in Affordable Small Cars

MSRP: $19,295 - $39,090
Invoice: $18,523 - $37,527
MPG: 25 City / 36 Hwy
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Volkswagen Golf Review

The 2015 Volkswagen Golf ranks 2 out of 41 Affordable Small Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the Volkswagen Golf, as well as reliability and safety data.

The 2015 Volkswagen Golf is ranked:

The redesigned 2015 Volkswagen Golf wows the automotive press with agile handling, exceptional cargo space and remarkable interior quality. 

With the best combination of positive reviews and long-term ownership costs in its class, the Volkswagen Golf is our 2015 Best Compact Car for the Money. Its combination of space, safety and reliability ratings, as well as its available family-friendly features, help the Golf earn the 2015 Best Compact Car for Families award. 

The 2015 VW Golf comes with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and while most test drivers note that it offers plenty of power in most situations, a few write that it could offer a bit more passing power. However, the turbodiesel Golf TDI earns praise for its ample low-end power and impressive fuel economy. A manual transmission is standard and an automatic, which some reviewers prefer for its quick shifts, is optional. The base 2015 Golf gets an EPA-estimated 25/37 mpg city/highway, which is comparable to what many compact cars get. Meanwhile, the Golf TDI gets up to 31/45 mpg, which is exceptional for the class. Critics praise the 2015 Golf for its controlled handling, noting that it stays planted through turns. Many also appreciate its strong brakes, accurate steering and comfortable ride.

Auto writers say that the redesigned Volkswagen Golf has a cabin that’s more luxurious than what most affordable small cars offer. They report that the cabin is filled with first-rate materials, and that the front seats feel comfortable and supportive, even on long highway drives. Most reviewers agree that the 2015 Golf’s back seat is also surprisingly roomy, and at 52.7 cubic feet, the Golf has more overall cargo space than the majority of its competitors. Test drivers appreciate the Golf’s user-friendly touch-screen audio system. However, some note that the audio system's display is on the small side, and that the Golf isn’t available with features like blind spot monitoring and smartphone app integration, which are becoming more common in the class. The base 2015 Golf comes standard with an iPod adapter, Bluetooth, satellite radio and an audio system with a 5.8-inch touch-screen display. Available features include a sunroof, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, forward collision warning, navigation and a Fender audio system.

  • "If you're looking for a well-rounded, sophisticated car in this segment, you should give the new Golf a go." -- AutoTrader  
  • "Drives in each of the models proved the point mentioned earlier: that VWs are a cut above. Solid steering feel, muted thumps over bumps, quietness, ride composure, and interior design and materials all befit a car with a premium nameplate." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "Small qualms aside, the new 2015 Golf is an impressively solid little hatch. It suffers none of the cheapening that afflicts the Jetta, and instead offers better features and a better driving experience than before. Buyers will actually feel the value in this car, and that bodes well for a brand hoping to sell more cars in America." -- Motor Trend 
  • "The Golf offers tremendous utility and good fuel economy, a fun-to-drive spirit, and one of the best interiors in its class." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "By all accounts, the Golf should be a success, as the little hatchback is undeniably towards the front of the pack in the small car segment." -- Autoblog 

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Other Cars to Consider

The Mazda3 gets great fuel economy, and reviewers note that it offers particularly athletic handling for the class. Like the Golf, test drivers agree that the Mazda3’s cabin is upscale for a compact car, and many appreciate its user-friendly tech features.

The Ford Focus also pleases reviewers with its engaging driving dynamics, as well as its striking cabin design and high-quality materials. The Focus is available as a sedan or a hatchback, and the high-performance Focus ST stands out as one of the most powerful cars in the class.

Compare the Golf, Mazda3 and Focus »

Details: 2015 Volkswagen Golf

The 2015 Volkswagen Golf has front-wheel drive and is available as a two- or four-door hatchback. A turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual transmission are standard on the base Golf, while a six-speed automatic transmission is available. The Golf is fully redesigned for the 2015 model year, and is available in Launch Edition, S, SE and SEL trims.

See 2015 Volkswagen Golf specs »

Review Last Updated: 3/9/15

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