2015 Volkswagen Golf Consumer Review

2015 Volkswagen Golf Consumer Review

This model year marks the introduction of the seventh generation Volkswagen Golf.

Keeping to the same formula that has given this compact hatchback a legion of loyal fans around the globe, at first glance it may be hard to tell the 2015 Golf apart from the 2014 Golf.

But that has always been the case when the Golf transitions from one generation to the next. Despite its familiar appearance, the changes inside and out are substantial. New engines, new technologies and added refinement define the 2015 Golf, and it’s good.

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We liked it so much, it earned a spot as a finalist in the 2015 AutoGuide.com Car of Year awards. Having won over the editors at AutoGuide.com, it’s time for the Golf’s next challenge; winning over general consumers. To get a sample of what the car buying public thinks of the new Golf, we’ve once again enlisted Amanda, our general consumer car reviewer to get her impressions on the latest offering form Volkswagen.

The Specs

Three engines are offered in the new Golf, two turbocharged gasoline engines and one turbocharged diesel. The volume seller for the model line should be the 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 170 HP and 199 lb-ft or torque. It can be matched to a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.

For evaluation, Amanda has a four-door Golf SEL with the 1.8 turbo engine and automatic transmission. Officially rated at 25 MPG city and 36 MPG highway, during her week with the car she was able to achieve a 31 MPG average.

Weighing in at 3,023 lbs., the Golf’s rear hatch can swallow 22.8 cubic feet of cargo with the rear seats up and 52.7 cubic feet when they are folded down. Legroom in the back is average at best, offering just 35.6 inches.

The 2015 Volkswagen Golf starts at $18,185 after destination charges, while Amanda’s loaded up SEL model came in at $29,505 as tested.

How Does it Drive?

Amanda fell in love with the way the Golf drives almost immediately. She found it to be smooth, sporty and sophisticated. Even at freeway speeds, the car remained stable with lots of power still on tap. Getting up to these speeds was no problem thanks to the nearly 200 lb-ft of torque and passing maneuvers can be done with full confidence.

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She found the Golf hugs the road and brakes smoothly. As someone who usually finds driving more of a task than a joy, I was shocked when Amanda claimed that driving the Golf made her 45-minute commute enjoyable.

The View from Inside

Amanda found the driver’s seat easy to adjust and quickly found an optimal position. The side view mirrors easy to adjust as well, but she found the toggle switch used to control them a little annoying to use.

The navigation unit is easy to use and programming in a destination can be done quickly enough. She liked that the route guidance is displayed between the gauge cluster in front of the driver. There were some issues though with a few of the GPS’s secondary systems, like turning on voice prompts during route guidance, that took a while to figure out.

What She Liked

Amanda loved the constrained, upscale look of the Golf both inside and out. She liked the look and feel of the finishes used throughout the dashboard and the quality of the leather seats. A bonus in her books is the motorized pop-out review camera that when not in operation, hides behind the Volkswagen logo on the rear hatch.

What She Didn’t Like

Amanda found that the infotainment can be difficult to use. Aside from the aforementioned navigation issues, the audio controls also took her longer than usual to grasp. She also found the center console to be very small and not all that useful for storage.

The Verdict

It’s safe to say the Golf impressed Amanda. The combination of performance, sophistication and usability has her sold on this German hatchback. During her week with the car, she kept mentioning how much she looked forward to driving it. Although it’s a bit pricey for the compact car segment, Amanda finds it’s worth the minor price premium.

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