Ever since Volkswagen launched its latest clean diesel technology on its 2009 Jetta, the German car manufacturer has been promoting it as an exciting option to electric/hybrid cars. This year, Volkswagen is presenting the TDI engine in the VW Golf, the VW Jetta, the VW Jetta SportWagon and in the VW Touareg. While the 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI could concentrate on being a fuel-efficient city car, it’s really a mid-level model between the base Golf and the high-performance VW GTI.

The Volkswagen Golf TDI is offered as a two- or four-door hatchback, and it battles with a broad range of vehicles varying from economical hatchbacks like the Toyota Yaris, sportier hatchbacks like the Volvo C30 and even hybrid hatchbacks like the Honda Insight. Even though the base Golf has a preliminary MSRP of $17,490, the diesel-burning VW Golf TDI has a starting price of $21,990. The 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI meets the requirements for the federal Advanced Lean-Burn Vehicles tax credit, which adds up to $1,300 for the manual and $1,700 for the automatic transmission.

Volkswagen, which long ago fashioned its status on a single small car – the Beatle – has once again demonstrated that small cars can be mutually efficient and entertaining with the 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI. In its back-and-forth identification scheme for the compact hatchback, the Golf nameplate comes back yet again for its sixth-generation design. While sharing the moniker with its European equivalent, the North American version of the Golf TDI is currently offered with a diesel engine. Installing a small, yet powerful, diesel engine under the hood has made this inexpensive, small hatchback a thrilling car to drive that just happens to be quite the “green” car as well. The Volkswagen Golf TDI is living proof that helping save the environment doesn’t necessarily mean costly or boring.