2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI – First Look and Review

By Jonathan Spira on 16 May 2014
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2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI

2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI

Technically speaking, this is a second look.  I spent a day with a Euro-spec Golf TDI eight months ago and, despite it being on sale in Europe since late 2012, it hasn’t yet arrived at U.S. dealerships.

It’s taken so long because it’s being built in Puebla, Mexico (alongside the new Beetles and Jettas) for the U.S. market.  On a beautiful late spring day in San Francisco, I took the wheel of a U.S. spec Golf TDI and started driving.

The route, across the Bay Bridge and through Berkeley, led me past some rare urban wildlife (I saw a wolf running down the side of the road and later on a deer ran in front of the car – all in Berkeley) but reinforced my first impression of the car, more than half a year ago, that VW is offering the most refined Golf since it was launched as the successor to the Beetle in 1974.  Yes, it’s been around that long.


In the U.S., the Golf is available as a four-door hatchback.  A Golf SportWagen will follow, replacing the Jetta SportWagen (which was really a Golf anyway). The electric eGolf will also make its appearance soon. Built off the new Golf platform, the eGolf is the first U.S. VW with full LED headlights.  It comes with C-shaped LED daytime-running lights, different bumpers, and of course no tailpipe.


While making the new Golf better looking and sportier than ever, Volkswagen clearly looked back at heritage Golfs and borrowed heavily from the first- and fourth-generation models (the first generation Golf was called a Rabbit in the United States).

The Golf is visibly more aerodynamic, has a lower, wider track, a wider stance, and a lower roofline.

The TDI model will clearly be the leader with its fuel economy and range, but the eGolf, which can range over 100 miles (160 kilometers) in its eco-plus mode (normal is 70-90 miles or 112-145 kilometers), is something to think about for those city drivers who don’t need a car they drive for so long without stopping to refuel that it’s possible to become fluent in Spanish during the drive.

Compared to the outgoing sixth-generation Golf, the 2015 model has a far roomier cabin. The increase in shoulder room is substantial, and there’s more rear legroom as well.

More impressive are the safety features Volkswagen is planning to offer.  At launch, a post-collision braking system that stops the car from incurring a second collision (something quite common in accidents) is standard and, within a year, the Golf should have adaptive cruise control with emergency braking, blind spot detection, and a lane-departure warning system.

Click here to continue to Page 2Driving the 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI

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