The 2006 Volkswagen Golf closes out the fourth generation of the hatchback that Volkswagen developed and introduced decades ago to replace the original Beetle. An all-new and fifth-generation Golf arrives in the fall of 2006 as a 2007 model. (The Gen-5 Golf is previewed in the U.S. market by the 2006 GTI, a high-performance version built on the new platform.)
The VW Golf is one of the best-selling models in Europe, where the versatility of the hatchback architecture is firmly established and often preferred. In America, where traditional sedans with secure trunks are more the norm, the VW Jetta outsells the Golf by a ratio of close to 7:1. That's not to say the Golf isn't a capable and versatile vehicle in its own right; it just has a cargo hatch instead of a locking trunk. Otherwise, the Golf and Jetta are almost mechanically identical, and the Golf offers nearly 42 cubic feet of cargo capacity with its rear seat folded down-considerably more than the trunk of the Jetta.
The 2006 Golf is offered in three versions: GL 2.0L, GLS 2.0L, and GLS TDI. All have four doors (five counting the rear hatch). Standard equipment includes height-adjustable front seats, tilt and telescoping steering column, audio system with CD player, Volkswagen's popular blue-light gauges, and side-curtain air bags. The options list includes a sunroof and a Monsoon audio system.
The GL 2.0L and GLS 2.0L are powered by a 2.0L four-cylinder engine that generates 115 hp and is rated at 24 mpg in the city and 31 on the highway. The GLS TDI features a 1.9L four-cylinder turbocharged and diesel-fueled engine that pumps out 100 hp and an impressive (for its displacement) 177 lb.-ft. of torque. The torque reserves get the car moving quickly from a start, and the fuel-efficient diesel returns 37 mpg in town and 44 on the highway, giving the TDI an effective driving range of more than 630 miles between fuel stops. Manual or automatic transmissions are available, and all Golfs have front-wheel drive.
The Volkswagen Golf competes in the Compact Conventional category, a segment where affordability, fuel economy, sporty performance and personalization options and accessories can be important factors in the buying decision.
The Compact Conventional segment accounted for nearly two million sales (nearly 15 percent of all light-vehicle sales in the U.S.) during the 2005 calendar year, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report.SM For calendar year 2005, the top-selling models in this segment were the Honda Civic (308,415 units sold), Toyota Corolla (244,032), Chevrolet Cobalt (212,667), and Ford Focus (184,825). Together, they accounted for nearly 44 percent of sales in this segment. VW has three models in this category: the New Beetle, the Golf hatchback, and the Jetta sedan. Volkswagen sold 15,690 Golfs in calendar year 2005.
|GL 2.0L (M5)||5 speed manual||$16,030||115-hp / 2.0L 4-cyl||24/31|
|GLS 2.0L (M5)||5 speed manual||$18,390||115-hp / 2.0L 4-cyl||24/31|
|GLS TDI (M5)||5 speed manual||$19,580||100-hp / 1.9L 4-cyl||37/44|