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The 2015 Volkswagen Golf is the all-new seventh generation of VW's best-known and highest-volume global car. The compact hatchback, along with its Volkswagen GTI hot-hatch sibling, is lighter, larger, and more fuel-efficient than past generations, and adds a host of available safety equipment that it hasn't previously offered.
The lines of the new 2015 Golf will be familiar to anyone who's seen a Golf (also known in the U.S. at various points as the Rabbit) on the streets. With a clear design history dating all the way back to the first Golf in 1974, the newest iteration four decades later is larger but just as crisp. The lines of the 2015 Golf are tauter, though it shares the characteristic VW front end with the previous generation: oblong headlamps at the outermost corners, and a small air inlet with horizontal bars and a large round VW badge stretching between them. On the latest Golf, the fender tops are slightly lower than the hood, aiding smooth flow through the air. Dimensionally, the 2015 Golf is 2 inches longer, an inch lower, and half an inch wider, and the front wheels are closer to the front of the car--extending the cabin length as a proportion of the overall car.
Volkswagen GTI models have more aggressive front air intakes, larger alloy wheels, and additional aerodynamic aids like side skirts and a rear diffuser. It also rides somewhat lower on a sportier suspension. Inside, the latest Golf and GTI continue the sensible, no-frills theme of previous Golfs, with a hooded instrument cluster, a new 5.8-inch display screen even on base models, and a center stack slightly oriented toward the driver.
The traditional black dash and interior trim is offset in some models by available two-tone upholstery. The sportier GTI has the traditional plaid inserts in the seats, and red ambient lighting to differentiate it as the performance model. All Golfs use more soft-touch materials, and trim materials include piano black plastics, aluminum, and chrome. Volkswagen has boosted the available storage inside the new Golf, with a sliding tray underneath the front seats (if they're manually adjusted), six cupholders, and a larger glovebox that includes a CD changer.
The 2015 VW Golf and GTI for the U.S. offer a choice of three engines. The standard Golf comes with a new 170-horsepower turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, deemed TSI for its gasoline direct injection and turbocharging. Optional is a new generation of the 2.0-liter TDI four-cylinder turbodiesel for which Volkswagen is renowned, with output of 150 hp and a substantial 236 lb-ft of torque. The 2015 Volkswagen GTI will have a 2.0-liter TSI engine, though VW is being slightly coy about its power, saying that it's expected to be "about 210 hp." Both gasoline engines will be built in a brand-new engine plant in Silao, Mexico.
Transmission options for the gasoline Golf include "manual and automatic" choices, and the TDI diesel will offer either a six-speed manual or VW's six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. The 2015 GTI will also offer the six-speed manual gearbox or six-speed DSG automatic.
Safety equipment includes six airbags, the usual suite of electronic safety systems, and a new automatic crash-braking system that brakes the car when its sensors detect that it is involved in a primary collision. The 2015 Volkswagen Golf hasn't yet been rated for crash safety by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Prices and fuel efficiency figures will be released by Volkswagen closer to the time the 2015 Golf and 2015 GTI go on sale, which is expected to be roughly in the spring of 2014.
- Traditional Golf virtues
- Optional TDI diesel engine
- More interior amenities
- Crash-safety test results unknown
- Six airbags feels minimal
- All-black interior borders on dull