http://autos.yahoo.com/auto-shows/n...xNDkEc2VjA2ZwLXRvZGF5BHNsawN3b3JsZC1jYXItdnc-The 2010 Volkswagen Golf on display at the New York International Auto Show has been named World Car of the Year. Introduced at last yearâ€™s Paris Auto Show and known as the Rabbit in earlier U.S. versions, this sixth- generation sporty hatchback from VW beat out top finalists Ford Fiesta and Toyota iQ for the highly coveted honor.
Now itself in a sixth iteration, the World Car of the Year award is the decision of an independent jury of 59 automotive journalists from 25 countries. This yearâ€™s initial list began with 51 entries from the worldâ€™s automakers, whittled down on the basis of merit, value, safety, environment, significance and emotional appeal. In addition to the top three, other finalists for World Car of the Year honors included the Audi A4/Avant, BMW 7 Series, CitroÃ«n C5 Sedan/Tourer, Fiat 500, Honda Fit/Jazz, Jaguar XF, Mazda Atenza/Mazda6 and Nissan GT-R. (It has been quite a year for significant new cars.)
The automotive specialists identified the new Golfâ€™s more aggressive styling as part of its appeal. Its front end displays sporty mesh ductwork integrated into a new grille design. Trendy headlight clusters are part of its distinct character. Overall, the Golf VI appears more taut, more sculpted than the car it replaces. The carâ€™s interior is upgraded from that of the previous generation, decidedly more posh, with hardly anything recalling traditional Teutonic asceticism. A cloaked instrument panel integrates neatly with controls and display screen in its center console. Altogether, the car offers an upscale ambience compared with that of its predecessor.
Volkswagen Golf VIWorldwide, the Golf has a bewildering total of six different powerplant choices, including a 1.4-liter TSI 4-cylinder featuring compound forced induction, both super- and turbocharging. Two engine choices see initial U.S. availability. The standard Golf VI has a 2.5-liter inline-5 gasoline engine rated at 157 bhp and 177 lb.- ft. of torque. A 2.0-liter turbocharged direct-injected 4-cylinder TDI diesel produces 137 bhp and an impressive 236 lb.-ft. of torque. VW expects this TDI to add to the success of its Jetta TDI in an evolving U.S. diesel market. Based on European assessments of fuel consumption, the Golf TDI is expected to post ratings approaching 50 mpg.
The Golf has a MacPherson strut front suspension and a four-link system at the rear. Sport-tuned variants lower the ride height by as much as 2.0 inches. The gasoline-fueled Golf gets 195/65R-15 all-season tires. The TDIâ€™s are sportier, wider and of lower profile, 225/45R-17s, also all-season but of higher performance intent.
And then thereâ€™s the GTI, the enthusiastâ€™s variant of the new Golf, a separate model really. The GTI is powered by VWâ€™s 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 producing 210 bhp and 206 lb.-ft. of torque. Itâ€™s available with either a 6-speed manual transmission or VWâ€™s DSG (as in Direkt Schalt Getriebe, i.e., Direct Shift Gearbox).
The Golf has been an extremely successful model for the Wolfsburg, Germany, based automaker. Since 1974 VW has sold more than 26 million Golfs in 120 countries around the world. In fact, at one time or another, the model has been manufactured in more than a few countries. First-generation Rabbits were produced in the late 1970s in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. VW was the first European automaker to establish production facilities in the U.S. in the modern era.