By Matt DeLorenzo
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 upcoming Golf SportWagen, and an EV in the form of the eGolf. 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.
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.
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.
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, within a year, the Golf R performance version, the eGolf EV and Golf SportWagen.
Driving Impressions At launch, buyers will be able to choose from the 1.8-liter gasoline TSI model, the 2.0-liter gasoline GTI, and the 2.0-liter TDI turbodiesel. 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 a little snappier off the line 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. If you're aggressive with the throttle, you'll feel a bit of torque-steer tug through the steering wheel, but the handling is razor sharp with precise steering to match.
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.
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
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.
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. The top-line SEL model features 18-inch alloy wheels, navigation and sport comfort seats with 12-way power adjustment.
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.
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. 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 three 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 requires premium fuel.
1.8-liter turbocharged inline-4
170 horsepower @ 4,500 rpm
200 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/37 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: 31/42 mpg (manual), NA (automatic)
VW will be offering a Golf Launch Edition, a 2-door hatch priced just under $18,815 including destination charges, which is competitive against its competitive set, which includes Kia Forte, Ford Focus, Mazda Mazda3 and Subaru Impreza. The step-up 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. 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 get a better idea of what Golf buyers in your area are paying for their new cars, be sure to check out the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price.
By Disldub on Monday, October 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,555overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "fuel milage, reliable, fun to drive,"
Cons: "parts expense, no bi xenon's missing euro goodies"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have no real qualms about my Golf TDi other than the parts can be expensive off warranty, but if you are competent enough to do your own work its not to bad. To be honest for what you pay you get a pretty basic car, which in a way isn't too bad for what you get. In would of love to have seen bi-xenon headlamps standard on this high level of a car, along with real leather, and some other little things like chrome switch accents standard. I have added a bunch of European only options to mine just to make it different, but in all seriousness for what I paid to do it myself VW should of shipped them with these options. Ride is very firm, and at times rough with the tires inflated tonspex or above for max mpgs, wind noise is tolerable, road noise is not, I added about 100 pounds in sound deadener products to aid it and made a huge difference, again why not standard, when you have high end tires on it and cannot hear the radio at a comfortable level at 60-70 mph something's not right in a nearly $30 grand car new. I average 42-44 mpgs overall, even with spirited driving. I hope to have this little car for a long time coming."
2 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Jess on Sunday, October 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Not too expensive, fun to drive"
Cons: "Difficult to get in back seats"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"I'm a high school student and my parents bought this car for me used to share with my brother and two other younger siblings (once they get their licenses). It terms of value and quality, the car seems top notch. The reliability is usually pretty good, but when it's raining it is difficult to accelerate through turns, which is partially the tires fault but it still is kind of frustrating. It is a super fun car to drive and the speakers are nice for long rides. In regards to the design: I'm not a huge fan. It's really cute from the outside, but the inside just does not work as well for me. Specifically, the touchscreen for the radio is dangerous to work while driving because you actually have to read it. THIS CAR DOES NOT HAVE AUTOMATIC LIGHTS. This seems like something that would be intuitive in a 2012 vehicle. Also, I got the car in the winter and every time I would drive it a random ding noise would go off and I was worried something was wrong with the car. After about a month, I realized that every time that it goes below 40 degrees outside (which is pretty much every day from November to march) the car makes this noise. My least favorite part about the car is the comfort and convenience. Being extremely short, the small height of the car is not that big of a deal. But my brother and dad are constantly complaining about how there is not enough room, especially if either has the misfortune to sit in the backseat. Although the car is able to fold the seats down for extra space, I have to leave them up and I am left with a too small trunk that, ironically, can only barely fit my golf clubs and pull cart without obstructing my rear window. Overall, if you have any tall family members or need more space go for the 4 door instead of the 2 door, you will thank yourself in time."
6 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By jiteng on Thursday, August 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 750overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Economical, powerful, fun to drive"
Cons: "none so far"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I was looking for an economy hatch (around $25K) that was extremely comfortable for long trips, quiet at hwy speeds, gave great hwy mpgs and had decent tech. The choice came down to 3 cars- Mazda3 2.5GT, Kia Forte5 and the 2015 Golf TSI SE. The Kia has the best technology and creature comforts including heated and cooled driver seat, heated steering wheel etc... But I did not enjoy how it drove and the interior felt sort of lower tier. The Mazda3 was extremely impressive in just about every area but a lack of storage around the driver and no option for a lighter blue had me look toward the Golf. When I finally test drove it I felt like I was home. Just perfect in every area. Quieter and more comfortable than the other cars on the road, great storage everywhere including a large door pocket, storage under the seat and on the left of the steering wheel in addition to the center console and center stack. The infotainment system sounds incredible (since it's made by Fender- 400W sub woofer located inside the spare tire) and has a nice 5.8 inch color touch screen that works like a smart phone screen with swipes and pinches. Plus the Blue Silk Metallic is a beautiful blue. I bought the SE model with the lighting package which includes bi-Xenon lights with Adaptive front lighting and LED DRls (Adds $995). Including Chrome exhaust tips, mud flaps and monster mats I paid $26K including destination. I have only driven it around 700 miles so far but it's a dream. I am averaging around 30mpg but that's 90% city. I've seen MFD show between 38 and 40 mpg during the brief hwy driving at around 70mph. I expect it should easily get 40mpg on long trips. The 1.8T is a really powerful engine for this class and pulls the car extremely well - 0-60 in about 7.5 sec with the automatic. The low end torque 200 lbs/ft starts around 1500 rpm so the car shoots out of a stop light with amazing quickness. Hwy passing is cinch. It doesn't feel like it's laboring at all and there is almost no turbo lag. I think this is the best car I could have bought that fit my specifications and plus the German dynamics is just an added bonus."
21 people out of 34 found this review helpful