by Jonathan Elfalan, Road Test Editor on October 5, 2015
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?
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on September 23, 2015
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?
July 28, 2015
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.
July 6, 2015
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?
May 19, 2015
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.
May 11, 2015
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.
May 3, 2015
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.
April 20, 2015
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.
April 16, 2015
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.
March 26, 2015
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.
March 25, 2015
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.
March 13, 2015
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.
March 3, 2015
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.
March 2, 2015
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
February 23, 2015
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.
February 19, 2015
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.
February 17, 2015
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.
January 16, 2015
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.
December 17, 2014
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.
November 27, 2014
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.
November 25, 2014
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.
November 14, 2014
With such a large, glass roof on our 2015 Volkswagen GTI, I was a little surprised by a couple of interesting details. First, is that it slides back at all. As we've seen from other cars with enormous glass-panel roofs (like the Audi A5), they usually just tilt and don't slide open. Our GTI's roof pops up and slides quite a distance, in fact.
Also, it holds another nice surprise.
November 7, 2014
We're still investigating from which feature this warning originates in our 2015 Volkswagen GTI, but we do appreciate it. I don't have the owner's manual handy at the moment, so I did a cursory search on Volkswagen's handy Know Your VW Web site, but I came up empty. My gut says that this message is part of the traffic function of the navigation system.
November 6, 2014
While backing out of my garage in our 2015 Volkswagen GTI, I noticed the fine-tuning options for the rearview camera. Since we're now living in a world full of screens, it seems natural then to have these adjustments available. I appreciate being able to tweak brightness, contrast and color, and I did so.