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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2003 Volkswagen Golf Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2003 Volkswagen Golf Overview

The New Peoples Car

The Golf is VWs entry-level vehicle, yet its rich list of standard equipment and its impressive safety resume make this one of the best entry-level values on the market. The Golf is a roomy, versatile vehicle available as both a 2-door and 4-door hatchback. Though classified as a compact car, the Golf feels substantial, with a wide stance that helps it hug the road and an excellent build quality that never leaves you with the impression of driving a tiny, lightweight economy car.

From your first look inside the Golf, youll be impressed by the quality, look and feel of the material used to assemble the car. The height-adjustable front seats are firm and supportive with adjustable headrests that move in four directions and can be locked into place to help avoid whiplash. The two-tone dash and door panels are covered in a soft vinyl and the instrumentation is brightly backlit in red with the speedometer and tachometer bathed in a soft blue hue. Lights in the floor well, overhead console, rear luggage area and rear C-pillars ensure youll never need to pull out a flashlight to read a map or locate that occasional french-fry that escapes onto the floor.

The Golfs hatchback design has been a part of the vehicle's makeup since its introduction in the U.S. some 18 years ago. The hatchback door makes the Golf both functional and attractive, with a tall rear opening and folding rear seats that can turn the five-passenger Golf into a mini pickup truck. Youll be amazed at how much stuff you can pack into this car, making it the perfect choice for both caravaning college commuters and soccer moms everywhere.

More impressive than the Golfs cargo abilities are its safety features. Youll find the Golf performs extremely well in both government and private industry crash tests, thanks in part to the extensive use of crumple zones and its standard front, side and side-curtain airbags. The Golf also features front seat belt pretensioners (they take up the belts' slack in the event of an impact) and the LATCH system for child seats. Even the rear seat passengers are secure, with adjustable head restraints and three-point safety belts at all three seating positions.

On the road, youll find the Golf to be an impressive performer, both in handling and fuel consumption. The standard 2.0-liter engine is rated at 115-horsepower and returns an EPA city/highway rating of 24/31 mpg with the five speed manual. The 2.0-liter is no speed demon, but it can pull the Golf with ease, though you may find the performance with the optional automatic transmission is somewhat less capable. If fuel economy is your number one priority, than the Golfs optional 1.9-liter TDI engine is one worth looking into. The TDI is a turbo diesel engine that will shatter your conception of diesel cars as loud, slow, smelly brutes. The TDI does not belch black smoke nor is it much louder than its gasoline counterpart. And though it has 25 fewer horses under the hood, its hefty torque rating allows the TDI to accelerate just as quickly—and in some cases even faster—as the 2.0-liter gas model. Best of all is the amazing fuel economy rating of 42 mpg city and 49 mpg highway. The TDI also requires less maintenance and like all diesels, has a reputation for being extremely long lived.

There are two trim levels available on the Golf: GL and GLS. The two-door Golf is available only in the base GL trim, while the four-door comes in both. The GL features an impressive list of standard equipment including air conditioning, a 5-speed manual transmission, power anti-lock front and rear disc brakes, rear defroster, remote hatch release, dual heated power mirrors, power windows with one-touch up/down feature, power door locks, remote locking, AM/FM stereo with CD and cassette, cruise control, tilt telescoping steering wheel, full-wheel covers and cloth bucket seats. To this already impressive list of equipment, the GLS model adds a power glass moonroof, 15-inch alloy wheels and optional heated seats and windshield wiper nozzles (this package will be made optional on the GL model later in the year.) Music lovers will be thrilled to know that the powerful Monsoon sound system is optional on both models as well.

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