This is my third VW and I love the idea of the brand, i.e., an affordable, well-made, fun-to-drive regular European car available in the US. This segment simply doesn't exist here -- we get Japanese efficiency boxes, highly reliable but dull; or expensive European luxury like Audi, BMW and Mercedes. Europeans have access to ordinary cars that perform well, carry 4-5 people, are well made, economical, and not "luxury" (VW, Peugeot, Seat etc). VW owns that entire segment in the US, so why they screw up so often with scandals and shoddy workmanship are beyond me. That said, despite the outrageous TDI error, I tried VW again after being happy with a Civic for 8 years (great car, not too fun to drive). I wanted economy this time as well, plus good seating for 4, plus more fun. New Golf seemed the trick, especially with the new turbo 4 replacing the ridiculous 5-cylinder knockbox. The Golf is built on the MQB platform, same as Audi A3 and other VW/Audi compacts. So with the turbo 4, it feels like an A3, which is fantastic. It is a traditional compact car so it feels a little old-fashioned inside, especially if you're used to the open, sweeping feel of a Civic interior. You can see VW tried very hard with lots of quality interior components -- soft-touch dashboard, leather steering wheel and shift knob, carpeted storage area in door -- yet still they messed up. The "panoramic sunroof" squeaked and rattled relentlessly for a year; had to bring it to dealer 3-4 times; once they replaced the entire glass panel (I was told the glass had been poured incorrectly) and the last time VW finally sent out a service bulletin and had a fix, a sealing tape the dealer installed that should muffle the squeaks. Still, it came back, and now I used some rubber deal lubricant I read about on a VW forum. In any case, VW really seems to shoot itself in the foot -- offering a great car at a good price, but with quality control issues that make it really unpleasant and seem like a cheap piece of junk. Given the annoyance after only one year, I'm watching with hesitation to see what breaks next. I wish I could like and trust VW, and it seems insane that owning an entire segment in the US, they would make so many mistakes. Consumer Reports is not happy with Golf's long-term reliability, so while the car is fun to drive and has many exceptional characteristics, I don't have the feeling of confidence and security in the purchase. Time will tell. I'll hope to update the review in a year or so with good news.
Developed vibration after a month and VW wont help
written on 01-17-2017
TSI Wolfsburg Edition 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5M)
At first I dismissed VW since I could not get features I needed with manual transmission. VW came up with Wolsfburg edition. This was perfect configuration. I loved the car when I bought it. Very smooth, you ride it like on rails, quiet too - unlike Civic and Mazda 3 I testdrove. Has enough power and good pickup on low RPMs. I thought I got luxury car for a price of econobox. Then, 6 weeks later, after less than 2K miles engine developed vibrations. You can feel it though the steering wheel. Can deal on the short trips but if you have to hold it for an hour you feel everything shakes around. You can feel whole car shaking sometimes when started cold. Put your hand on idling engine and it is all shaking. I did not have so much vibration on my 99 Accord with 200K miles on it. It was rust bucket, yes... but never jumped around so much. I took it to the dealer and the answer is - unless it breaks or Check Engine comes up - nothing can do. This was my second visit. First one was due to paint peeling in the size of a dollar bill which they fixed with the heat gun. Will see how long I can last and if it goes away, if not this Golf will be up for sale lot sooner than I anticipated.
TSI Wolfsburg Edition 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
Have had a 2017 TSI Wolfsberg w 6 spd AT for a month and 800 miles now. Still a little too new for good evaluation but so far I'm thinking this is gonna be a great car. Nice thing about the '17 Wolfie is that it is better equipped than the any of the 2016 TSIs. Comes standard with 16" Alloys, Front Assist with Autonomous Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Monitor with rear traffic alert, automatic headlights and such niceties as a power sunroof, heated front seats, keyless access & start and rain sensing wipers. Although I have desired a GTI for the last 6 years, I realized the extra performance was something I would benefit from or use < 5% of the time & simply couldn't justify the added cost. Got the Wolfburg for $20,830 + T & L; that was about $10K less than a GTI with DAP which was a must for me. But of course to be perfect (at least for me) it needs about $1,500 in accessories such as larger rear sway bar, Auto dim Homelink mirror, pop up hatch, LED tails & headlights; and of course better tires - upgraded to Michelin Premiers for best suite of AS characteristics for Pacific Northwest weather. Even with these upgrades it is still a steal compared to the GTI. Items such as pop up hatch, larger RSB & Homelink mirror not available on GTI at any price so I would added them to a GTI also. Only weak point I have detected so far is the OEM lights are quite poor. It's a shame that the Lighting Package was discontinued as an option for all Golfs except high end GTI models. This Golf replaced a much loved 2011 Honda Fit -- very similar utility, almost identical interior & exterior dimensions, but quite a significant boost in performance & comfort over the Fit. The best brief description I can give for the Wolfsberg edition is "GTI Lite" or "Honda Fit On Steroids". So far in love with my Wolfie, but with < than 1,000 miles so far I've got my fingers crossed for reliability compared to many Hondas & Subies I have owned.
Great fuel mileage, very sturdy on the highway. Previous GTI owner (1989 European model)...performance with manual is better than the 8valve GTI. Shifting is a bit vague, and clutch release is very short. After a 400+ mile hwy/town/country road trip, averaged just over 40 mpg, but never got above 75 and shift at 2000-2400 rpm. Golf handles steep hills in 5th and cruise control with ease. Would not normally write a review after 4 days...but this vehicle is a pleasure to drive even with flighty shift pattern. After 6 months, the clutch and shift pattern remains vague; however, the performance, fuel mileage, and comfort greatly outweigh the cons. I am averaging over 35 mpg combined, and often see 40 mpg going to work--no traffic and hitting no traffic lights. Would buy another Golf.