(San Francisco, California) Volkswagen has long been one of the few automakers to stand behind turbodiesel drivetrains as a fuel-saving technology, and the next-generation 2015 Volkswagen Golf continues the brand’s tradition of offering a diesel-powered option at an affordable price point.
Not only does the 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI offer an all-new engine under the hood, but the base Volkswagen Golf TSI has also graduated to a more frugal turbocharged gas engine of its own. There’s even an electric option for 2015 tantalizing EV fans – the e-Golf – which may or may not eventually go on sale in Canada.
New Diesel Engine Means More Efficiency
Like all versions of the 2015 Golf, the TDI rides on the brand’s MQB modular platform, which brings with it several styling changes (longer hood, set-back passenger compartment, more interior room) as well as 30-kg weight loss compared to last year’s car. In addition, the 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI now offers a 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engine that offers the same displacement as last year’s mill, but features 10 additional horsepower as well as an all-new design.
The Golf TDI’s revised engine is good for 150 horses and 236 lb-ft of torque, sent through either a six-speed manual or a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual gearbox to the front wheels. Efficiency is up, too, with the TDI consuming 7.6 l/100 km around town and a miserly 5.6 l/100 km on the highway, and this represents a modest but appreciated improvement.
Unfortunately for the Golf TDI, the more powerful diesel engine requires the installation of a urea injection system, a necessary step for the car to meet emissions requirements. In order to find room for the urea fluid tank without sacrificing cargo space, VW elected to remove the multi-link rear suspension found underneath all other versions of the Golf and give the TDI a torsion-beam setup that doesn’t quite offer the same level of handling prowess. Not many turbodiesel buyers are driving enthusiasts, but those who are should take note of the Golf TDI’s handicap.
Less Thirsty Four-Cylinder Replaces Old-Tech Five-Banger
For those seeking to stick with gas but save at the fuel pump, there’s some good news waiting under the base 2015 Volkswagen Golf TSI’s hood: a 1.8-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder motor that replaces the 2.5-liter, five-cylinder unit that used to reside between the hatchback’s front fenders.
Not only was the five-cylinder rough and noisy, but it was also far from competitive with regard to fuel efficiency. The new TSI model doesn’t just boost the gas-powered Golf’s range by way of its 9.1 l/100 km city and 6.5 l/100 km highway rating, but it also brings significantly more torque to the table: the 1.8-liter boasts 170 horsepower and 200 lb-ft of twist in total.
There’s a catch when it comes to comparing the Golf TSI to other compact hatchbacks, and it has to do with its manual transmission. The standard shift-it-yourself box for the TSI is limited to five speeds in a world where six speeds have become the norm. At least the car’s traditional six-speed automatic is in step with the Golf’s compact rivals.
Real World Improvement
Piloting the 2015 Volkswagen Golf TSI and TDI models through the streets of San Francisco, California revealed that the MQB chassis is a step up when compared to the 2014 edition’s platform. It’s not a night-and-day situation – rather, the 2015 Golf feels more planted in the corners, quieter over rough pavement, and less willing to flex its sheet metal that it used to be.
While not as sporty as the high performance VW GTI model, the base hatchback does shine brighter than the TDI when put through its paces. In addition to driving better, the Golf also boasts a much-improved entertainment system that offers a quick-operating touchscreen that erases the memory of so many slow and clunky VW efforts from the past.
Volkswagen has done a good job of addressing several sore thumb issues while not dramatically changing the formula that has made the Golf such a fantastic success for the company. The new turbocharged four-cylinder base engine, the replacement infotainment system, and the car’s increased passenger and cargo room enhance the 2015 VW Golf experience without altering the core of the car.
Squeezing out a few more kilometres from a tank of gas or diesel while maintaining the driving pleasure that has become such an important part of the Golf’s image is an impressive accomplishment.
Image gallery 2015 Volkswagen Golf
Specs 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI
Spécifications Volkswagen Golf TDI 2015
Base Price: N/A
AWD offered? Non
Engine: Inline-4 2.0 L
Puissance: 150 hp
Couple: 236 lb-ft
Fuel consumption city: 7.6 litres aux 100 kilomètres
Fuel consumption highway: 5.6 litres aux 100 kilomètres
Cargo space: 646 à 1 492 litres