Advertisement

Why ads?
Go

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI Review

Get Your Fair Purchase Price See actual transaction prices, explore total cost to own, projected resale value and more. See what you should pay

Buy used | Trade-in/Sell

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI Expert Review

By

The launch of the seventh generation of the Volkswagen Golf represents a major turning point in the car's history: No longer is it simply a model – the Golf – but rather a family of vehicles that includes 2-door and 4-door hatchbacks, performance variants like the Golf GTI and Golf R, the Golf SportWagen, and an EV in the form of the e-Golf. Not only does the Golf family offer a little bit of something for everyone, but in its most basic hatchback form, it has grown larger, offers a new family of gasoline, diesel and electric powerplants, while still retaining the practical and fun-to-drive attributes that have served a loyal customer base well.

You'll Like This Car If...

The VW Golf is a bit counterculture. It's a hatch when most cars are sedans, and its German roots go against the grain, since most cars in this segment are either Asian or domestic. The Golf offers tremendous utility and good fuel economy, a fun-to-drive spirit, and one of the best interiors in its class.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The Golf's 2-box shape is not for everyone. Those looking for traditional styling and a separate trunk might prefer sedans like the Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic. Also, if fuel economy is a priority, there are hybrids that offer as much or more fuel economy than the Golf diesel.

How It Ranks

#9

out of 15

Fuel Economy

#2

out of 15

Horsepower
View all rankings

Consumer Rating

9.5 out of 10
View all
consumer ratings
2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI Low/wide front photo What's New for 2015

The 2015 VW Golf is all-new, 2.5 inches longer and a half-inch wider. With 5-passenger comfort and the cargo space of a midsize sedan, the new Golf weighs almost 80 pounds less than its predecessor. It features new turbocharged engines, formally adds the GTI to the family and has on deck the Golf R performance version, the e-Golf EV and Golf SportWagen.

Driving the Golf GTI
2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI Front angle view photo

Driving Impressions The Golf's most popular iterations are the 1.8-liter gasoline TSI, the 2.0-liter gasoline GTI, and the 2.0-liter TDI turbodiesel, while the niche Golf R appeals to performance junkies and the...

... all-electric e-Golf is available in select states. The TSI and TDI share the same suspension and driving characteristics – turn-in is crisp and the performance on par, though the diesel has an advantage in torque, making it a feel snappier than the 1.8. Still, the gasoline engine model has a smooth linear feel, and with a traditional 6-speed automatic transmission, the Golf has solid road manners and a comfortable ride. If you seek more thrills, the GTI, which can be had with either a 6-speed manual gearbox or DSG automatic, has more horsepower and a willing spirit that invites hard driving. The 292-horsepower Golf R is the best performing model to date. Standard 4motion all-wheel drive transmits that power to the asphalt for 0-60 mph bursts under five seconds while also enabling the Golf R to stick to the road in hard cornering.

CENTER CONSOLE TOUCH SCREEN
Standard on all Golfs is a new 5.8-inch center console touch screen. The device features a capacitive touch sensor similar to smartphone technology, which instead of requiring pressure touch to activate, allows gesture control by swiping and pinch zooming.

XDS CROSS DIFFERENTIAL SYSTEM
Previously offered only on the GTI, all Golfs benefit from this electronic substitute for mechanical limited-slip differentials. If the suspension becomes unloaded in a turn, braking is applied to the inside wheel to prevent understeer, which improves handling.

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI Details
2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

The new Golf continues VW's tradition of having an upscale look to its interior, using high-quality materials, soft-touch surfaces and piano black trim. The cabin has more shoulder room in both rows. Cargo volume is 16.5 cubic feet below the parcel shelf and 22.8 cubic feet to the roof. Loading is easier thanks to lower liftover in the rear hatch. The rear seat has a 60/40 split rear-folding back, expanding the load space to 52.7 cubic feet when lowered. There's plenty of front-seat storage in the center console and door panels, and a nifty mini glovebox to the left of the steering column.

Exterior
2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI photo

Even though all the sheet metal is new, the car is instantly recognizable as a Golf. While the 2-box profile is the same, all the surfaces appear to be highly tailored with crisp character lines that start at the base of the steeper hood and new narrow horizontal grille, which is flanked by sharper headlight clusters. The distinctive C-pillar treatment recalls earlier Golf generations, adding to the familiarity of the overall look. The car is about 1.1 inches lower in overall height, and the wider track gives it a more muscular, purposeful appearance. The Golf R and e-Golf are 4-door only. The Golf R sits lower than its siblings and is also distinguished by four exhaust outlets.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Among the standard features are power windows and door locks, air conditioning, a touch-screen infotainment system, Bluetooth connectivity, Sirius XM satellite radio, and a media-device interface with iPod integration. S models feature aluminum-alloy wheels, V-Tex leatherette seating, steering wheel controls, and cruise control. Four-door models also have partial-power front seats. Golf SE models add a rearview camera and Fender Premium Audio System. SEL model features 18-inch alloy wheels, navigation and sport comfort seats with 12-way power adjustment. In addition to blistering performance, the Golf R offers leather seats, automatic climate control, and bi-xenon headlights. All new Golfs include one year/10,000 miles of free scheduled maintenance.

Optional Equipment

A 6-speed automatic transmission is available on TSI models, as is the exclusive Fender audio system. A driver assistance package – available throughout the Golf line – features forward-collision warning, and front and rear park-distance control. The 6-speed DSG automatic is optional on the GTI and the diesel TDI. On the GTI, options include an $800 adaptive-damping system and a $1,495 performance package, which includes larger brakes. Golf R models can be further upgraded with VW's DCC adaptive damping system that can tailor the car for "comfort," "normal" or "race" modes.

Under the Hood
2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI Engine photo

The Golf family of engines includes an all-new turbocharged gasoline 4-cylinder in 1.8-liter and 2.0-liter displacements. The 1.8-liter engine is available with a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission, while the GTI's 2.0-liter comes with a 6-speed manual transmission or, optionally, the 6-speed DSG automatic. The 292-horsepower 2.0-liter Golf R has all-wheel drive and is launching with the DSG. A manual transmission will arrive a few months after launch, debuting in 2016 models. Also new is the 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel on the Golf TDI. Like the Golf GTI, the diesel-powered Golf is paired with a 6-speed manual or the optional DSG automatic transmission. All engines feature cast-iron blocks with five main bearings and aluminum heads. Unleaded regular is recommended on the 1.8-liter TSI, while the 2.0-liter GTI and R require premium fuel. The e-Golf uses an electric motor and has an estimated range of 83 miles. It can recharged in about four hours on a 240-volt outlet and is compatible with DC fast-charging stations.

1.8-liter turbocharged inline-4
170 horsepower @ 4,500 rpm
200 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/37 mpg (manual), 26/36 mpg (automatic)

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (GTI)
210 horsepower @ 4,500 rpm
220 horsepower @ 4,700 (optional performance pack)
258 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/34 mpg (manual), 25/33 mpg (automatic)

2.0-liter turbocharged diesel inline-4 (TDI)
150 horsepower @ 3,500 rpm
236 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 30/45 mpg (manual), 31/43 mpg (automatic)

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (Golf R)
292 horsepower @ 5,400 rpm
280 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/31 mpg (manual), 23/30 mpg (automatic)

AC synchronous electric motor (e-Golf)
115 horsepower @ 3,000 rpm
199 lb-ft of torque @ 0-3,000 rpm
EPA-estimated range per full charge: 83 miles
EPA city/highway fuel economy equivalent: 126/105 mpge

VW offers a Golf Launch Edition, a 2-door hatch priced at $18,815 including destination charges, which is competitive against Kia Forte, Ford Focus, Mazda Mazda3 and Subaru Impreza. The S model is $19,815 for a 2-door and $21,815 for the 4-door. SE models start at $25,315 and the top-line SEL starts at $28,815. Diesel models add about $1,000. The sporty GTI starts at $25,215 and tops out at $31,515, which includes the DSG automatic transmission, navigation and automatic air conditioning. The 4-door Golf R starts at $37,415. Models equipped with variable rate shocks, Navigation and 19-inch wheels have an MSRP of $39,910. The e-Golf begins just over $36,000 before incentives and is available in California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, D.C. Being all-new, resale prices for the 2015 Volkswagen Golf have yet to be forecast, but historically, Golfs tend to play on the weaker side of the residuals field.

To find out what consumers are really paying for this vehicle, first select a style to see the Fair Purchase Price| Calculate payments for this vehicle

Get Your Fair Purchase Price See actual transaction prices, explore total cost to own, projected resale value and more.

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.5
Out of 10

Based on 4 Ratings for the 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    7.8/10
    Quality
    10.0/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    9.8/10
  • Comfort
    10.0/10
    Styling
    9.8/10

Jack of all trades, master of none

By on Friday, July 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "fun, efficient, practical, interior materials"

Cons: "price, reliability"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"The GTI is a jack-of-all-trades but master of none. It's quick and fun, but not the quickest, most fun car around. It's practical but not like a wagon or SUV or minivan. It's efficient but no Prius (or TDI). It's never the perfect car for what you're doing at any moment, there's always something else that would be better. But let's say you don't get to choose a different car every day and you have to stick with one all year round, and you like to have fun. Then the GTI is the most-optimal solution. It's the car for people who like fun cars and have an id and ego, but have a superego preventing us from making impractical choices in terms of number of doors, seats, cargo room, fuel efficiency. Your id won't ever be truly happy with the GTI, but your superego will pat you on the back for making the right choice."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Best hot hatch!

By on Monday, June 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Handling, performance, fun, utility."

Cons: "None"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I recently got a 2015 C300 and I was so disappointed in it, I paid $3500 to get out of my lease after 3 months. I got lucky when the GTI Autobahn DSG (Performance Pack, lighting) became available (as they are in short supply right now) that I bought it soon after giving the MB back. You would think that coming down from a new Mercedes would be a little strange, but let me say that the overall quality of this car is on par and in some respects (paint work) better than the MB. Power is plenty for this lightweight car and handling is super sharp. As the other reviewers have mentioned, every time I drive it I am smiling - how many cars can do that nowadays for around $33k. I would recommend this car to anyone that is thinking about it - if you can get one :-)"

17 people out of 29 found this review helpful

Best car ever, own over 40 cars in my life time

By on Friday, February 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 400

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "quality, amenities, driving and fun to drive"

Cons: "none"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I trade a Fiat Abarth I was driving for 2 years. After driving the Gti manual transmission the $3k more you pay for this car; is great quality and good many standard futures. Vw really did a great job on this car In my house, my nephew got also the 2015 gti for about 7 months and also love it"

16 people out of 33 found this review helpful

Advertisement

Why ads?
Get Your Fair Purchase Price See actual transaction prices, explore total cost to own, projected resale value and more.