considered it very quick. I had other friends who drove the Rabbit’s or “Golf’s”. They were great jumpers. We could get one to two feet of air on just about any dip on the streets of north Dallas. A street named Merrill was the best. It was the street I tested the Ford Raptor on. The Raptor was more impressive than the Golf…but, only slightly.
But, that was when I was young and immature. Now I’m older. And more…ok, just older. Now that I’m in my forties I can appreciate more about the Golf. It gives me a glimpse of what is possible if you suspend the reality that larger is better. There is a time coming soon, sooner than you think when we (Americans) will be forced to drive fuel efficient cars and trucks. Let’s hope that when that time comes there are a lot of offerings similar to the Golf TDI.
First I’ll cover the fun part, driving the Golf. There is substantial turbo lag until you reach over 1500 RPM’s but, after that the Golf feels peppy at the least and sometimes it actually feels strong. You can give the credit to the 2.0 liter diesel. This particular power-plant has been in the Jetta for a while. It puts out only 140HP but manages 236lbft of torque. 236lbft of torque! In a thirty-two hundred pound car that’s enough torque to make it extremely fun to drive. Assisting the mini torque monster in driving enjoyment is the handling. I forgot how much fun small cars are to drive. Especially, small cars from Germany. I had more fun driving the Golf this week than I had reading about Tiger’s divorce settlement. Man, what must Elin know? $750,000,000.00!!!!
The Golf handles like a go-cart. I know this example gets used more than Lebron James’ cell phone but, it’s true. I can’t compare it to anything else. It’s that exhilarating. The steering is accurate, the gauges are user friendly, and the seats are comfortable. About the only gripe I have is something I’m embarrassed to admit. But, for your enjoyment I will. I stalled this car at least once a day while I had it. The Golf TDI makes like zero torque until you pass 1200RPM’s and for this reason I believe it’s very easy to stall. I mean it couldn’t be the driver, right? The trouble with stalling the Golf is this, you need to remove the key completely before the car will re-fire. This can be more nerve racking than a Monday morning sales meeting with no sales by your name. It also seems a little dangerous to me.
Here’s the big news however; the fuel mileage! I averaged 45MPG. There were some stretches where I could hyper-mile the Golf to around 60MPG. Now I understand that you can come close to these numbers with hybrids, the Fusion hybrid for instance. The truth is the Fusion can’t touch the Golf in the ”fun to drive” category. Compared to the Golf the Fusion hybrid feels like a nineteen sixty-two caddy. With all due respect to the Fusion, I own one, great car, just not a ton of fun to drive. The Golf is small and, if you don’t mind the small size ( big by European standards) the Golf is a very good choice.