EDITOR WES RAYNAL: This 2015 Volkswagen Golf 1.8T is an excellent small car at a really competitive price. The car has grown up a lot; it’s more mature now. By that I mean more refined. It looks better outside than it does in photos; a neighbor came out and complimented the looks and said the car looks a little bigger. Indeed, it is a couple inches bigger in most dimensions. The class-act interior is Audi-like in terms of build quality/fit and finish and there’s more room inside. I can’t think of another small car’s interior in the ballpark.
Love the engine/trans combination. The clutch operates perfectly for my tastes. There’s plenty of poke (above 3,000 rpm) and I routinely returned 30 mpg in the city, 35+ on the freeway.
It’s a very refined driver overall, and feels solid and planted at all speeds. The new MQB chassis is stiff as all get out and the suspension soaks up the nasties, but the body isn’t rolling around. It makes for a rock-solid highway cruiser, one that drives bigger and more luxurious out on the freeway. Traveling at 80 mph all day is no problem -- stable, stable, and stable. Like a German.
This is a huge leap forward for the Golf. It’s more refined and more fun. As I’ve pointed out before, VW sales are down a bit this year, with the Golf down a couple hundred. I predict this car will help a lot.
Next, I want to drive a diesel with the dual-clutch transmission and the new GTI.
What is it?This is Mk. VII for a car that has defined its brand -- and a category -- for 30 years. Given its near-complete makeover, it probably goes without saying the 2015 Volkswagen GTI is the best ...
ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: Yeah, this 2015 Golf is a great car at a screaming price. It has been THE hatchback to have for probably 20 years. The problem now is how to keep that momentum going with so many other great hatches out there.
The Golf is too good. Too quiet, too refined, too stable. There’s no drama! I felt the same way about the new GTI, just fantastic, but so good that it isn’t fun anymore. Does that make sense? It’s why the old Subaru Impreza WRX was so good -- because it was raw.
As far as fit and finish go, the Golf is at or near the top. I think all VW’s get touchscreens now, and they all seem to work. I’m not a huge fan of the leatherette seats, I’d prefer plaid, but overall a great interior.
I wouldn’t say it felt “big and luxurious” on the freeway like Wes did, but I will say that “spirited moves” were greeted with a solid-feeling chassis and very little roll. Power is good enough for any non-enthusiast, as long as you can beat the next guy at the light if he’s not paying attention. The car is quick enough for normal commuting.
It’s a hatch, so utility is good. With the seats folded down, you could definitely fit one of those old cabinet TVs, if not a new flat-panel. Fuel mileage is also great, according to Wes; for me, the gauge barely moved on my trip to work, to the store, to home and back.
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