by Mike Magrath, Features Editor on October 23, 2015
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.
by Travis Langness, Social Media Editor on October 15, 2015
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.
by Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor on October 12, 2015
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.
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on October 8, 2015
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.
by Mike Monticello, Senior Road Test Editor on September 10, 2015
I try not to be one of those guys who (a) falls in love with a girl on the first date and (b) tells everyone within earshot how amazing the girl was. Those guys are saps.
I'm now officially a sap. Because I had the most magical first date the other night. Sure, she was a bit older, but at my age I can't be too picky anymore. Plus, she was friendly, easy to get to know, and made the most incredible sounds.
Whoa, slow down there. Get your mind out of the gutter. You thought I was talking about a girl of the human variety, didn't you? Nope, I'm talking about our 1966 Chevrolet Corvette. I just drove her for the first time. And it was good. Real good.
There was a girl of human form along, too, but that's a relatively unimportant point compared to driving the old Vette.
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:
August 4, 2015
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.
August 2, 2015
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.
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 24, 2015
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.
July 19, 2015
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.
June 29, 2015
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.
June 24, 2015
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.
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 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 22, 2015
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.
I was intrigued. Does the new GTI truly address the concerns levied upon the earlier car? To find out, I drove it.
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 17, 2015
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.
March 10, 2015
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.
February 26, 2015
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.
February 25, 2015
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.
February 24, 2015
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?
February 13, 2015
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.
January 29, 2015
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.
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.
January 27, 2015
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...
December 19, 2014
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.
December 16, 2014
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.
December 12, 2014
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.
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 12, 2014
More power is rarely looked down upon around here. Most cars get better when they have more guts underneath the hood, but our 2015 Volkswagen GTI isn't one of them, at least not all of the time.
November 5, 2014
It is well into the internal-combustion engine's second century, and yet we still need to break-in an engine before using it to its full potential. We crossed that magic mile-marker in our 2015 Volkswagen GTI Autobahn about 350 miles ago, so we're scheduling it for its first, full test at the track.
October 31, 2014
So which all-new four-door Volkswagen product with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and six-speed dual-clutch transmission have we just added to our long-term fleet?
The A3 and GTI share an underlying structure, but performance, on-road feel and, most importantly, price keep these compacts from walking down the same path. The base price of a GTI is roughly $5,000 less than a bare-bones A3, and you get more engine for the money, but miss out on in-car WiFi. You get the idea.
So the GTI ends up being the hell-raising younger brother to the cool and collected A3, but that's not the GTI's real competition. Two years ago, the wicked Ford Focus ST barged onto the scene with aggressive styling and more horsepower, and proceeded to whoop the GTI in performance testing and on mountain roads. We quickly added one to our long-term fleet and fell in lust. But we compared it to the old GTI, and with the newest iteration finally here, we need to see if the old girl still has some fight in her.