Vehicle Overview
Volkswagen's compact front-wheel-drive Golf is available only as a four-door hatchback for 2006; the two-door GL and four-door GL TDI (diesel) have been dropped. An all-new Golf is scheduled to emerge in the second quarter of 2006.

Volkswagen's warranty offers bumper-to-bumper coverage for four years/50,000 miles. Wear-and-tear items and adjustments are covered for one year/12,000 miles. Fully transferable powertrain coverage is for five years/60,000 miles, and roadside assistance is provided for four years.

The Golf hatchback stands 56.7 inches tall, has a 98.9-inch wheelbase and measures 164.9 inches long overall. The bumpers, side moldings, mirror housings and grille are body-colored. The GLS comes with a power sunroof. All-season tires are mounted on 15-inch wheels.

Upright hatchback styling allows the driver and passengers to sit more vertically in the Golf than in most small cars. Space is adequate for four adults, though the interior is intended to seat up to five. The area behind the rear seat holds 18 cubic feet of cargo. Split rear seatbacks fold for additional storage room, creating a total of 41.8 cubic feet of cargo space when folded. Standard equipment includes air conditioning, an eight-speaker CD/cassette stereo, cruise control, a manual tilt/telescoping steering column, and power windows, locks and mirrors.

An optional Cold Weather Package for the GLS includes heated front seats and heated front windshield washer nozzles. A Monsoon sound system is standard in GLS models.

Under the Hood
The Golf's 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine produces 115 horsepower, while the available turbocharged 1.9-liter four-cylinder diesel generates 100 hp. The gasoline engine teams with a four-speed-automatic or five-speed-manual transmission, while the diesel engine drives a five-speed manual or an optional five-speed automatic that incorporates a Tiptronic manual-shift provision.

Side-impact airbags for the front seats, side curtain-type airbags and antilock brakes are standard. Volkswagen's Electronic Stabilization Program is optional.

Driving Impressions
The Golf hatchback is a versatile, functional, fun-to-drive small car. The available diesel engine delivers impressive fuel economy, and it's also surprisingly quiet and brisk.