2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Eco Minders Ruin the Fun
By Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor on September 18, 2015
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:
Don't rev the engine. Don't enjoy the wind and smell of the mountain road. Don't use any more rpm than absolutely necessary for forward propulsion, else sacred gas droplets might be needlessly consumed. Don't have fun.
Don't get me wrong. These are sound, fuel-saving tips. Driving with the windows down increases drag and worsens fuel economy. Keeping engine speed up while you putt around town burns fuel, too. But the last thing that should happen when you're having fun, in a car intended to be fun, is be told to stop.
If my priority was fuel efficiency, I wouldn't be in a turbocharged GTI equipped with summer tires. I'd be in a less-expensive diesel Golf TDI or, if the commute and finances were right, an electric e-Golf.
Fortunately you can turn these Eco tips off — unlike the stability control. Small steps, Volkswagen. Small steps.
Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor @ 18,420 miles