I absolutely love my Golf TDI. I do wish VW had kept the independent rear suspension, but I honestly don't notice that much of a handling difference. The solid quality build structure I think really helps the handling. VW can get away with the inferior suspension and it still drives like a car built for the Autobahn.
I love the torquey diesel, and I've been getting 38 mpg city, which is awesome. On the highway, I have gotten 55 mpg under 70 mph. If the GTD had been available I would have bought that, but this little diesel is an awesome second choice. I've wanted this car for over two years...it's been worth the wait. I'll probably never go back to a gas engine or a non European car.
Lets get the emission out of the way. I traded in a later model Mustang GT in on my TDI. I was obviously losing power, but I was gaining quality. A more balanced ideal for the urban jungle. The day we bought it, I bought a mid-size chest freezer. I didn't even hesitate, I just shoved it in my car. If you can buy one, get the manual. You MPG will amaze you sometimes. My engine is still breaking in and I am seeing 57+ on the highway. The DSG/Auto get about 47mpg, and is costly to maintain in comparison, so get the manual and it will reward you.
My little smog-box hugs the road, makes a unique grumble that the diesel provides and has minimal turbo lag. Interior is better than anything under $30k from the USA, and more well-rounded than anything from Japan. Maintenance will be more, but I prepaid that and extended the warranty as far as I could.
It was bitter sweet handing over the keys to my Mustang, that straight axle petro guzzling neighbor waking machine, but I have no regrets. Handling is amazing, the mileage makes Prius owners look like... well Prius owners. I would buy it again, even with the dieselgate drama. It is also a ton easier to load our camping gear into it. Though I will miss the funny looks we got when unpacking our belongings from the mustang.
I was tired of pumping gas for my LX570 2 times per week so i made a big move or shall i say a small move.I always liked my daughters 2008 rabbit and have loved diesels in the past so i sold the suv and bought the golf. What a great car to drive. it is so responsive and fun. I am 6''5" and cannot have the seat all of the way back. I have more legroom than in the big LX. Go drive one, you will love it. my first tank took me 500 miles of mostly city and some highway driving. I am impressed. They look great too.
This is an outstanding car. I drive it like [non-permissible content removed] and my average mpg is 40.6. I thought the suspension change would be a negative, but it handles great.The only issues I have are the stereo being on 87.7 when I start it(sometimes) and the rear washer leaking. Oh, and the passenger door is hard to close... your door isn't shut...your door isn't shut....nope, nope, there you go.
Some design aspects of the car are now driven by cost cutters at VW. Lets take a look at some things simple....starting with the door hinges! They have shrunk dramatically compared to my 2013 Jetta hinges. Door detent stops are pretty useless and you will easily hit your door on the car next to you in a parking lot.
Seats....creaking and popping from the backrest of the drivers seat is getting quite annoying.
Oil changes look a bit more involved on the EA 288 engine due to the filter location. The dash icons have shrunk in size....you may need reading glasses to see them! Headlights are not as powerful as on my Jetta, high beam is pretty much useless. Get used to hitting your head when exiting this car....you need to be agile to get in and out. Hidden door key slot is not user friendly....ref Jetta again. Interior light buttons hard to find in the dark....four buttons in close proximity. The dash illumination reflects in the side window. The exterior mirror demisters only operate at under 68deg F.....not good for humid Texas mornings that start out at 8O deg F. Exterior mirrors have suffered due to fashion/aerodynamics taking over functionality....they are too small....ref Jetta again, much better! Performance.... pretty good but does get caught out below 1800 rpm....very noticeable turbo lag. Economy....good so far. Mark VII Golf has grown apart from it's predecessor. I'm not sure where VW are going with these design changes apart from cost cutting. Safety wise, add as many airbags as you wish but make visibility better starting with the door mirrors. I am thinking a lot has to do with the adoption of exhaust treatment equipment that has driven costs up and profits down.
OK, lots of things have changed since the above review. The VW Diesel Emissions scandal being the main one! On top of this, visits to the Dealership for warranty repairs and a service have left me completely unimpressed. I understand this car will be bought back by VW and scrapped. So much for being environmentally less damaging. This has been the worst buying and owning experience of any car I have owned in over 35 years and over 40 vehicles over that time period.
Update, January 2017. The Diesel emission scandal is still ongoing. I opted for the buy back but the process is extremely slow and time consuming with forms to be filled out, notarized and uploaded to the VW Claims portal. Due to an error in my form, the portal has to be reset and I have told this could take 28 days! No option to go back to the steps that was incorrect. On top of this, the Dealership where I go for service and parts have had many people quit since the emissions woes and the replacements are not very helpful. I waited 35 minutes for a parts guy to help last week as he was the only one there. I was the only walk in customer but his phone never stopped ringing. Other issues with the car include front brake rotors warped, (Dealer machined them true, under warranty) a noise from the drivers side front suspension when turning (Dealer can't find what it causing it) engine under tray fell off after an oil change....suspect it wasn't put back correctly ($290 to have it replaced) windshield mists over on the inside first thing in the morning when the blower is turned on, loose drivers inside door handle and drivers seat lumbar adjuster knob keeps falling off. Overall, this has been and is continuing to be, a poor experience and one not to expect from a company such as VW.