Outside adjustments to its trim andalternatives structure, the 2012 Volkswagen Golf is unaltered.Notably, still, one of those adjustments is the deletion of optionalrear slope airbags. Pound for pound, feature for feature, the 2012Volkswagen Golf costs more as compared to other compact cars. Itwould be simple to leave things there, damning the Golf on a casecomprising just of dollar signs and a spreadsheet of standardcharacteristics. Surely, it is a case that stripped VW's latelyre-planned Jetta of myriad niceties and details that applied tocreate it a step above the rest. Considerably, the Golf holds thoseniceties and details, holding its position like a particular car forthose who recognize a higher-quality product when they watch it, feelit and drive it. And who as well do not mind paying a little extrafor it.

Surely, compared to other vehicles inits class, the 2012 VW Golf feels positively upscale. Its interiorkeeps others to shame thanks to top-notch materials, punctiliousconstruction and going-the-extra-mile niceties as rear seat air ventsand a tilt-and-telescoping front armrest. On optional characteristicsas heated seats, a Dynaudio stereo and a navigation system, the Golfcan really start to feel as a near luxury car. Really, only the newFord Focus arrives close in this regard.

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Once underway, the Golf proceeds to setitself aside on the sort of refinement German cars are renowned for.Managing is secure and the ride is at once comfortable and composed.The Golf's Achilles' heel, still, is its five-cylinder base enginethat returns fuel economy that is upwards of 10 mpg worse on thehighway than some competitors. Sure, they are less powerful, but weare betting most purchasers would be willing to sacrifice fewacceleration to save money at the pump. Fortunately, the turbo dieselTDI meets or beats those lofty rival fuel economy figures and issurely the more appealing Golf. Still, it is even more expensive.

Overall, while, we think very highly ofthe 2012 VW Golf and find that its added cost in TDI guise isjustified by its impressive fuel mileage, added refinement anddetails that would not show up if you easily compare thecharacteristic of one car to another. We would create the sameargument about the Focus, however, and it does not need pricierdiesel fuel. Still, the reality is that both of those compact carsmay be too expensive for your budget, thus it is surely desireviewing the Mazda 3 as well as the Kia Forte hatchback. They willoffer you more stuff for your money, but the overall experience wouldnot be rather like special.

The 2012 Volkswagen Golf is afive-passenger hatchback available in two- and four-door body styles.Each is broken into 2.5L and TDI trim levels, which correspond toengine choice. Standard equipment on the base 2.5L Golfcontains15-inch steel wheels, fog lights, full power accessories,key-less entry, heated mirrors, cruise control, air-conditioning, atilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat,front seat adjustable lumbar, cloth upholstery, a compass, a tripcomputer and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player and anauxiliary audio jack.

Every 2012 Volkswagen Golf comesstandard with traction and stability control, anti-lock disc brakes,front slope airbags and slope curtain airbags. In Edmunds braketesting, a Golf TDI arrived to a stop from 60 mph in 121 feet -- agood distance for this segment. In crash testing by the InsuranceInstitute for Highway Safety, the Golf received the highest score of"Good" in the frontal-offset, slope and roof strengthtests.

Easily substituting the VW logo on theGolf's steering wheel on four rings only might be sufficient toconvince you that you are in an Audi. That is how nice the Golf'sinterior is. Among other compact hatchbacks, the Volkswagen's blendof top-shelf materials, refined plan and quality workmanship place itabove all others. The Golf's cabin is really much nicer as comparedto that of the lately redesigned VW Jetta sedan.