2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI Long-Term Road Test - New Updates
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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI Long-Term Road Test

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Could Be Slicker in the City

by Mike Magrath, Features Editor on October 23, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

We've discussed my commute before. It's not pretty. Start, stop, honk, floor it, honk, stop, repeat for nine-ish miles.

But, I like where I live and I like where I work, so I deal with it. I could not deal with it if I had to drive our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI every day.

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2015 Volkswagen GTI: Fuel Economy Update for September - Still Great Mileage After 20,000 Miles

by Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor on October 20, 2015

2015 Volkswagen GTI

As you can see, we crossed the 20K-mile threshold in our 2015 Volkswagen GTI this month. It was an uneventful four weeks for our GTI given that it's not a diesel. That would make it a GTD. They actually exist, but are not offered in the States.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Strikes Good Balance Between Commuter and Weekender

by Travis Langness, Social Media Editor on October 15, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Our long-term 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI isn't perfectly suited to the daily grind. If you spend most of your time in stop-and-go traffic, or if you do a lot of road trips, the GTI isn't the best car. The suspension is stiff and the sidewalls are thin, which means the ride is almost always a bit bumpy.

Its twin brother, the standard Golf, is better at these tedious daily tasks. Luckily for the GTI, this is where the plot thickens.

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2015 Volkswagen GTI: Missing the Extra Half-Step

by Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor on October 12, 2015

2015 Volkswagen GTI

When it comes to performance cars and hot hatches like our 2015 VW GTI, most manufacturers leave a little something on the table. And while that can leave the true enthusiasts whining and wanting for a more complete package, something that caters to their very narrow needs, it ensures most cars leave the factory with a good degree of compromise — something for everyone.

But there's always a room for improvement. There's always a half-step closer platform nirvana. Some manufacturers offer limited-run versions of their performance cars with more power, less suspension travel and a street credibility on the internet. Some offer in-house performance upgrades. These parts might have been cast off during the final vetting process as a half-step too far, but still well-sorted enough to sell as a package. It's automotive DLC.

These thoughts aren't particularly new ones to have about a GTI, but they are when you consider that I had them while ripping around in Focus ST.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: In Search of Cooler Mountain Air

by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on October 8, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

A couple of weeks ago, I had the key to our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI and a hankering to go somewhere. My friends in Borrego Springs were away on vacation, and their place wasn't high on my list this time because the desert would offer no respite from the heat. I was looking for cooler surroundings, so I pointed our VW GTI north towards the mountains instead.

About three-quarters of my 430-mile route was given over to routine there-and-back-again highway miles. The remainder climbed up and over the southernmost spur of the Sierra Nevada on the sort of tight and twisty two-lane roads the GTI was bred for.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: In Defense of the Older Generation

by Jonathan Elfalan, Road Test Editor on October 5, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Our former Intern Extraordinaire, Reese Counts, now turned full-time Vehicle Testing Assistant (applause), lauded our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI as harder, better, faster, and stronger than the generations of GTI that came before. While I don't disagree with his overall sentiment, there are elements in the older vintage that I prefer to the newest iteration out of Wolfsburg — or should I say Puebla, Mexico?

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Cruising Through Its 20,000-Mile Service

by Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor on September 29, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

We did it early.

That's right, our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI headed to the dealer at 19,621 miles for its 20,000-mile scheduled service.

The 20,000-mile service is pretty simple for the GTI. It consists of an oil and filter change, a new pollen/dust filter for the HVAC system, an inspection and a tire rotation. I took the car to Volkswagen of Orange in Orange, California, for the work.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: How Tall is Mount Everest In Yards?

by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on September 23, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

You must be wondering what Mount Everest has to do with anything. And what's all this talk about yards? We measure mountains in feet, don't we?

Exactly, but the software engineers that stand behind our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI must have missed that memo. Behold the wonders of a navigation system that displays elevation in yards.

It isn't all bad news. At least the elevation is clearly displayed right on the map. I like that part. But yards?

And the math doesn't even work out. The 3,000-foot parking space shown above should correspond to 1,000 yards, not 912 yards. Every fifth grader knows that.

By the time I got home I had a thought. But they couldn't have done that, could they?

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Eco Minders Ruin the Fun

By Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor on September 18, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI is supposed to be a fun car. This is why I find it strange that it routinely tells its driver to stop doing fun things.

The anti-fun messages are disguised as "Eco tips," and when given, they arrive with a chime and take up most of the center digital display in the gauge cluster.  

Scott Oldham already wrote about the "Do not activate the gas pedal when stationary" message. I've seen many others, "Close the windows/sunroof when moving," "Use 'D' shift position [instead of Sport]," and "Shift to a higher gear."

Here's what they really mean:

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Better Seat Comfort for Short Drivers

by Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor on September 16, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

I have to admit that when I saw our long-term 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI was available for the evening, I hesitated. I remembered the last time I drove our 2010 GTI long-termer and how the driver seat was angled in such a way that it was difficult for short-legged folks (read: me at 5'5") to reach the pedals.

The rear of the seat hung so much lower than the front that I had to scooch the chair until I was basically half an arm's length away from the steering wheel, even with the column collapsed as far as its telescoping ability allowed.

I was never able to find a comfortable seating position in that car, and assuming our new long-termer shared a similar seat angle, I was not looking forward to driving it in rush-hour traffic.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: August Fuel Economy Update - Just Another Month Burning Gas

By Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor on September 11, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

We added another 1,400 or so miles to our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI in August. After a very busy July which saw the GTI traveling to Colorado and Arizona, August was mostly spent in routine daily duty hauling coolers and bicycles.

But the bottom line, the common denominator pulling every month of life with our GTI together, is that it always burns fuel. The only question is how much. This is the post every month where we answer that question.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Radio Is On the Fritz

by Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor on September 9, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

The infotainment system in our long-term 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI is acting funny. A few weeks back, it refused to let me tune past channel 34 on satellite radio. Putting it on a time out fixed that problem, but I found a few others this past weekend.

For a brief moment on Friday, I couldn't turn the volume up. Down, sure. But up? Nope. Mike Schmidt blames it on my taste in music — not enough Kraftwerk.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Fixing the Radio by Putting It on a Time-out

by Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor on September 2, 2015

2015 Acura TLX

I was enjoying some good early 90s grunge on satellite radio while driving our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI home last night. But a funny thing happened when I tried changing stations: I couldn't. The video below provides a better explanation.

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2015 Volkswagen GTI: The Cooler Fits, Sort of

by Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor on August 28, 2015

2015 Acura TLX

That's a 75-gallon cooler in the back of our 2015 Volkwagen GTI. That's a big cooler for a small car like the GTI. I had to set aside the cargo cover to get it in there and even that wasn't quite enough.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Fuel Economy Update for July - Long Legs Shatter Old Records

August 26, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

We kept our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI busy in July. Brent drove it around central California for a week or so and it helped him make new friends. Travis used it for a celebratory Fourth of July run out to the Grand Canyon. Shortly after, Phil drove it out to the Rockies and back.

At the end of the month, we'd tallied more than 4,000 miles and 15 fill-ups. Travis managed the impressive feat of setting the best mpg and range records of the test thus far. During the Grand Canyon drive, the GTI legged out 480 miles and 38.5 mpg from a single tank. That kind of range obliterated the previous best of 376 miles.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: The Case for a Hatchback

August 21, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

A few times while driving our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI, I've wondered if it's a car on which I'd spend my hard-earned cheddar. At $31,515 as spec'd, this hot hatch isn't exactly cheap and I've wondered if I could instead bite the bullet, stretch for another $10K, and get into an A3 like ours.

By its body style and badge, the A3 seems like the car for grown-ups. Though it's the baby A4, the Audi for Beginners, you still won't feel sheepish — nor will your date — when you roll up to the hotel valet for a spring wedding. People with real money might scoff privately, but they can pound sand.

The nice thing about an entry-level Audi is that it says you might be thinking S6 eventually, but you're smart enough to stay within the lines now. It can also say that you too have plenty of dough and have simply decided you don't need a larger or faster sedan.

Then there's the GTI.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Show Me the Tire Pressures, Please

August 10, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

The now ubiquitous tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) is a fantastic safety feature. That little tire-and-exclamation-point warning light icon is super helpful for learning when a tire is going low and giving you an opportunity to deal with the situation before it becomes dire.

That said, not all tire pressure monitoring systems are created equal. Some vehicles have a readout that gives you real-time information on each individual tire's pressure. Some can at least tell you which tire on the car is low. Others just tell you something's wrong and leave you to figure out the rest.

Our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI falls into the last group, unfortunately.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Cruise Control Offers Stealth Adjustment

August 6, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

How many ways can you adjust cruise control? More importantly, how many ways should you be able to adjust cruise control? It may not look like it from the photo, but our long-term 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI has three.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

August 4, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

We've written quite a bit comparing our seventh-generation 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI to our former long-term sixth-gen 2010 GTI. That's part of the reason we have these cars. The general consensus is that the current GTI is an improvement in every way over the previous model. I don't disagree. The GTI lost weight, tightened up and gained power. The new car, like the old one, is really, really good. 

I'm the proud owner of a fifth-gen 2006 GTI. Like others have said, everything on the MK7 is just a little better than the MK6. Compared to my MKV, everything is a lot better. I've yet to find something in our new GTI that's inferior to my 2006 GTI that can't be fixed with different options.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Grand Canyon Road Trip Shatters Old Fuel-Eco Records

August 2, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

If you use Interstate 40 most of the way, it's 502 miles from my home in Los Angeles to Grand Canyon Village in northern Arizona. I drove there in our long-term 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI, and with a bit of hypermiling I set two new fuel economy records along the way. Hypermiling can be a bit boring though, so I took plenty of photos along the way to keep things interesting.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Compact Hatch Works Great for Colorado and Back

July 28, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

When I headed out of town behind the wheel of our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI, I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy driving it to Colorado and back. I imagined it to be twitchy, loud and underpowered for the climb over lofty Rocky Mountain passes. I had planned the trip with the idea of putting miles on our 2007 Dodge Charger SRT8. But, as so often happens, it turned out better this way.

While the GTI only sports a four-cylinder engine, as opposed to the Charger's massive V8, the VW is turbocharged and delivers 210 hp with a healthy 258 lb-ft of torque. While turbo lag was noticeable, once it got moving, it was never winded at higher elevations. 

But here's what really sold me on this little four-door hatchback.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Handles Evasive Maneuvers With Ease

July 24, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Ever notice how quickly the brain processes information while driving? I was thinking about that while driving the 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI to Denver last week. For example, I saw something in the road and was closing at it doing about 80 mph. But then the wind gusted and I saw it was very light, just a harmless plastic bag. No evasive maneuvers required.

Later in the trip, I wasn't so lucky.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Gets Impressive MPG on Rocky Mountain Traverse

July 23, 2015

2015 Audi A3

A 2,200-mile road trip to Colorado and back in our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI is a great way to see what kind of mileage it's capable of on the highway. But the problem is that in one direction is it climbing most of the way over some of the highest mountain passes in the lower 48 states. Then, on the way back, it's mostly downhill from Denver to Las Vegas.

So, while heading to Denver I got between 29 and 32 mpg. On the way back I got from 34 to almost 36 mpg, a record for this car. On one 100-mile stretch, I saw 40 mpg!

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Art Car

July 22, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

On my way to Colorado in our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI, I had to make a quick stop in downtown Las Vegas. Heading back to the freeway, I saw this mural and knew I had to pose the GTI in front of it. The result was better than expected. The Tornado Red paint really pops and makes the car - and the art - look great.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: A Compact Hatch To Colorado and Back - Will We Regret It?

July 21, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

"Great road trip car!" a friend of mind said when he heard I was driving our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI to Colorado and back. I was glad to hear him say that because my first choice had been our new 2007 Dodge Charger SRT8. That's my idea of a road trip car - plenty of room and lots of muscle to get up and over Vail Pass at 10,662 feet.

I was initially disappointed when I heard it was spoken for and I was assigned to the pint-sized VW.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Grand Canyon and Back, For America

July 19, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

My plan for the 4th of July weekend was simple: Pick a destination about 500 miles from home, drive there, stay the night and come home. My holiday celebration would be a road trip rather than watching the same fireworks show I'd seen 100 times. So I asked Edmunds car-czar Mike Schmidt what vehicles in our fleet needed miles and he swiftly pointed me towards our long-term 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI.

I hadn't spent much quality time with the little red Volkswagen and this would be a perfect opportunity for some one-on-one time. I flipped a coin to decide between Northern California and the Grand Canyon and the coin came up tails. So I packed my bags and headed for the big crack in the desert.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Fuel Economy Update for June — Incremental Improvement in Lifetime MPG

July 13, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Our long-term 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI is still shy of its EPA combined rating of 28 mpg, but this month it climbed one-tenth of a mpg closer. After receiving its 10,000-mile service, and a new battery for its key fob, the GTI spent the month of June quietly logging miles.

We added 1,481 of them this month, consuming 61.1 gallons of gas in the process, and upping the GTI's lifetime average to 26.4 mpg.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: VW Promises More Advanced Touchscreen Interface for 2016

July 8, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

The touchscreen interface fitted to our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI has earned generally favorable comments so far. Travis Langness gave the audio system a thumbs-up review while Josh Jacquot noted how he liked the navigation interface. Mike Monticello did encounter a glitch a few months ago, but to my knowledge it hasn't reappeared.

Personally, I like the touchscreen. It's easy to reach and responds pretty quickly to inputs, but there's room for improvement. The screen is relatively small (5.8 inches) and doesn't have truly crisp, detailed graphics. Volkswagen plans to install a new touchscreen system for the 2016 GTI (and other models in the lineup) as well as add a big dollop of smartphone app integration.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Four-Door Is the Obvious Choice. Or Is It?

July 6, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

I've mentioned in some previous updates that my fondness for Edmunds' long-term 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI largely stems from its dual-use nature. It's a fun-to-drive car that's also quite practical. For me, that practical part often involves shuttling my two small children around to school or summer camps.

Our GTI is great for this. The backseat is plenty roomy for munchkins (but still close enough to the front seat for me to grab or hand them items) and entry and exit for my kids is easy thanks to lightweight doors and decent-sized openings.

But it occurs to me that my feelings might be different if Edmunds had opted for a two-door GTI instead of a four-door. If the car was a two-door Golf GTI, I'd always have to help my children in and out of the backseat. Buckling them in to their safety or booster seats would be more cumbersome, too.

It wouldn't be the end of the world, of course. I've shuttled my kids around just fine in our Mustang, for example. But if VW gives you a choice, would you buy a two-door GTI?

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Six Months Later, Still Want One

June 29, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

I've been busy driving other cars in our long-term fleet and the last time I drove our 2015 Volkswagen GTI was about six months ago. I hadn't realized how much I miss this car. The strong turbo-4 power, upscale interior, hatchback/four-door utility and handsome styling are such a great combination. I don't need a new personal car right now, but if I did, the GTI would be high on my list.

That said, I've changed my mind on what kind of GTI I'd want.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Better Enough Than the Last?

June 24, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

With a free day on my calendar and the key to our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI in my pocket, I couldn't resist the call of the open road. My typical approach is to scroll around on Google Maps until I find an interesting-looking place that I've never visited, and then conscript my wife for companionship. In this case, I wanted to leave at 10 a.m. and be home by midnight, so I limited myself to about four hours of driving each way.

The winner? Oceano, Calif., a.k.a. the home of the Oceano Dunes. And if you want some additional commentary interspersed with dune photos, you'll just have to follow the jump.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Pickup-Driving Ladies Like It

June 19, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

I recently needed to haul away a large collection of broken-down cardboard boxes that had been building up at my house. It was a perfect job for Edmunds.com's long-term 2015 Volkswagen GTI. I just lowered the rear seats, no need for headrest removal or other shenanigans. You just squeeze a release button, the seatbacks plop right down, and you have a suddenly-roomy cargo area ready to be filled with cardboard.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Fuel Economy Update for May - Small Gains Toward EPA Rating

June 16, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Our long-term 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI continues its incremental climb toward the EPA combined rating of 28 mpg, adding 0.2 mpg to its lifetime average during the month of May. Although 26.3 mpg over nearly 11,000 miles of driving remains mildly disappointing, it's an easier pill to swallow when you take into account the GTI's invigorating acceleration.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Key Fob Battery Replaced

June 10, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI was persistently informing us that it needed a new key fob battery, so I figured I'd stop by Santa Monica Volkswagen and hope for a quick resolution. I was in luck. The parts department located the appropriate battery promptly, and one of the service managers installed it on the spot. Presto change-o.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: This Is a New One

June 5, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

I have never seen this before. Our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI just told me it needs a new key fob battery. I can't remember this warning on any other car we've tested. Maybe because we only keep them for a year? Maybe VW is the only one that does it?

Has anyone seen this before?

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Oil Change and Software Update at 10,000 Miles

June 3, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

The 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI calls for routine service at 10,000-mile intervals. When the odometer reached the magic number, it displayed a "service due" warning, so it was off to Volkswagen Santa Monica. Our experience here has been hit-or-miss over the past several years. This visit was different.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Back on the Road With Two New Tires

May 28, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

A severe gash in the tire of our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI was beyond repair. One new Bridgestone Potenza S001 was a given. With more than 10,000 miles on the opposite tire we decided to replace it, too. It wasn?t as easy as we anticipated.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: No Repair for Severely Cut Tire

May 19, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Was it a debris strike? A half-assed vandalism attempt by a would-be tire slasher? How long has it been like that anyway?

There's no way to tell. The left rear tire is holding air and the pressure is correct, so the TPMS warning light hasn't been triggered. I only found it because the gash and the setting sun happened to converge in the right place, catching my eye as I walked from the hatch to the driver's door of our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: 10,000 Miles and a Return to Form

May 15, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

We've reached the 10,000-mile mark on our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI. Most of us love this new-generation GTI, which is once again hailed as a driver's car. Some feel the ride is a bit too stiff, but hey, it's a rare car that pleases everyone on our staff. 

The GTI has been pretty reliable so far, though not completely trouble-free. The first problem was a faulty passenger seat heater early on. Strangely it would turn itself off about five minutes into use, and then refuse to turn back on without a full restart.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Fuel Economy Update for April - A New Low, A New High

May 14, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

After road trips to popular desert destinations like Borrego Springs, California, and Joshua Tree National Park, at the very end of March, our long-term 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI spent most of April in heavy traffic.

In the midst of those 656 miles, we achieved a new low water mark in fuel economy: 15.2 mpg. The rest of our travels netted better numbers though, so the GTI's lifetime average crept up 0.1 mpg to 26.1.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Sleepy Infotainment Screen

May 13, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

After a run/bike/run workout at O'Neill Regional Park last week in preparation for an upcoming mountain bike duathlon, I stopped into the Trabuco Canyon General Store for a Coke and a Snickers. Negated some of my hard work, yes, but I was tired and hungry.

I was in the store for only a minute or two, but when I got back into our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI and fired it up, the infotainment screen didn't turn on. Worse, as I put the gear selector in reverse, the backup camera didn't come on either. I waited a few seconds, but still nothing from the screen.

And then, yes, I was forced to use my mirrors and even turn my head to look behind me before backing out. The horror!

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: These Gauges Are Great at Night

May 11, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Ed already told you how great the gauges are in our long-term 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI. I'd like to add that they are particularly stunning at night. I noticed them on the way home from the grocery store this week.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Last-Gen GTI Has Better Hatch Gate Design

May 7, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

One thing I always liked about our last long-term GTI, the MkVI 2010 Volkswagen GTI, and the 2011 GTI my family subsequently leased, was the double hand-hold on the inside of the hatch gate. Whether you were right- or left-handed, it was easy to get hold of the overhead gate and close it.

Our seventh-generation long-term 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI also has this feature, but the cutouts in the plastic aren't as deep, so the hatch isn't as easy to grab.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Returns Best MPG on the Road to Joshua Tree

May 3, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

For my girlfriend's birthday, I took her to Palm Springs for the weekend. As a video producer, I wanted to video the experience, but she would have none of it. What's the saying: what goes on during a road trip should be haphazardly remembered through the 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI long-term blog?

Getting out of Los Angeles is always a chore. You expect bumper-to-bumper traffic anytime you want to get on the road and leaving Santa Monica at 11:30 on a Friday afternoon was no exception. 

But with the GTI, I had an unexpected weapon.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: The Best GTI Yet

April 22, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Years ago we had a 2010 GTI in our fleet. Certain editors were none too impressed by its non-defeatable stability control, soft reflexes and lame all-season tires. Another editor thought said editors were nuts.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago and one of the dissenters of the earlier GTI, Mr. Jacquot, seems to have done an about-face after driving our long-term 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI.

I was intrigued. Does the new GTI truly address the concerns levied upon the earlier car? To find out, I drove it.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Thanks For the Tip, But I'm Good

April 20, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

As an avid left-foot braker and habitual jack rabbit starter, I first want to apologize for my actions. Surely they have an adverse effect on a vehicle's fuel mileage.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Impromptu Desert Coffee Run

April 16, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

At 4:00 am I found myself wide awake for no apparent reason. I tried to will myself back to sleep, but it was no use. So I fumbled around in the dark and grabbed the keys to our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI from the nightstand.

A couple of minutes later I was backing out of the driveway with coffee and donuts in mind.

I should have known it was far too early for my usual spot to be open, so I got back on the empty freeway and continued east. I glanced down at the GTI’s fuel gauge: full tank.

With no particular destination in mind, I called up a favorite podcast and sent it out through the VW’s speakers via Bluetooth connection and settled in.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Fuel Economy Update for March

April 13, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

March was a record-breaking month for our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI.

Dan Edmunds hit a new best range on a single tank of gas, with the GTI miserly sipping 91 octane for 376.5 miles. Then videographer Rich borrowed the Volkswagen for a highway-heavy road trip and achieved 34.5 mpg, the best fill MPG so far. The trips constituted the bulk of the 1,620 miles traveled in March, good enough to increase its overall fuel economy from 26.0 to 26.2 mpg.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: L.A. Freeway Ride

March 26, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Stereotypes have a basis in reality, and certainly L.A. traffic is not an exaggerated thing. Every once in a while (or for about 19 seconds at a time), there's a moment of free-flowing traffic on the notoriously choppy 405 freeway that enables a quick hand-held video from behind the wheel. Click through to see how our long-term 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI fared on the thoroughfare.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Audio Off and Camera On

March 25, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

This shouldn't be as rare as it is, but the rearview camera in our long-term 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI test car remains active despite shutting off the audio unit. I discovered this because I was listening to AM radio as I entered Edmunds.com headquarters underground parking garage, didn't want to hear the static any longer and shut off the audio. More often than you might realize, this can also shut off the camera's display (if it uses the same display as the audio unit). Not so in the GTI: The black screen came back to life as I slipped the shifter into R and backed into a parking stall. Nice.

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2015 Volkswagen GTI: Feels Expensive Because It Is

March 17, 2015

2015 Volkswagen GTI

Like many of our editors on staff, I like the overall feel of our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI, from the way the doors close to the precise steering to the crisp shifts from the DSG automatic transmission. This GTI is clearly a step above your average compact hatchback.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Useful Fuel Station Information

March 13, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Are you one of those people who refuse to refuel your vehicle until it's nearly empty? I'm sure there is a well-know personality type like this, but I am not that guy.

Nonetheless, I found the fuel gauge in our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI getting low and this message popped up on the touchscreen: "Warning: Fuel tank almost empty. Do you want to find a gas station nearby?" Grammar aside, that's pretty cool. I was close to home and knew precisely where they were, but clicked "Search" just to see how accurate the list would be.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Oh Nuts, We Hate When This Happens

March 12, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Usually this type of rear-wiper malady belongs to an SUV or crossover, but our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI hatchback also has a rear-wiper. Shouldn't that missing cover have been robust enough to withstand a car wash? Next time we run the car in for scheduled maintenance, we'll see how much it cost to replace.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Buy One Already

March 10, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Welcome to scenic Hacienda Heights, California, home of my accountant. It's where I happened to be on my most recent evening with our long-term 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI, and daylight was fading fast, so I snapped this gem of a photo. Please enjoy.

Please also know that like the MkVI VW Golf GTI, this seventh-generation hatchback is really a wonderful car and probably priced too low for what you get. Although, our Autobahn-trim car came in at $31,515, which is not unreasonable but not cheap, either. For maximum value, I think an S or SE model with the Lighting package (and probably the Performance Pack, and if you're going that far, probably also the adaptive suspension dampers on the SE), would be the way to go.

Make your own choice on transmission (three-pedal or DSG) and door count (2 or 4), but seriously, consider buying one of these at some point during this generation.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Fuel Economy Update for February

March 4, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

The staff piled on about 1,200 miles during the shortest month of the year, and the running fuel economy average for our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI ticked up wee-bit from 25.8 to 26.0 mpg. At this rate, it looks doubtful we will ever achieve the EPA's estimated 28 mpg combined unless the car goes on several more highway-intensive road trips.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Armrest Rattle

March 3, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

From the first time I set off in our long-term 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI, I heard a rattle. It was coming from somewhere behind me, and would only pop up during travel over bumpy or coarse roads. I figured something was left behind in the cargo area by the previous driver. I'll check it when I stop, I told myself. Naturally, I'd forget about it by time I'd reach my destination, only to be reminded again when I got back to driving the GTI.

When I finally did peruse the cargo area, I found no extraneous objects back there and that all was in order. It was later that I found the source of the rattle (it should be obvious, what with the headline and lead photo...) and understood why I was probably the first on staff to notice it.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Rear-Facing Convertible Car Seats, An Informal Comparison

March 2, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Before my daughter was born, a Volkswagen GTI (Mk VI) was going to be our family car. Because she arrived quite a few weeks earlier than we expected, we hadn't yet installed her infant car seat in it to assess the fit. Of course, the car seat fit fine. But due to its shape and our respective heights, my husband and I did not. We said a hasty goodbye to the VW and bought a Mazda 5.

That doesn't mean we don't miss the GTI, nor does it mean we won't buy another one someday. So it was with some excitement that I approached the task of installing our rear-facing convertible car seats in the long-term Mk VII 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

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2015 Volkswagen GTI: Still the Best Automatic Transmission

February 26, 2015

2015 Volkswagen GTI

Although some members of our staff would like our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI better if it had a manual transmission, I'm fine with its automatic. That's because Volkswagen's Direct Shift Gearbox is one of, if not the best, automatics on the market.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Manual or DSG?

February 25, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

While I think it is certainly a good idea that the 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI offers an automatic transmission option, there is absolutely no way I would ever consider getting it. Although VW's DSG dual-clutch automated manual is a good, reasonably sporty automatic, it is still an automatic. With it, our long-term GTI just feels like a slightly faster Golf with a significantly worse ride.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Why Can't I Enjoy the Convenience of the DSG?

February 24, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

There is almost nothing I don't like about seeing our long-term 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI in my driveway. My husband and I spent a couple of years with an MkVI VW GTI (base-model 2011, United Gray Metallic, three-pedal setup), and we were sad to part ways with it. With all the improvements on the seventh-generation car, there's no reason to think I wouldn't like it even more.

Of course, soon after getting behind the wheel of our long-term GTI for the first time, I got right into a pocket of stop-and-go traffic. As Chris wrote, the car's six-speed, dual-clutch automated manual transmission (the DSG) can be bothersome in these situations when left in D.

Switching to S mode is a reasonable solution, but then when traffic picks up again, you've got to switch back to D because S locks out overdrive and has the engine revving needlessly at a 65-mph cruise. I could shift it manually, but if this is the "automatic-transmission" GTI, why should I have to?

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2015 Volkswagen GTI: Surprisingly Spacious Rear Seats

February 23, 2015

2015 Volkswagen GTI

Considering its small footprint, our 2015 Volkswagen GTI packs a lot of space into the cabin. It's not obvious from the driver seat, but sit in back and you realize there's enough room for an average-sized adult to sit comfortably.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Superb Seats

February 19, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI has good seats. Really good seats. Possibly you remember the wildly over-bolstered seats in our 2013 Ford Focus ST? They were polarizing. Some people loved the support they offered, but many, like me, thought it possible to offer similar support without such aggressive bolsters.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Good Navigation System Interface

February 18, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

One of the first functions I came to appreciate in our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI is its navigation system's interface. This is a small detail, but it's one I always notice. First, the zoom function is accomplished using a knob. Knobs are always better than buttons, especially touchscreen buttons.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Traffic Alerts That Cry Wolf

February 17, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

So there I was, exiting the freeway in our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI hatchback near Los Angeles International airport. I was on my way to a parking structure before catching a flight to Barcelona, Spain to drive the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata.

All of a sudden an alert popped up. There were two of them, in fact: one on the small information screen wedged between the gauges and another covering whatever had been showing on the large central audio/navigation screen. The larger one wouldn't go away until I acknowledged it by pressing "OK" on the touchscreen.

Apparently there was a wrong-way driver on I-5 at Cannon Street.

But I was a dozen miles from Interstate 5's nearest tangent point. And even though I'd heard of Cannon Street, I couldn't place it. I looked it up after I parked the VW and unloaded my luggage.

Cannon Street is in Carlsbad, California. It's the Legoland exit in northern San Diego County. In other words, the alert referred to something going on 93 miles south of my position. Some 4 million people live between here and there.

What a waste of my time and attention. This car has navigation. It couldn't issue the warning if it didn't. It knows where I am. It knows the distance to the threat. And it knows I'm not neither headed in that direction nor traveling on the road in question.

A fluke, you say? Apparently our Audi A3, a close relation to this V-dub, has done this, too. But I'm not done with my GTI rant just yet.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: A Driver's Car Once Again

February 13, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

I drove our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI for the first time this week. And, for the first time in several generations, I'm excited about a new GTI. This, it seems, is a car developed by those who like to drive for those who like to drive. It represents a shift in philosophy for a car that was the foundation of an entire movement but had most definitely lost its way.

But this GTI? It's for real.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Fuel Economy Update for January

February 4, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI hatchback has been with us for three and a half months, during which time it has accumulated 6,083 miles.

This month 1,819 miles were added, the most so far by a thin margin. January's average fuel economy works out to 26.4 mpg, which is a welcome bump over the three previous reporting periods: 25.6, 25.7 and 25.3 mpg. It was enough to raise the GTI's overall average to 25.8 mpg.

That's directionally encouraging, but the GTI is still coming up short of its 28 mpg EPA combined rating. Maybe things will pick up as it accumulates more road trip miles.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Key Card Slot

January 30, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

I'm certain that if this 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI were my personal car, this slot would permanently house my key card that actuates the office building's parking arm. It's snug-fitting and quite deep, nearly enveloping the entire card, so that there's not a chance of the card popping out or getting in the way. I'm guessing those other two slots are for fitty-cent worth of quarters. Right?

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Another Use for S Mode

January 29, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI is equipped with the DSG dual-clutch automated-manual transmission. While it's not as clever as Porsche's similar PDK transmission (still the benchmark), VW's DSG does a very good job with smooth, nearly seamless shifts in typical driving and rapid shifts when things get going. The one scenario where it exhibits some less-than-optimal behavior is bumper-to-bumper traffic. When in Drive, the car sometimes starts from a standstill in second gear, often short-shifts (to the next, higher gear) at a very low rpm just as I go to the brake and once there and is loath to downshift when I squeeze either the brake or the throttle.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Vegas Road Trip Impressions

January 28, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

I've been the designated reporter to cover the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas for the past three years. I took a plane the first time, caught a ride the second time and this year I drove.

I didn't get a good first impression of our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI the first time I drove it, so I figured I'd take it on this trip to give it a second chance.

The last GTI I drove was a former long-term car and I remember really liking it. But it was a manual and that was about four years ago. I should note that I may be biased toward that sixth generation Golf, since I have a TDI of the same vintage. So maybe it's me looking back with rose-colored goggles on the last GTI, or maybe it's me being so familiar with that Golf that I regard any change as bad.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Newest and Oldest

January 27, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

The original GTI, the Rabbit GTI, (the Golf was initially called the Rabbit in the U.S.) debuted in the states for 1983. It was something of a landmark car, as it started the "hot hatch" segment and put to rest the belief that driving a small, practical and economical car had to be a snooze fest.

Being something of a car trivia buff, I wondered how our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI compared to the original in terms of size and performance. What a difference three decades makes...

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Moving Day

January 23, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

One of my best friends recently bought his first house, and I offered a bit of extra muscle to move his considerable amount of stuff to the new place. Muscle being a euphemism, as lifting anything heavier than an empty hamster cage triggers a medically alarming amount of perspiration and ends with my damaged body crumpled in the fetal position with a slipped disc. I had the 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI that weekend, and it doesn't exactly have enough storage space to move an entire apartment. However, I was still able to take boxes and assorted items with the rear seats folded.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Useful Cargo Space

January 19, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Our long-term 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI has a roomy cargo area. With the rear seats folded, it has 52.7 cubic feet of cargo space, which is more than our long-term Mazda 3 hatchback (47.1 cu.ft.) or the Ford Focus ST (44.8 cu.ft). Smaller hot hatches like the four-door Mini Cooper S (40.7 cu.ft.) and the 2015 Nissan Juke Nismo RS (35.9 cu.ft.) have even less. The interior measurements aren't the only reason the GTI is a better candidate for cargo duty, though.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Bum Seat Heater

January 16, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI doesn't have the plaid seats it should. Instead, VW cruelly makes GTI buyers choose between the awesome throwback and cloth-lined buckets dual-zone climate control and Navigation. Seat heating, however, is available on both* and an absolute must have.

Except when it doesn't work. Like on the passenger seat of our GTI.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Audio and Touchscreen Review

January 13, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Our long-term 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI is the top trim level, also known as Autobahn. The Autobahn (and the mid-level SE) comes with a nine-speaker Fender audio system. This system is paired to the same 5.8-inch touchscreen you get in the standard GTI, and while that may seem a bit small by today's standards, it functions pretty well.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: 2015 North American Car of the Year

January 12, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

The 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI has been named the 2015 North American Car of the Year.

Michael Horn, CEO of the Volkswagen Group of America said, "Volkswagen is thrilled to start 2015 with the Golf and Golf GTI taking home the incredible North American Car of the Year title. This award highlights our achievements and hard work in the past year, and we are confident that the Golf family will continue to pave the way for the brand in the year ahead."

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Good Cargo Hauler

January 12, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Christmas arrived in the form of a 60-lb, big-as-a-house photo printer from B&H Photo and Video in NYC. It presented the perfect opportunity to test the cargo-hauling capabilities of the 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI. The seats flipped down easily and the cargo cover/shelf was simple to unsnap. Load height was perfect, too. And there was some room to spare on the side and front.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Prefer Austin to Detroit

January 9, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

We still have plenty of time to form our collective take on this new-generation GTI. Our former 2010 model had fans and detractors. Most of us liked its athletic character and slick gearbox. Our more hardcore drivers hated its understeering softness and stability control intervention when really given the wood.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Fuel Economy Update for December

January 7, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI was driven more than 1,500 miles in the month of December. It made seven trips to the gas station, with one of those fills being the lowest mpg to date.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Highly Recommended

January 6, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

A few days ago, I was talking with a friend of mine who's been thinking about buying a new car. Actually, he's been thinking for months now, and I've heard his whole thought process during that time that has run the gamut from a Honda CR-V to a used Jeep Wrangler to a brand new luxury sport sedan like the BMW 3 Series or Lexus IS 350.

Anyway, I think he's finally getting closer to the point when he's going to buy a car to replace his old Lexus IS. That sense of urgency could also have something to do with the fact that he and his wife just had their first child. He's got a lot to think about. So I simplified it for him. I said, "Just buy a 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI."

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: GTI Generation Spotter Guide

December 30, 2014

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

There have been a couple of times now when I've seen a GTI on the road and thought: "Is that a new GTI or an old GTI?" The styling changes for the 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI are pretty subtle. I've put together a few pictures to show the differences.

The first photo is our new, seventh-generation 2015 GTI, of course. Next is a 2014 VW GTI (photo courtesy of Volkswagen of America). It's a Driver's Edition, so it has the special "Laguna" wheels, but the photo is an effective close-up of the sixth-generation car's front-end styling.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: 30-Pin, Too

December 26, 2014

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Like our A3, our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI is still holding onto its heritage via the stock 30-pin iPod connector.

And the VW fix is actually worse...

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Much Improved Handling

December 19, 2014

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

The previous generation Volkswagen GTI was a great daily driver and fun up to a certain point if you drive with enthusiasm. But if you really wanted a car that you could push hard on a twisty road or hammer at a high-performance driving event, there were some people who felt it just wasn't up to the task. We learned that with our old 2010 GTI. I went back and looked at some of our updates on that car. Relatively soft suspension tuning, modest tire grip (at least with the all-season tires) and a zealous stability control system were the typical complaints.

But now we have something completely different. This new 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI has received all sorts of accolades for its newfound dynamic prowess. I was curious to check it personally, so I took the key to our GTI and headed out for a test run on some local back roads.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Suitably Classy Interior

December 17, 2014

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

In recent years, the Volkswagen GTI has earned a reputation for having an upscale interior. Pleasingly, that trend continues with the 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI. Open the solid-feeling driver door and take a seat. Here you'll find a straightforward design finished with high quality materials. So, German.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Surprisingly Strong and Vice-Free Power

December 16, 2014

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

How much power do you want from your front-wheel-drive sport compact? "A thousand horsepower!" would be the likely answer from my 10-year-old next-door neighbor. And why not, right? But as you likely know, there's a limit of how much power you can put down in a front-drive car before it all goes up in tire smoke and/or vexing torque steer.

Volkswagen upped the power on the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine fitted to its 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI. It's now listed at 210 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. That's a healthy boost compared to the 200 hp and 207 lb-ft in the 2014 car. True, more power is available from the 252-hp Ford Focus ST or, if you don't mind buying used, an old Mazdaspeed 3. But the new GTI's power output is surprisingly strong and effective.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Performance Tested

December 12, 2014

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

We're digging our new 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI. So much so that our Tornado Red hot hatch only had a few weeks of driving behind it before we had blown past the 1,000-mile engine break-in period. We quickly headed for the track to see if Volkswagen had addressed the overly-intrusive ESC system that we took umbrage with on our last-generation long-termer. After our day at the track, we pulled the performance numbers from our 2013 Ford Focus ST to see how the new GTI fared against the competition.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Happy to Have a GTI in the Fleet Again

December 11, 2014

2015 Volkswagen GTI

If you look through the list of past cars we've had in the Edmunds long-term fleet you'll see that we had a 2010 GTI. I still have fond memories of that car, and it remains one of my all-time favorite cars we've had as long-term tests. Now we have the newest generation 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI model in for another year-long go-around. Right on!

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2015 Volkswagen GTI: Fuel Economy Update for November

December 4, 2014

2015 Volkswagen GTI

If the first month and a half is any indication, we should have no issue reaching the 20,000-mile mark in a year. Since we received the GTI in mid-October, we've already racked-up over 2,700 miles.

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2015 Volkswagen GTI: Great Gauges

November 27, 2014

 2015 Volkswagen GTI

Describing instrument panel gauges as "watch-like" is a common refrain among car designers. Unfortunately, it's usually more bluster than fact. Not so in our new 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: The Way I Would Have Ordered It

November 25, 2014

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

First off, let me say I seriously enjoy driving our new 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI. What a stunningly good turbo four-cylinder engine, plus fun new handling manners.

But the way we ordered the car is not the way I would have gotten it.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Engine Break-In Road Trip

November 21, 2014

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

I spent a long weekend with our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI during its engine break-in period. We spent over 10 hours and 500 miles together. Here's what we did in pictures, and a few words...

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