Lets get the emission out of the way. I traded in a later model Mustang GT in on my TDI. I was obviously losing power, but I was gaining quality. A more balanced ideal for the urban jungle. The day we bought it, I bought a mid-size chest freezer. I didn't even hesitate, I just shoved it in my car. If you can buy one, get the manual. You MPG will amaze you sometimes. My engine is still breaking in and I am seeing 57+ on the highway. The DSG/Auto get about 47mpg, and is costly to maintain in comparison, so get the manual and it will reward you.
My little smog-box hugs the road, makes a unique grumble that the diesel provides and has minimal turbo lag. Interior is better than anything under $30k from the USA, and more well-rounded than anything from Japan. Maintenance will be more, but I prepaid that and extended the warranty as far as I could.
It was bitter sweet handing over the keys to my Mustang, that straight axle petro guzzling neighbor waking machine, but I have no regrets. Handling is amazing, the mileage makes Prius owners look like... well Prius owners. I would buy it again, even with the dieselgate drama. It is also a ton easier to load our camping gear into it. Though I will miss the funny looks we got when unpacking our belongings from the mustang.
Because of VW's terrible business practice of lying to both consumers and regulators, the value of my car and those of others has dropped sharply. Why foster proper engineering when you can just deceive customers into buying a sub-spec product? I took a chance on the VW brand and have regretted it since.
I'm motivated to post this review in light of the news that Volkswagen installed a "defeat device" algorithm on its emissions systems for its TDI vehicles that, in short, makes it appear it emits far less nitrogen oxide during emissions testing than it does during normal driving conditions. In short, folks, the TDI Golf and other TDI vehicles in the lineup from VW emit somewhere between 10-40 times the upper limit of acceptable (as determined by the EPA) of nitrogen oxide, a compound that is implicated in smog and worsening of pulmonary diseases such as asthma. Volkswagen apparently did this for years. When I learned about them, I wanted to buy a TDI vehicle in 2010, waited some time and eventually happily bought a 2015 VW Golf TDI in 8/2015. One month later in 9/2015 this issue comes to light and I find that the vehicle I bought in part for high MPG numbers inviting comparisons to some hybrids emits a huge amount of air pollutant. And while this is an issue VW will address with the EPA, it is me, the consumer, who was deceived by the marketing of the TDI lineup which resulted in a sale for VW. Talk about being suckered. If it was a bad component of the suspension or something less maleficent than intentionally misleading the consumer, I would not be so hot about this. Trust me, waiting a few years to buy something and then finding out you should have waited one additional month *really* sucks. Does the car perform well? Yes. Do I get 39-40MPG regularly with spirited driving and 40-50% city driving miles? Yes. Is the interior high quality? Yes. Did I love it prior to the 9/2015 news reports about the emissions being hugely misrepresented? Yes. Is my heart broken? Yes. And this will result in the loss of my business for the manufacturer in the future. There are perfectly lovely Mazda 3s and Ford Focus hatches out there for you. Edmunds rates them highly. Buy them. Save yourself a headache and stick it to a manufacturer that made its business over the last few years in part by intentionally misleading its customers.
Some design aspects of the car are now driven by cost cutters at VW. Lets take a look at some things simple....starting with the door hinges! They have shrunk dramatically compared to my 2013 Jetta hinges. Door detent stops are pretty useless and you will easily hit your door on the car next to you in a parking lot. Seats....creaking and popping from the backrest of the drivers seat is getting quite annoying. Oil changes look a bit more involved on the EA 288 engine due to the filter location. The dash icons have shrunk in size....you may need reading glasses to see them! Headlights are not as powerful as on my Jetta, high beam is pretty much useless. Get used to hitting your head when exiting this car....you need to be agile to get in and out. Hidden door key slot is not user friendly....ref Jetta again. Interior light buttons hard to find in the dark....four buttons in close proximity. The dash illumination reflects in the side window. The exterior mirror demisters only operate at under 68deg F.....not good for humid Texas mornings that start out at 8O deg F. Exterior mirrors have suffered due to fashion/aerodynamics taking over functionality....they are too small....ref Jetta again, much better! Performance.... pretty good but does get caught out below 1800 rpm....very noticeable turbo lag. Economy....good so far. Mark VII Golf has grown apart from it's predecessor. I'm not sure where VW are going with these design changes apart from cost cutting. Safety wise, add as many airbags as you wish but make visibility better starting with the door mirrors. I am thinking a lot has to do with the adoption of exhaust treatment equipment that has driven costs up and profits down.
OK, lots of things have changed since the above review. The VW Diesel Emissions scandal being the main one! On top of this, visits to the Dealership for warranty repairs and a service have left me completely unimpressed. I understand this car will be bought back by VW and scrapped. So much for being environmentally less damaging. This has been the worst buying and owning experience of any car I have owned in over 35 years and over 40 vehicles over that time period.
This is an outstanding car. I drive it like [non-permissible content removed] and my average mpg is 40.6. I thought the suspension change would be a negative, but it handles great.The only issues I have are the stereo being on 87.7 when I start it(sometimes) and the rear washer leaking. Oh, and the passenger door is hard to close... your door isn't shut...your door isn't shut....nope, nope, there you go.
The fancy pants headlights, low end torque, and mpg.