After spending some quality time with our 2015 Volkswagen Golf TSI 5-door hatchback, it's easy to see why the 7th generation Golf snagged North American Car of the Year honors. Our Golf has a handsome exterior, nicely trimmed cabin and above all, is fun to drive. The seating area is generous for a car its size, the hatch and split folding rear seat allows for tremendous flexibility-including hauling a 6-foot Christmas tree home inside the car. The only complaints so far are the lack of a navigation system, even though the car has a nice touchscreen, and the lack of USB ports-there is a rather dated iPhone/iPod connector, however.

Aside from that, the turbocharged 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine which is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission is particularly impressive. This new generation EA 888 powerplant spools up its 170 horsepower quickly and delivers snappy acceleration. Rather than using the DSG twin-clutch setup found in the TDI diesel and GTI performance model, the TSI relies on a conventional torque converter gearbox to drive the front wheels. It provides smooth and sure shifts and comes on our particular model with paddles for a sequential shift mode if the spirit moves you. While this combo works admirably, we've detected a slight vibration in first gear under partial throttle acceleration-it's really minor, but we will have it looked into at our first regularly scheduled service interval.

Also: Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards of 2015

Currently, we've clocked in just over 3,000 miles and our overall mileage is 26.3 mpg, which is about a mile more than its EPA city rating, however, on our most recent single tank calculation, the Golf TSI averaged 28.8 mpg. We expect fuel economy to rise as the engine continues to break in. 

Perhaps the best part about the 2015 Golf is the fact that it is so seamless. There is little that gets in the way of enjoying this car, whether you're stuck commuting mindlessly in stop-and-go traffic, or you get a break and a bit of winding road that invites you to stretch the legs of the car a bit. It's the latter that really sets the Golf apart from other compacts, it's so nimble that it seems to urge you to push the envelope. Now that we have a few miles on the car and its settling in, we can't wait to take it on an extended road trip.

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