2015 Volkswagen Golf Hatchback - Rating Details

A
Edmunds Rating
Vehicle Tested 2015 Volkswagen Golf four-door Hatchback (1.8L 4-cyl. Turbo 6-speed Automatic) Driven On 5/27/2014 Ratings Summary The VW Golf is completely redesigned for 2015. Although the styling appears little changed, the hardware underneath is all-new. Driving dynamics have been thoroughly improved, and the new base turbo 4-cylinder engine is a welcome step up from the previous naturally-aspirated 5-cylinder. Interior accomodations are excellent.
B
Performance The 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder will prove plenty potent for the vast majority of drivers. The same holds true for handling. Our testing results show the Golf nearly matching the class-leading Mazda 3, although the Golf can't quite mimic the Mazda's level of driver engagement.
Acceleration
A
With 170 horsepower and 200 lb-ft of torque, the Golf reaches 60 mph in a quick 7.8 seconds. The turbo gets it up to highways speeds with ease. Under hard acceleration, shifts from the 6-speed automatic are quick and smooth.
Braking
B
In our panic-brake test, the Golf stopped from 60 mph in a short 119 feet. Noticeable nosedive and the pedal softened after repeated runs, but distances were consistent. On the road, transmission downshifts caused some awkward lurches.
Steering
B
Steering effort is pleasantly light at lower speeds for easy maneuvering. We found the steering precise, but it just doesn't give quite the level of feedback you'll find in a Mazda 3.
Handling
A
On a twisting road, the Golf is responsive and capable. There is considerable body lean/roll through sharp turns, but this is a forgiving, responsive car that's easy to control at its limits. If you need better handling, consider the GTI.
Driveability
C
Driveability is hampered by finicky automatic transmission producing small lurches as it leaves the line and when a change in speed is required. You either have to let it creep slowly or stomp the gas pedal to eliminate this behavior.
A
Comfort With its tall cabin and relatively soft suspension, the Golf provides a comfortable place to pass the miles, whether commuting to work or taking a long road trip.
Seating Comfort
A
Front seats are superb, with ample comfort, support and headroom. Low-mounted rear-seat cushions give acceptable headroom for anyone under 5-foot-10. The synthetic leather looks convincing, but doesn't breathe as well as genuine leather.
Ride Comfort
A
Ruts and potholes are smoothed over easily by the Golf's compliant suspension. On the highway it has a settled and composed ride, never floaty or detached.
Quietness
B
Some road noise is noticeable but not intrusive, and there's hardly any wind whistling out on the highway. Engine noise is prominent under heavy acceleration, but it's more of an enthusiast-pleasing burly sound.
A
Interior The 2015 Golf's interior hasn't changed dramatically from the previous generation, and that's a good thing. Materials are excellent for the class. The car's classically German, austere design tips the needle toward the entry-level luxury spectrum, rather than economy compact.
Ergonomics
B
Controls are well placed and labeled for ease of use. The 5.8-inch touchscreen is on the small side but the graphics are sharp and the system functions well. Menu layout is simple and intuitive, too.
Ingress/Egress
A
Tall doors make getting in and out easy, even for taller passengers. But because the doors are narrow, width-wise, opening them in tight parking spots is pretty simple. Seatbelts are just a short reach over the shoulder.
Space/Room
B
Front seats are roomy with plenty of adjustment travel for tall folks. Rear-seat cushions are mounted low to the floor, which can make for a big knee-bend. But, the extra headroom this gives means there's space for a 5-foot-10 adult.
Visibility
A
All-around visibility is excellent thanks to narrow roof pillars. With the upright rear hatchback glass, backing into a spot is so easy that you don't need to rely on the standard rearview camera.
Cargo/Storage
A
Cargo capacity behind rear seats is 22.8 cu-ft if stacked to the roof. If stacked to the top of the seats, useable room is less than rivals. But seats-folded max capacity is excellent at 52.7 cu-ft. Interior storage is similar to rivals.
B
Value At $18,815 for the base two-door Launch Edition Golf and $20,915 for a four-door Golf S with manual transmission, the Golf is priced slightly higher than other hatchbacks. Competitors also offer more standard and optional features for the money, too.
Build Quality (vs. $)
B
Inside and out, the Golf feels sturdy and well built. We did detect a few creaks from time to time, but only on rough roads and no more so than other cars in this class.
Features(vs. $)
B
The Golf's higher price in relation to its rivals remains consistent as trim levels and options are increased. Leather and some infotainment features are notably absent compared to its prime competitors.
Cost
C
In range-topping SEL trim, this Golf is only offered as a four-door with an automatic transmission costing $27,815. With the optional lighting package, the total is $28,810, which is $1,225 higher than a more generously equipped Mazda 3.
MPG
B
Early EPA estimates put fuel economy at 26 mpg City/36 Highway, which is competitive among hatchbacks. We were unable to match those numbers. We achieved 32.0 mpg on our highway-heavy evaluation loop, and averaged 25.3 mpg overall.
Warranty
B
The Golf offers a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty and a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty, both of which are comparable to rival hatchbacks.
Ownership
B
VW stands out among competitors with 1-yr/10,000 miles free scheduled maintenance. Roadside assistance of 3 years/36,000 miles is typical for the class.
A
Fun To Drive With its eager turbo engine and confident handling characteristics, the 2015 Volkswagen Golf provides big grins on curvy back roads. It's far more capable than most drivers will ever need, and maybe just one tick short of the Mazda 3's precision. But, you can also opt for the GTI version.
Driving Experience
A
In a word, the 2015 VW Golf is German. It's comfortable, sturdy and responsive. Other than the odd low-speed manners of its automatic transmission, it's easy to drive and should exceed performance expectations.
Personality
B
The redesigned 2015 VW Golf is an incremental evolution in the model's long history. As such, it remains fairly commonplace and sensible, yet fashionably understated. The new base turbo engine gives it some much-needed sass.
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