Practical Buying Guide: Volkswagen Golf Mk6 (2010-2014)


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Suppose you’re looking for one car that’ll do it all. Slip into compact spaces with ease. Accelerate and handle with grace. Fit four adults and their luggage in a well-appointed interior with little apparent cost-cutting. Command the road at highway speeds. Let’s throw in 30 MPG fuel economy for good measure. Now suppose you’re looking…


the Mk6 arguably represents the pinnacle of
Volkswagen’s small-car engineering.

As the owner of a mk7 GTI and a mk6 Golf Variant (AKA Jetta Sportwagen), that’s a ridiculous statement. The mk7 is light years ahead. The mk6 is often considered a heavily facelifted or modestly upgraded mk5, and cars have come a long way since the 2003 intro of the mk5.

VW’s “fix” for … the TDI engine (is) unproven in
terms of the long-term reliability …

The TDI is worth a look. 1st Gen diesels got an upgraded catalyst, software update, and special warranty. The update primarily more frequently “regenerates” the diesel particulate filter (DPF). Most people think that’s not a big deal.

Having said that, the TDI never made economic sense in the USA and still doesn’t, but it is appealing in its own way, and many TDI cars came with better equipment. For example, the TDI wagon has a 6 speed stick vs. a 5 for the “gasser.”

The Jetta Sportwagen is worth a look if you need the space. It’s a hybrid design, with an mk5 body forward of the doors and an mk5 suspension (an advantage over the mk6 Jetta Sedan since cost reduction eliminated the independent rear suspension). Otherwise, the Sportwagen is just a Golf with more room, a fact reflected by VW calling it a Golf in Europe and Canada.



Thanks for engaging with us, we appreciate you. The full sentence for your first quote reads as follows:

As the final Golf built in Germany before VW shifted to a more global (read: cost-conscious) product strategy, the Mk6 arguably represents the pinnacle of Volkswagen’s small-car engineering.

Do you disagree, then, that the Mk7 is part of a more global and cost-conscious product strategy? Have you not noticed any cost-cutting in your Mk7 GTI relative to the Mk6?

More generally, you are certainly right that “cars have come a long way since the 2003 intro of the mk5,” but it doesn’t follow that today’s models are necessarily better. For example, the Mk7 GTI has more turbo lag than the Mk6 GTI and also significantly taller gearing, resulting in a less alert and energetic feel. One could argue that feeling alert and energetic is a core GTI value, so moving away from it has made for a worse-driving GTI. If you’re looking for the most capable infotainment system, of course, the Mk7 will take that round.