2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI Reviews and Ratings

Hatchback 4D S I4 Turbo

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI
NADAguides Test Drive Review
Overall Score



Superb handling, robust engine and brakes, upscale design and finish, and an overall hoot to drive.


We're splitting hairs here, but the engine's top end is a touch flat, and our observed fuel economy was lower then expected.

What's new for 2015

Now in its 7th generation, the (Mk7) Volkswagen Golf GTI has been totally redesigned for 2015.

Exterior Impressions

After seven generations, one look by even a casual observer would likely result in a conclusion that this vehicle must be the latest itineration of the Volkswagen Golf GTI (often referred to in the automotive enthusiast realm as the "Mk7"). The exterior design of the Mk7 is only a slight evolution of Mk6, and the Mk6 was only a slight evolution of the Mk5, etc., etc. This is for sure one of those "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" scenarios. With the calculated tweaks the GTI has received over the years, its overall exterior design has stood the test of time well, and in terms of its styling, practicality, etc., the Mk7 appears to be just as relevant today as the Mk1 was when it debuted in 1976. Volkswagen has done a fantastic job of maintaining the GTI's heritage and familiarity, while simultaneously implementing modern touches.

Exterior Features

The 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI is powered by a 2.0 liter, turbocharged, 210 horsepower 4-cylinder engine, and in the case of our test vehicle, this is routed to the front wheels through a 6-speed DSG (dual-clutch) automatic transmission, and an XDS+ Cross Differential System. The new GTI rides on a sport suspension that consists of independent MacPherson struts (with a 24mm anti-roll bar) up front, and a fully independent 4-link suspension (with a 20mm anti-roll bar) in the rear. At all four corners are disc brakes (with painted red calipers), 18" alloy wheels, and 225/40 R18 all-season performance tires. Steering is managed by a rack and pinion system with progressive electromechanical assistance. Other standard exterior features on our test GTI include bi-xenon headlights (with automatic on/off), LED foglights, heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals, rain-sensing variable intermittent windshield wipers, a honeycomb mesh grill (with red accents), sport side skirts, and an integrated color-matched rear spoiler.

Exterior Summary
Interior Impressions

The look and feel of our test GTI's interior suggests that it belongs in a car at a higher price point. For a car in this class, the quality of materials and fit and finish are very good, and the switchgear has an upscale feel to it. The front seats are comfortable and are properly supportive, and the cabin ergonomics are very good. Rear seat legroom is fair to good, depending on whether the occupant is sitting behind someone with their seat all of the way back (or not). As far as the infotainment system goes, the interface is easy to learn and operate, and the sound quality is good.

Interior Features

Inside, our test GTI features leather seating surfaces with red stitching (the front seats have heating, while the rears fold down in a 60/40 split), a panoramic moonroof, power windows and door locks, keyless entry, push-button start, illuminated door sills, manual single-zone climate control, a color multi-function trip computer, a leather-wrapped shift knob and handbrake, and a leather-wrapped multi-function sport steering wheel. The steering wheel has integrated paddle shifters and cruise/infotainment controls, and its column both tilts and telescopes. Speaking of infotainment, there is an 8-speaker (plus subwoofer) Fender audio system, and this offers AM/FM, HD Radio, and SiriusXM Satellite Radio access, MP3, WMA, and CD playback, and audio streaming. The infotainment system can be controlled by a dashboard-mounted 5.8" touchscreen, which also displays information from the standard rearview backup camera. Connectivity options include bluetooth, the Media Device Interface (Apple iPhone/iPod cable), and an auxiliary input jack.

Interior Summary
Technology Effectiveness
Comfort and Romminess
Driving Impressions

As good as the 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI is inside and out, it is even better to drive. The engine really likes to rev, and low to mid-range torque feels abundant and readily available; however, the top end is a touch flat, and this encourages early up shifts, but this is only a minor complaint. Overall, the GTI's engine is really good. In both the automatic and manual modes, the DSG transmission is also really good. In automatic mode, the transmission performs smoothly and predictably, and in manual mode, it is responsive to inputs, shifts are quick, and gears are held well when cornering. Handling is excellent, as the GTI is able to change direction quickly, and when driven hard, it has superb grip, flat and neutral cornering attitude, and great steering feel (especially considering the system is electrically assisted). The ride is firm and feels appropriate for this type of automobile, and on smooth freeways, the cabin remains relatively quiet, but rough city streets tend to make themselves known through the chassis, and in terms of noise. The GTI's braking system feels strong, hard stops are dead straight, and the pedal provides very good feedback and has a nice, firm feel. Simply put, the 2015 Golf GTI is a great little hot hatch, and it is one that would likely result in a fun and rewarding experience to any enthusiast who gets behind its wheel.

MPG Experienced

20.9 MPG (mostly city driving conditions)

Driving Impressions Summary
Overall Score

J.D. Power Rating
Overall Quality Not Available
Overall Quality - Mechanical
Not Available
Powertrain Quality - Mechanical
Not Available
Body & Interior Quality - Mechanical
Not Available
Features & Accessories Quality - Mechanical
Not Available
Overall Quality - Design
Not Available
Powertrain Quality - Design
Not Available
Body & Interior Quality - Design
Not Available
Features & Accessories Quality - Design
Not Available

Overall Dependability Not Available
Powertrain Dependability
Not Available
Body & Interior Dependability
Not Available
Feature & Accessory Dependability
Not Available
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J.D. Power Rating Legend
Among the Best
5 / 5
Better than Most
4 / 5
About Average
3 / 5
The Rest
2 / 5

* The J.D. Power Ratings are calculated based on the range between the car manufacturer or car model with the highest score and the car manufacturer or car model with the lowest score. J.D. Power generates a rating of a five, four, three, or two. If there is insufficient data to calculate a rating, “Not Available” is used in its place.

J.D. Power Ratings may not include all information used to determine J.D. Power awards, visit the Car Ratings page to learn more about awards and ratings.