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2015 Volkswagen Golf

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2015 Volkswagen Golf Expert Review

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IMPORTANT NOTE: Please be aware that this vehicle's diesel engine is involved in a Notice of Violation of the Clean Air Act issued by the EPA to Volkswagen for producing and selling 4-cylinder diesel cars that include a software device that circumvents EPA emissions standards for certain air pollutants. The EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) determined that these diesel cars emit up to 40 times more pollution than emission standards allow. Recalls, investigations and litigation are currently ongoing.

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

#14

out of 17

Fuel Economy

#2

out of 18

Horsepower
View all rankings

Consumer Rating

9.8 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
9.8
Out of 10

Based on 6 Ratings for the 2015 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.7/10
    Quality
    10.0/10
  • Reliability
    10.0/10
    Performance
    10.0/10
  • Comfort
    9.8/10
    Styling
    10.0/10

Best car I have ever owned.

By on Saturday, May 21, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great over all vehicle. Fun to drive. Comfortable."

Cons: "None."

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

"I own a 2015 Golf. I traded in a 2012 Golf. I love these cars. And the 2015/16 is the best Golf ever. One can easily drive this car around town or across country. It is that comfortable. I have had not one problem with the car."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Phenomenal Car-Even in An Accident!

By on Wednesday, May 11, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000

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: "Turbocharged Power, Handling, Ride Quality, Safety"

Cons: "No USB Port on 2015s, Somewhat Wonky Transmission"

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

"I never intended on purchasing a Volkswagen Golf back in 2015, but after reading several reviews I felt I had to give it a look. The Golf has everything one can need for basic transportation. Want a fuel efficient car? My Golf averages 34.5 MPG in mixed driving across New Jersey (highways and urban driving). Want a car that can handle the freeway? The Golf feels like it has more than enough power with its 1.8L turbo four, easily handling highway speeds and passing traffic with aplomb. Want a comfortable car? The Golf is quieter, rides better, and has better seats than most luxury cars that are twice as expensive. Want a car that can haul stuff and people? Last summer my Golf took four friends and all the gear for our beach encampment down to the Jersey Shore at least six times and no one complained about space. But the real reason that I am utterly satisfied with my purchase of a Mk7 Golf comes from safety. My Golf does not have any of the optional extras, but when it was rear ended three weeks ago so hard it was thrown into a roadside retaining wall, it kept both myself and my girlfriend safe and left us in better shape than the man who rear ended us in his 50,000 dollar Infiniti Q50. The picture above proves such. If it were not for the Golf, my girlfriend and I may have had to been brought to the hospital on gurneys in an ambulance. Because of it, we actually were able to drive ourselves three miles to the hospital (it later had to be towed because the seatbelts locked out). Sure, my Golf isn't perfect. My biggest gripe, the automatic transmission, seems to always upshift too eagerly and gets rather confused in urban driving. And not having an actual USB port and instead having to shell out money for the Volkswagen proprietary USB cable is rather irksome. But those are small quibbles. If you're looking for a safe, fun to drive, fast, and practical car, look no further. I would handedly recommend a Golf to all my friends."

7 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Great car. Much better Mileage than rated

By on Thursday, January 21, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000

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
9/10

Pros: "Mileage, styling, cargo room."

Cons: "poor seats, emission recall"

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

"I have a TDI Golf Sportwagen and absolutely love this car. It's well laid out, handles well although it's not a GTI, it has tons of room. More than most horrible SUV's that litter our roads. I got it to tow my sailboat and for the mileage. The mileage is waaaay better than I was expecting. The worst I have gotten on a tank of gas is 41.8 while pulling my boat on a 1600 mile trip. It would have been better if not for 2 several hour traffic jams. I usually average 47 mpg combined and the worst I've had without towing is 43.5. I only have 2 negative things to say about this car.First of course is the emissions recall and the second are the seats. I've heard people say the seats have won praises from doctors but I find the lumbar support horribly inadequate. My old 323i was 10x better as is my wife's GTI."

9 people out of 14 found this review helpful

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