2015 Volkswagen Golf

What's new for 2015? The Volkswagen Golf has been completely redesigned for 2015.

The Volkswagen Golf wasn't the first hatchback invented, but in its 40-year history it has come to define the segment. Like other long-serving German cars, the Golf has evolved over time. Parking all seven generations side by side makes this progression and the traditional Golf formula -- versatility with a dash of performance -- easy to discern. The evolution of the all-new 2015 Volkswagen Golf is so subtle that the casual observer will likely miss the differences.

Reshaped headlights and taillights, and side body panels with slightly sharper creases are the only giveaways that this is a new-generation Golf. The interior is also very similar, with only minor changes and improvements to note.

But underneath that refreshed sheet metal is an all-new body structure and a more powerful, efficient gasoline engine. The underperforming 2.5-liter five-cylinder is gone, a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder in its place delivering strong acceleration and respectable fuel economy. If top fuel economy is your priority, diesel power also returns with the Golf TDI, though with only modest gains in power and fuel economy. Inside, the 2015 Golf looks and feels much like its predecessor, but there's actually more space for passengers and cargo. Materials quality is marginally better, along with a slightly updated infotainment interface

Exterior Highlights
Two or four-door hatchback available in base S, SE, TDI and TDI S trim levels

The 2015 Volkswagen Golf hatchback is available as a two- or four-door hatchback in four major trim levels.

The base Golf Launch Edition will have limited availability and is only offered in the two-door body style with a manual transmission. Standard features include 15-inch steel wheels, heated mirrors, air-conditioning, a front seat center armrest, cloth upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 60/40-split-folding rear seats with a center pass-through, hill-hold assist, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 5.8-inch touchscreen audio interface, satellite radio and iPod connectivity.

The Golf S is available as either a two- or four-door and adds alloy wheels, cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, leatherette (premium vinyl) upholstery and VW's Car-Net emergency telematics system. Power reclining front seats are also included if the optional automatic transmission and/or sunroof is added.

The SE trim is only available as a four-door with the automatic transmission, sunroof and partial power seats. Added features include 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, automatic wipers, heated front seats, a rearview camera and a premium Fender audio system. To that, the range-topping SEL trim adds 18-inch wheels, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, sport front seats with a 10-way power-adjustable driver seat (with power lumbar), a navigation system and interior ambient lighting with LED reading lamps.

Also offered are diesel-powered four-door-only TDI models available with either manual or automatic transmissions. The Golf TDI S includes all of the standard Golf SE features but substitutes 16-inch alloy wheels. Stepping up to the Golf TDI SE adds 17-inch wheels, while the TDI SEL is appointed identically to its gasoline SEL counterpart.

Two package options are available. The Lighting package includes bi-xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, cornering lights that shine light through turns and the ambient interior and LED reading lights if not already included. The Driver Assistance package includes front and rear parking sensors and a forward collision warning system.

Comfortable and sporty interior cabin, 5.8-inch touchscreen, intuituve buttons and switches, added leg and shoulder room, rear seats fold flat

The 2015 Volkswagen Golf's interior features well-grained materials that are soft to the touch and a cabin design that is, while somewhat austere, comfortable and even sporty, thanks to bold red stitching. Buttons and switches are placed close to the driver and offer intuitive, simple control. The 5.8-inch touchscreen works well and is easily read at a glance.

Front seats provide ample support and comfort, even during long-distance driving stints, and not at the sacrifice of rear seat passengers. The new Golf's added leg- and shoulder room make the small hatch feel big, although the low-mounted rear seat cushions are best suited to smaller passengers. Up to 22.8 cubic feet of cargo can be accommodated behind the rear seats, while folding the seats flat provides a class-leading 52.7 cubic feet of space.

Standard safety features for the 2015 VW Golf include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag. A post-crash braking system is also standard and automatically applies the brakes after an impact to reduce the likelihood of a secondary crash. Forward collision warning and front and rear parking sensors are optional.

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