2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Vegas Road Trip Impressions
January 28, 2015
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.
Sadly, I'm still down on this car. I don't like driving the GTI in the city. It rides too rough for my tastes, for starters. The DSG transmission has a fair amount of lag from a stop, and it shifts too soon in Normal mode. Sport mode is too high-strung.
Once I got the GTI on the open road however, the transmission and stiff suspension weren't issues. There was plenty of power to pass slower cars and climb steep grades.
I averaged about 30.4 mpg on the way to Vegas and 31.9 mpg on the way back. The outbound tank set the car's record for longest range (333.3 miles). The return-trip fill was notable for having the best mpg to date. This was even more impressive since I had an average speed of about 77 mph on the way back. But despite the new record, our GTI still fell short of the EPA's estimated 33 mpg for the highway.
If it were my money, well, I'd probably get another TDI. But if someone asked me to make a recommendation, I'd say buy a regular Golf 1.8T. It costs less, has almost as much power, is more fuel efficient and features a cushier ride.
I'm probably out on an island with my opinions, but what do you think?
Ronald Montoya, Consumer Advice Editor @ 5,185 miles