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2011 Volkswagen Golf Review

The 2011 Volkswagen Golf stands out among used small cars with enjoyable driving dynamics, ample interior space and a quality cabin, though its reliability rating is below-average for the class.

Pros & Cons

  • Quality interior with comfortable seats
  • Outstanding safety scores
  • Refined performance
  • Good cargo space
  • Below-average reliability




Critics' Rating: 9.0
Performance: 8.4
Interior: 8.7
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.3
Safety: 9.7
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2011 Volkswagen Golf Overview

Volkswagen Golf models from 2011 with diesel engines are part of the massive Volkswagen recall because they do not meet U.S. emissions standards. Volkswagen will contact owners when they have remedied the problem and will fix the cars for free. The cars are safe to drive. Read more on the Volkswagen diesel recalls

With the 2011 Volkswagen Golf, you have the choice of two or four doors. But regardless of the model you choose, test drivers said that both the front and rear seats were comfortable, which is high praise for a 2011 small car. The Golf also has good cargo space.  

Reviewers said the Volkswagen Golf has one of the highest-quality cabins in the class. The Golf has typical standard interior features, including an eight-speaker stereo, cruise control and power accessories. If you choose the Golf TDI, you’ll get a touch-screen eight-speaker stereo system with satellite radio, an iPod interface and Bluetooth. In addition to its high-quality interior, the Golf also performs extremely well in crash tests.

The 2011 Golf is available with two engines. The base engine is a 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder, which gets up to 24/31 mpg city/highway. Car reviewers praised the base Golf for its power, but if you want a car with great fuel economy, reviewers loved the Golf TDI’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine, which gets up to 30/42 mpg.

One of the Volkswagen Golf’s downsides is that its reliability score is below-average, so it may cost more in repairs in the long run.

See the full 2011 Volkswagen Golf specs »

Other Cars to Consider

Not only can the 2011 Mini Cooper match the Golf’s performance, but its fuel economy ratings are higher. Available as a hatchback or convertible, the Cooper comes in three trim levels that offer different levels of performance. The base model is nimble, but for more power, car reviewers suggested the Cooper S and John Cooper Works models. However, the four-seat Mini Cooper doesn’t have nearly as much passenger and cargo space as the Golf. The Cooper has a good list of safety and interior features, but like the Golf, its reliability score is below-average.

If you want a small sedan or hatchback that’s fun to drive, consider the 2011 Mazda3. Along with good performance, the Mazda3 has a quality interior, but it also has a back seat that’s not as comfortable as the Golf’s. The Mazda3 has good safety scores and reliability ratings that are slightly higher than the Golf’s.

Compare the Golf to the Cooper and Mazda3 »


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