Let us just say, for the record, that everyone on staff here loves driving our long-term 2015 Volkswagen Golf SE. If "best compact car" was determined solely by driving characteristics, it's pretty much a hands-down winner. It's a near ideal blend of sport and comfort, and the fact that it looks great, has plenty of space for people and things, and gets great fuel economy is just icing on the cake.

It makes it all the more heartbreaking that can't proclaim unconditional love for the little blue VW hatchback. Ever since we took delivery of our Golf back in October last year, it has experienced an odd wobble in the front end. It happens at light-to-medium throttle, at low speeds (12-16 mph), at low revs (1,500-2,000 rpm) and mostly in second gear. It's a momentary wiggle that could be dismissed as a bumpy road, until you realize you feel it all the time. Once you notice it, you can't un-notice it, and the circumstances under which it happens -- low speed, low revs, low gears -- precisely align with the kinds of conditions you'll find in Southern California traffic. Put another way: commuting in this car was a wobbly chore.

Axle woes

What caused it and how to fix it was a mystery. Our first attempt at taking it to the dealer for service didn't quite work out. While they replaced both front axles under warranty, the car felt exactly the same after the swap. Later, it was suggested that the fix had something to do with carpet clips, which didn't sound right at all. So we hit the Internet, and discovered a lengthy discussion about the exact same problem on VW Vortex, one of the more reputable owner's forums. We contacted Volkswagen directly about the problem, and the company sent a technician to confirm the problem for himself. A few days later the Golf returned, better than new, with the wobble finally gone.

Also: Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards of 2015 

Jetta to the rescue

So what was the problem? As it turns out, the first dealership was on the right track by replacing the axle shafts, but a straight-up swap wasn't the answer. The fix replaced the original axles with those from a VW Jetta, which are from a different supplier. From the work invoice: "Both axle checked and road tested, duplicated shimmy...advise to replace axles and install new axles from Jetta." All work was performed under warranty.

From our perspective, it looks like there's a supplier problem with the Golf axles, which in some cases are out of spec in such a way to cause the wobble only in TSI models equipped with the 6-speed automatic transmission. Exactly how we're not sure, and Volkswagen spokesman Darryll Harrison says that VW is analyzing the problem to determine the scope and to see how many vehicles are affected. For now, if you're experiencing this wobble in your 2015 VW Golf, go through the dealership. All VW dealers should either be aware of the problem and should replace the axles with the correct, non-wobbling part. If you have questions, call VW's Customer Care line at 1-800-822-8987, or check www.vw.com/contact/ for more details on how to contact Volkswagen.

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