We had the opportunity to test a new Golf VII TDI for a long weekend. With all the new features and equipment, there was bound to be some surprises. See both our video and text review here.
The 7th Generation of the Best Selling Golf
The VW Golf has been VW’s best selling model worldwide, but hasn’t seen the same success in the USA. The GTI, however, has enjoyed healthy sales numbers. Even as the “hot hatch” market became more crowded, the VW GTI was always considered a market leader.
With this 7th generation Golf, VW seems to be learning from that experience. The new Golf VII design is much more masculine and sporty than any of the previous generations. Gone are smooth lines and rounded edges, replaced with sharp trim lines, modern edging and a look that displays performance more than comfort
While we miss the more vanilla look that the Golf usually has, we can’t deny that this new 7th gen looks awesome.
The sport motif continues inside. As expected, the interior material quality is extremely good. This interior would give a Mercedes a run for its money. The center dashboard is once again tilted toward the driver just like it was in the MkIV and earlier generations. The whole dash is much more designed and molded around the driver and passenger, contrasting to the minimalist straight dash of the Golf VI. It is nice, though we think the dash takes up too much space.
The seats also borrow more from the GTI styling book with higher side bolsters. The black leatherette seats have contrasting gray stitching too, which adds a touch of class.
At night the most shocking change is the new interior lighting. VW has gone wholesale on changes–everything is LED, and everything is WHITE! There is no more red backlighting ANYWHERE in this cabin. It certainly looks upscale, just doesn’t “feel” right to us just yet. We’ll get used to it.
The New “EA288 Motor”
This is what we came to see. New models are nice and all, but the new motor is really what makes 2015 exciting. This new motor will be in the other existing TDI models (Jetta, Passat, Beetle) too, but the Golf VII is the first time we’ve been able to test it.
This is still a 2.0L, common-rail type diesel, but the new EA288 introduces DEF/AdBlue as well as a water-to-air intercooling system. Both these things should allow the engine to be more efficient and more powerful.
Power-wise this new motor has a 10HP bump over the new model. Strangely, the published torque figure is the same. Driving this car feels faster than the small bump would suggest. VW usually conservatively publishes torque figures, so we expect this model to dyno at higher than published power.
On the fuel efficiency front, the EPA ratings for this new model are only 1 mpg higher than the outgoing model. We were disappointed by this as we were hoping for a 3-4mpg bump. However, keep in mind that the EPA cycle is famously (infamously) horrible at rating diesel engines. It won’t be a few months until we have a real set of data to look at, but this new model should be able to break the 45-50 mpg mark easily.
Warranty & Free Maintenance
The standard VW warranty applies again for 2015. This means 3yrs/36k bumper-to-bumper and 4yr/50k powertrain warranty. The 3 year free maintenance is gone, however, replaced with a 1 year/10,000 mile warranty. Considering the first oil change on this new model isn’t until 10,000 miles, we’re honestly a little offended – VW is advertising a free scheduled maintenance program that literally covers either nothing or just one single oil change. If VW was honest about this program they would say “free first oil change” rather than declaring that this is a program. (I’ll get off my soapbox now)
One place where VW hit it out of the park – this model is significantly less expensive than last year’s model. Starting price of the 4-door Golf TDI with manual transmission is 21,995. This includes the regulars like power windows and A/C but also more premium features such as a touchscreen radio & steering wheel controls. For those that want everything, the SEL model adds all the options you could want – keyless entry, panoramic sunroof etc. The price on our test model was over $30k, so be careful with those options!