2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI – First Drive and Review

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Volkswagen has yet to decide what options and packages will be offeredDSC_0625 but the new Golf as sold in Europe has adaptive cruise control with collision warning and that’s likely to be offered as an option here since that feature is starting to appear in other vehicles in the same price range. Other driver assistance features offered in the European version, which may or may not make it to the U.S. version, include driver fatigue detection, traffic sign recognition, and automatic parking.

For infotainment, there’s a 5.8” display and a mammoth 8” display although the larger display probably won’t be sold here.  Other small details include cargo privacy shades that are stored under the load floor.

We also expect to see an oversized sunroof and automatic climate control, both de rigeur stateside.

When it comes to electronics,DSC_0706 the graphics are clear, bright, and colorful and the new onboard computer is intuitive to operate and responds quickly to driver input.  The center stack was finally angled a few degrees towards the driver and further reinforces the message that this is a driver’s car.


According to a spokesman, Volkswagen expects the 2015 Golf TDI’s fuel economy to be 10-12% better than the current version, planning to be in the “sweet spot” of the market.  The outgoing Golf is rated at 42 mpg (5.6 l/100 km) in highway driving by the EPA; the new Golf is rated at 65 mpg (3.6 l/100 km) for highway driving in the EU cycle but EPA and EU figures aren’t comparable.  DSC_0595With a 12% improvement, the U.S. Golf TDI should see an EPA rating of 47 mpg (5.0 l/100 km).

On a sunny day in Napa Valley, I spent about half the day behind the wheel of a blue Euro-spec Golf TDI getting to know it.  It was clearly more refined and had noticeably more power.

Having driven it over numerous twisty roads in the area as well as on the open highway, I found it to be a genuine competitor in the entry-level sports sedan category.  Among its numerous attributes were responsive and tight steering (there’s a new variable-ratio electric power steering system on all Golfs), excellent road feel, and a stiff body and chassis.  It was a pleasure to drive.

On a one-hour loop covering a little over 30 miles (48 kilometers), I was able to get 38.2 mpg (6.16 l/100 km) and my driving style was nothing if not aggressive and the antithesis of hypermiling.  The average speed was 36 mph (58 km/h).  The route covered roads in and around St. Helena, California including the rather picturesque Deer Park Road and Chiles Pope Valley Road in the direction of Lake Berryessa.

Click here to continue to Page 3Specs, Details, and a Virtual Drive

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