High mileage and low emissions don’t mean boring driving. This year VW, one of the long-standing kings of small-car diesel, proves it with the 2010 Golf hatchback, a sporty clean diesel that’s perfectly affordable. Using the same 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine as its cousin, the 2009 Jetta sedan, the Golf TDI hits 50 mpg on the highway—30 percent better economy than a comparable gas engine, but with 25 percent less carbon emissions. Yet unlike diesel competitors, the Golf and the Jetta meet stringent emissions rules without having to carry exhaust-scrubbing urea solution.
From $22,000; vw.com