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Volkswagen's New Golf Really Swings

Volkswagens have come a long way since their Beetle engines (which sounded more like lawn mowers than cars) were mounted in their teeny little trunks. But some 60 years after statesideBeetle-mania began, Volkswagen continues to reinvent itself. And with the 2011 Golf, it's practically born again.

"We just make great cars," says Sam Curcio, sales specialist at Riverbank Volkswagen in Stamford. "And the Golf is fantastic. I just can't say enough good things about this car." But he manages to do just that, and rattles off a list of this compact hatchback's features that make a gear-head shift into overdrive. The car comes in either two- or four-door configurations and is available in two trim levels, the 2.5L or TDI. The base 2.5L includes 15-inch steel wheels, heated outside mirrors, air-conditioning, cruise control, a trip computer, full power accessories, eight-way manually adjustable front seats, split-folding rear seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, metallic interior trim and an eight-speaker stereo with a CD/MP3 player. The interior is roomy and the driving is responsive and peppy, he says.

Sam, who used to be a Volkswagen mechanic and is more than familiar with the brand's inner workings, is just as impressed with another of the Golf's features. "It's very safe," he says. "Its B pillars are triple-seam, not spot-welded, and there are door and roof beams." And though the "really hot" car seems to be appealing to buyers between the ages of 20-30, its longevity is appealing to anyone who plans to hold onto their investment for years to come. He says, "It's not unusual for Volkswagens in general to last for 200,000 miles if they're maintained well."

And according to the US News & World Report, The Golf ranked fourth out of 30 Affordable Small Cars. Take a test drive with a 5-speed manual transmission and you'll be thinking that it's less an affordable small vehicle -- with a starting price of about $19,000 -- than it is a fun little sports car.

The VW Beetle is definitely an iconic vehicle. Do you have any "classic VW" stories to share? Feel free to write any here, or to email me, at jcurtis@mainstreetconnect.us.

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