2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI Long-Term Road Test - Audio & Technology

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI Long-Term Road Test

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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: 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 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 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: 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: 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: 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 GTI: Radio Reset

November 13, 2014

2015 Volkswagen GTI

If one neglects to manually shut-off the audio system in our new 2015 Volkswagen GTI before shutting the car off, it appears as if the power to the audio unit is cut, sort of.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: On Screen Traffic-Hazard Warning

November 7, 2014

2015 Volkswagen GTI

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.

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2015 Volkswagen GTI: Rearview Camera

November 6, 2014

2015 Volkswagen GTI

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.

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