Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate drivers about...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Licensed Agent for 10 Years

UPDATED: Aug 21, 2019

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Ranked at #8 out of the 33 affordable small cars that U.S. News and World Report reviewed for the 2011 model year, the 2011 Volkswagen Golf impresses critics with its luxurious interior, as well as its diesel option and powerful performance.

When the redesigned Golf was introduced to auto critics in 2010, it earned the World Car of the Year Award at the New York International Auto Show, and Kiplinger selected it for “Best-in-Class” and “Best New Model” honors.

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Volkswagen Golf Auto Insurance Rates

Kelley Blue Book estimates that base model VW Golf drivers will pay approximately $846 for auto insurance annually.

Despite the fact that the 2011 Golf’s base price of $17,995 is higher than those for many of its competitors, it’s auto insurance rates are still in line with the class average.

For instance, Kelley Blue Book projects average annual auto insurance costs of $850 for Hyundai Accent owners and yearly auto insurance premiums of $831 for the Honda Fit.

The Ford Fiesta should cost approximately $853 to insure for one year, and Kelley Blue Book reports expected annual car insurance rates of $835 for the Toyota Yaris.

Although auto insurance rates for the base model 2-door Golf, which features a 2.5 liter gasoline-powered engine, are reasonable, they skyrocket to about $1,264 per year if you upgrade to the 4-door TDI Clean Diesel model.

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Trim Levels and Pricing for the Golf

The $17,995 base model’s 2.5 liter I5 engine generates 170 horsepower, and this 2-door vehicle comes standard with a 5-speed manual transmission. A 6-speed automatic is available, though.

Useful cabin features include cruise control and a trip computer, power locks, and dual 12-volt power adapters.

The base model Golf’s 8-speaker audio system is compatible with MP3 and WMA file formats, and it includes a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. Bluetooth connectivity and heated front seats are optional.

Buyers who upgrade to the more spacious 4-door gasoline-powered VW Golf will pay about $19,755 before options. They get the same 2.5 liter engine that’s featured in the base model, as well as additional cabin features like a power-reclining driver’s seat.

Options available for all Volkswagen Golf models include a Cold Weather Package and a sunroof for those who dwell in warmer climes.

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Both the 2-door and 4-door TDI Clean Diesel Golf models feature 2.0 liter I4 engines and standard 6-speed manual transmissions, although an automatic transmission is available.

The 2-door diesel Golf starts at $23,225, and the 4-door model starts at $23,885. Both diesel models are equipped with a sport suspension system that is not available on the gasoline-powered Volkswagen Golf models.

In addition to their diesel engines, these VW Golfs also have a few cabin features that set them apart from the gas-powered models.

Both the 2-door and 4-door come standard with premium touchscreen sound systems and iPod-compatible Media Interface Devices, which are not available on the gasoline-powered VW Golfs. Sirius Satellite Radio and Dynaudio sound systems are optional.

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Volkswagen Golf Safety Ratings and Features

The 2011 Volkswagen Golf is a “Top Safety Pick,” according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). That means it’s equipped with electronic stability control and it earned top scores in the four major crash tests that the IIHS conducted.

These four tests assess vehicles’ ability to protect their passengers and drivers in rollovers, as well as side, rear, and head-on crashes. It is interesting to note that the Golf used in the crash tests did not have the optional supplemental side airbags for rear passengers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has conducted a rollover test on the 2011 VW Golf, and the vehicle earned a respectable 4-star rating.

NHTSA investigators concluded that the Golf has just a 12.1% chance of tipping during very sharp turns at high speeds.

Volkswagen Golf Warranty and Reliability

The Golf features Volkswagen’s standard 3-year/36,000 mile basic warranty, as well as its 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain guarantee. This is a class-competitive warranty, and it is reassuring, considering that the Golf’s Predicted Reliability score from J.D. Power and Associates is only 4.0 on a 10-point scale.

The VW Golf and the Suzuki SX5 share this worst-in-class score. Based on J.D. Power’s data, the Honda Insight hybrid and the Honda Fit are the most reliable compact cars, with scores of 9.0.

The most common score among compact cars is only a 5.0, though. Seven cars in this category, including the Chevy Aveo, the VW Beetle, and the Kia Rio earned this score.

Volkswagen Golf Fuel Efficiency

The 2-door gas-powered Golf’s EPA-rated fuel economy of 23 mpg city/33 mpg highway is typical among small cars, and the 24 city mpg/31 highway mpg that the 4-door Golf gets is about average as well.

Compared to the gas-powered Golf, there are much better bets out there.

For instance, the Hyundai Elantra gets 40 highway mpg, the Mini Cooper gets 37 highway mpg, and the Toyota Yaris gets 36 highway mpg. All three of these compact cars get 29 mpg around town.

Naturally, the diesel-powered Volkswagen Golf models get much better fuel economy than the gas-powered ones. The 2-door TDI Clean Diesel Golf gets 30 city mpg/42 highway mpg. The 4-door model gets 30 city mpg as well, but it gets one mile less per gallon on the highway.

If you’re interested in an alternative fuel vehicle, you might also consider a Honda Insight, a Smart ForTwo, or a Honda CR-Z. These three hybrid/electric vehicles offer the best fuel economy available in the affordable small car category.

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