2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI CarsDirect Review
If you can't decide between a hybrid, a small crossover or a sporty family car, the Volkswagen Golf TDI lets you have all of their primary attributes in one vehicle.
Pricing and Equipment
With a base price of $25,495 (plus a $820 destination charge), our Volkswagen Golf TDI came in mid-range SE trim with Tungsten Silver paint and a six-speed manual transmission. Standard equipment included:
- Seventeen-inch aluminum-alloy wheels
- A large tilt-and-slide glass sunroof
- Heated front seats
- Automatic headlights and windshield wipers
- A rearview camera
Our car was also equipped with optional Lighting ($995) and Driver Assistance ($695) packages that added features like xenon headlights and park distance control. A six-speed DSG automatic transmission costs an extra $1,100.
The first thing you'll notice about a Golf TDI is what you don't notice—the noisy clatter you expect from a diesel engine. During our initial drive we actually checked the tailgate for the TDI badge to confirm this was, indeed, a diesel-powered model. Stand next to the TDI while it idles on a quiet evening and you'll hear more than you hear from a gas engine, but from a driver's perspective, noise simply isn't a factor.
- The next thing you'll notice is abundant torque. The Golf TDI feels exceptionally quick in city traffic, with instant power from the lag-free turbocharged engine. Find an opening, aim for it, punch the gas pedal, and you're there, no problem.
- And then there's the mileage, the glorious mileage. Without altering our rather aggressive driving styles, we couldn't force the average economy below 31 mpg in city driving. We then watched in wonder as it soared to a bona fide 50 mpg on Malibu's Pacific Coast Highway, even during a relatively crowded summer weekend. For long-distance drivers, the TDI might be more efficient than many hybrids.
- Steering is a bit light for serious driving.
- Enthusiasts who opt for a manual transmission might have a hard time adapting to the Golf TDI's unusually low redline -- get used to shifting at 5,000 rpm.
- A stopwatch will tell you that the TDI isn't as fast as its gas-powered siblings. We can say, though, that it doesn't feel slower.
The Golf's interior is thoughtfully designed and finished with high-quality materials. A few features stand out:
- We loved the small windows located in the A-pillar, ahead of the rearview mirrors and behind the windshield. They added an appreciated degree of outward visibility.
- The well-packaged interior provides plenty of space for four people and a fair amount of cargo.
Even with a large sunroof, the all-black interior of our test car—though elegant—could feel claustrophobic.
The Most Pleasant Suprise
In an age when other manufacturers have been forced to restate overly optimistic mpg estimates, it's refreshing to see the Golf TDI exceed its EPA ratings.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
You'll learn very quickly how many gas stations don't have diesel pumps. During our journey up the Malibu coast, we let the fuel tank get perilously close to empty, knowing a station at Point Dume carried diesel. The only problem: that station was unexpected closed for repair. We spent the next several miles in tense silence, hoping the station at Broad Beach would have diesel. Fortunately, it did, though the banner announcing "We Have Diesel" indicated this was a recent addition.
The Bottom Line
We're confirmed fans of the Golf TDI. If your budget allows, though, we'd recommend stepping up to the $27,995 SEL model. The extra $2,500—which buys larger wheels, navigation, automatic climate control and more—is an exceptional value.
Build and price your dream Volkswagen Golf in just a few easy steps.
|Build & Price|
2014 Volkswagen Golf$19,500 | 13,870 mi
2014 Volkswagen Golf$24,000 | 14,617 mi
2013 Volkswagen Golf$12,299 | 40,887 mi
2013 Volkswagen Golf$12,799 | 38,111 mi
2013 Volkswagen Golf$12,994 | 41,254 mi
2013 Volkswagen Golf$13,477 | 42,983 mi
2013 Volkswagen Golf$13,699 | 39,091 mi
2013 Volkswagen Golf$13,997 | 34,597 mi
2013 Volkswagen Golf$13,997 | 31,855 mi
2013 Volkswagen Golf$14,488 | 23,853 mi
2013 Volkswagen Golf$16,000 | 31,673 mi
2013 Volkswagen Golf$19,000 | 22,324 mi
2013 Volkswagen Golf$20,488 | 7,944 mi
2013 Volkswagen Golf$23,000 | 13,509 mi
2012 Volkswagen Golf$12,899 | 49,555 mi
2012 Volkswagen Golf$14,493 | 35,378 mi
2012 Volkswagen Golf$14,991 | 33,200 mi
2012 Volkswagen Golf$15,977 | 77,432 mi
2011 Volkswagen Golf$8,889 | 101,471 mi
2011 Volkswagen Golf$10,995 | 72,782 mi
2011 Volkswagen Golf$13,688 | 30,320 mi
2011 Volkswagen Golf$13,991 | 18,593 mi
2011 Volkswagen Golf$14,491 | 44,782 mi
2011 Volkswagen Golf$15,000 | 30,064 mi
2010 Volkswagen Golf$11,993 | 51,324 mi
2010 Volkswagen Golf$12,300 | 28,068 mi
2010 Volkswagen Golf$15,995 | 61,487 mi
2002 Volkswagen Golf$4,995 | 119,021 mi