Why the 2015 Volkswagen Golf Matters:
The Volkswagen Golf is the linchpin of the German brand’s American lineup, and the 2015 edition of the compact hatchback introduces a substantially new architecture underneath its updated sheet metal that counts a larger passenger compartment and a lighter curb weight as two of its key attributes. The 2015 Volkswagen Golf also sees a revised powertrain lineup as well as the latest and greatest edition of the Volkswagen GTI, the performance model that has defined the hot hatch segment for decades. Fuel efficiency is up across the Golf lineup, but U.S. buyers will have to wait until next year for the 2015 edition of the car to go on sale.
What’s New for the 2015 Volkswagen Golf:
- First implementation of VW’s new modular vehicle architecture
- New base engine and turbodiesel motor
- Revised GTI drivetrain
- Larger interior, lower curb weight
- Improved fuel efficiency for each and every Golf model
New 2015 Volkswagen Golf: Styling and Design
The 2015 Volkswagen Golf provides a familiar shape to fans of the compact hatchback, but it’s the details that set the seventh generation Golf apart from the model that precedes it. Most noticeable are the shorter overhangs front and rear – despite the Golf presenting as somewhat longer than the 2013 edition – a styling cue that is made possible by the MQB modular platform design that is shared across a wide swathe of the VW/Audi lineup. Keen eyes will also pick out the thick C-pillar, which was an attribute of earlier Golfs that had disappeared in recent years. Four-door and two-door hatchback body styles are available with the Volkswagen.
The Volkswagen GTI maintains its practice of offering mature, understated looks that stand in contrast to the boy-racer designs of several of its turbocharged hatchback competitors. Fins carved into the vehicle’s more aggressive front bumper are perhaps the most ostentatious aspect of the GTI’s redesign, with the rest of the bodywork sleeker than the base Golf. The car also features larger rims to finish off the look.
The VW Golf’s passenger compartment has benefited from the switch to MQB, as a small increase in rear legroom accompanies larger improvements to shoulder and elbow room front and rear. Seating position, the pedal box, and interior storage have also been altered, while the interior’s trim has been given a complete going-over. GTI models continue to receive plaid sport seats, a sporty steering wheel, and a number of unique touches throughout the cabin.
New 2015 Volkswagen Golf: What’s Under the Hood
The 2015 Volkswagen Golf trades in the older model’s base five-cylinder motor for a more robust and less thirsty 1.8-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged unit that is rated at 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. The TDI’s 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbodiesel sees its output boosted by 10 horses thanks to the move to the brand’s fresh iteration of its direct-injection technology. 150 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque are on tap for the Golf TDI. The VW GTI’s engine of choice remains a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder, and while its 258 lb-ft of torque are an appreciable upgrade over past GTI editions, its horsepower climbs only modestly to 210 ponies. The entry-level Golf features the choice between a manual or an automatic transmission, while the TDI and the GTI replace the auto option with a DSG automated manual.
New 2015 Volkswagen Golf: What Autobytel Thinks
The 2015 Volkswagen Golf is a handsome hatch, and growing the platform while maintaining small proportions and coming in lighter than the previous generation of the car is an impressive achievement. We don’t doubt that the new Golf will be embraced by fans of the brand, and it could conceivably attract a new group of buyers intrigued by its interior volume and its promised fuel efficiency. It’s great to see the improved turbodiesel engine hit the TDI, but we are a bit crestfallen that the GTI’s horsepower hasn’t been cranked up to better compete with recent rivals like the Ford Focus ST. Volkswagen told us that it feels its one-two punch of the GTI and the Golf R adequately serve that area of the market, and a European performance package will most likely be forthcoming a short time after the VW GTI goes on sale, but the redesign still feels like a missed opportunity.
Also, the VW Golf received the World Car Trophy at the New York Auto Show this year.
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