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2015 Volkswagen Golf Review

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2015 Volkswagen Golf 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

#7

out of 9

Fuel Economy

#1

out of 9

Horsepower
View all rankings

Consumer Rating

9.2 out of 10
View all
consumer ratings
2015 Volkswagen Golf 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
2015 Volkswagen Golf 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 Details
2015 Volkswagen Golf 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 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 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.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 92 Ratings for the 2010 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.3/10
    Quality
    9.5/10
  • Reliability
    9.3/10
    Performance
    9.6/10
  • Comfort
    9.3/10
    Styling
    9.2/10

A Practical, Fun To Drive, and Safe Car.

By on Saturday, May 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 790

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive, practical, premium interior, fast"

Cons: "No USB ports, Better transmision feel/shifts"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

My 2015 Volkswagen Golf TSI S Four Door

"I've had my 2015 Volkswagen Golf TSI Four door with a six speed automatic for almost three weeks now, so I can't say too much as far as reliability goes yet. What I can say is that as someone who has driven almost every car in the compact car segment as part of my job (I work for a rental car company), I can say that my Golf smokes the base models of those cars in driving experience, ride quality, practicality, and looks. The driving dynamics about the Golf are what drew me to it the most. It handles better than most of the "hot" versions of other compact cars, and its the base models. The handling is neutral with very composed body roll, so you can chuck it into corners and cruise back-roads in it and have an absolutely great time. This is all while having a suspension setup that simultaneously soaks up all but the most jarring and wide pavement cracks while providing great cornering feel and stability. The back end is also very planted for such a light rear, and can easily dance around any corner it wants to. It's not a sporty car, but it sure behaves like one when thrown into a turn. The power-train is second to none. The 1.8L Turbo has all the power you want to pass anything you want on the highway, and the engine note is only apparent when you really push the accelerator. The rest of the time the engine is relatively quiet. The six speed automatic is a near perfect transmission, my only complaint being my preference for it to perhaps be a bit more soft at lower speeds. Sport mode doesn't seem to make a much noticeable difference so I just shift with the paddles when I get a chance. So far I'm averaging 30 MPG combined on 87 Octane regular, which is just what I was expecting and am very happy to meet. Practicality is awesome. My 6'2" stepfather was able to sit in the back seat without issues. The leatherette seats are so good you won't notice they're fake, an opinion seconded by a longtime German car mechanic in my family who has driven several generations (including the most recent) of Mercedes-Benz S class. The air conditioning system gets perfect air blasts and is very flexible, and defrosts the mirrors fast enough. The movable trunk floor is a great feature. I've already moved two beach chairs in the Golf without having to put the seat down, and I had no rear visibility issues. The technology in the Golf is second to none. Volkswagen's touch screen is not the largest I've seen in a compact, but it is hands down the best as far as responsiveness and graphics. Syncing my phone took very little time whatsoever, the sound system is amazing, and the number of buttons and dials is helpful when the touch screen is finnicky. My only gripe with the technology package is the lack of a proper USB port, which is rather irritating but not a deal breaker. Perhaps make the transmission a bit better at slow speeds and add some USB ports. But other than those issues, I could not be happier with my 2015 Volkswagen Golf. There is no car out there that I would consider buying for the money."

24 people out of 42 found this review helpful

My 2015 Volkswagen Golf TSI S Four Door

Everything That I Wanted

By on Friday, May 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Gas mileage, good styling, comfortable"

Cons: "Manual Day/Night rearview mirror"

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

My car & the Battleship North Carolina

"I was researching for a new car that was small, comfortable, drives well, and fuel efficient I didn't think that I could find them all in one car. VW invented the hatchback and this new model shows the experience. The inside is comfortable and gives the feeling of a luxury car . The outside is sporty and is very pleasing to the eye. I didn't know what to expect with a diesel. I waited until the coldest morning of the year (15F) and asked to start the car cold. It turned over w/o any problems and drove well. I love my diesel! It's responsive, smooth and is getting a little over 50 mpg. The only thing I found different is that the diesel is more efficient then a gas engine, so it takes about 4 times the distance to warm up to a point where the heater is issuing heat in the winter. The heated seats, that I didn't think I needed, feel great on those days. It's everything I was looking for and I am enjoying everything about it."

6 people out of 8 found this review helpful

My car & the Battleship North Carolina

never had such value, mileage and performance

By on Wednesday, May 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,700

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"mileage over 44000 miles has averaged 35 in town and 42 on long trips and the power of a V6 it is simply amazing."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

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