2012 Volkswagen Golf TDI Diesel: Review Roundup

2012 volkswagen golf tdi
photo courtesy of Volkswagen of America

Shopping for a 2012 clean diesel car and thinking about the 2012 Volkswagen Golf TDI Diesel? Here’s a summary of major reviews of the vehicle to help you decide. Be sure to leave a comment at the bottom if you have questions, or something to add!

Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Golf TDI is the 2.0 liter, four-cylinder clean diesel engine that gives the car 30 MPG in the city and 42 MPG on the highway. Its power may be considered somewhat modest with at 140 horsepower. However, it does provide 236 lbs-ft of torque at 1,750 rpm and since the engine is a turbo, it moves quite quickly. MSRP starts at $24,235

Autos.aol.com — 2012 Volkswagen Golf Expert Review: New Car Test Drive

AOL Autos starts out calling the Golf “enjoyable to drive, smooth and fuel efficient.”

The Golf is offered with a choice of either a six-speed manual or a six-speed dual-clutch automatic referred to as the Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG). AOL Autos notes that the Golf is slower from 0-60 than the gas model, but the higher level of torque at lower RPMs results in “responsive performance around town”

They refer to the interior as “austere but of pleasingly high quality” and praise the comfort and 8-way adjustability of the front seats.

As for handling and ride, they noted that “While handling is basically neutral, understeer appears in the TDI at the limit, which again is a bit higher than the limit of the 2.5-liter model.” They also praised the diesel engine:  “On urban freeways, throttle response is quick and linear, with little hint of turbo lag. Thanks to the diesel’s hefty torque curve, the engine pulls strongly well past legal U.S. speeds, but it doesn’t rev as high and isn’t as lively as the 2.5 liter much beyond 110 mph.”

They conclude, “The Volkswagen Golf is enjoyable to drive, with an impressive balance of ride and handling, as well as a classy interior. The standard Golf offers Volkswagen quality and refinement at Honda prices. The Golf TDI gets excellent fuel economy, but its diesel engine isn’t cheap.”

Carthrottle.com — 2012 Volkswagen Golf TDI DSG Test Drive: German Efficiency

Carthrottle.com agrees with the other reports, that the interior is good, controls are more easily managed, seats are comfortable and the appearance and feel of the cabin are high quality.

They also praised the diesel saying, “like a modern diesel the TDI feels faster than it is.  And it’s not that slow, either: figure around 8 seconds to sixty, which is only about a half-second off the standard engine’s time.”

They conclude “With diesel fuel more expensive, and diesel engines considerably more expensive, it will never make sense from a penny-pinching standpoint.  That’s OK: VW’s diesels can sell on their character and fun-to-drive merits.  A nicely equipped car in the mid 20’s that’s fun to drive and gets 40+ mpg?  Sounds good to me.”

Road & Track — Volkswagen Golf TDI: Road Test Update

Road & Track said that the TDI featured “a supple ride and well-controlled suspension movements” during their test drive. They noted that it maintained an average of 38.9 MPG during their testing and that it doesn’t need urea injection to meet state emission requirements. They conclude: “The Golf TDI, with its independent rear suspension, efficient TDI powerplant, excellent practicality, abundant safety features (it has six standard airbags) and lively road manners, makes an intriguing argument against a hybrid. ”

2012 Volkswagen Golf Clean Diesel TDI Review Summary

In conclusion, the consensus appears to be:


  • Enjoyable to drive
  • Comfortable front seats
  • Roomy cabin
  • Good handling and ride quality
  • Torque of diesel turbocharged engine
  • Nice interior and exterior design
  • Fuel efficiency


  • Somewhat slow 0-60
  • Price rises quickly with options

Do you own this car, or have you driven one? What’s your take?

Leave a comment and help out the people who are researching this car!