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2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI Review by Larry Nutson +VIDEO

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2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI

2015 Golf TDI Clean Diesel
New Guinness World Record

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

A few weeks ago the first chapter in my trilogy on the all-new 2015 VW Golf appeared here on That chapter covered the performance oriented Golf GTI and you can read about it with a simple click HERE.

This second chapter on the Mark VII Golf deals with performance in another way. The 2015 Golf TDI Clean Diesel not only provides outstanding driving performance but its forteŽ is low fuel consumption.

In my Golf GTI chapter, May 2015 sales in the U.S. had just been reported and the Golf had sold very well. Now June has come to a close and the all-new Golf family of vehicles again sold well with the delivery of 6,145 units, a 143 percent increase. This was the best June for Golf since 2000. Wow, that’s 15 years ago! Diesel also proved its strength this month. VW’s high-mileage, TDI Clean Diesel models accounted for 24 percent of sales in June – the highest TDI mix since April 2014.

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As mentioned in my Golf GTI story, the all-new Golf has received tremendous recognition in the U.S. market place. The all-new 2015 Golf family of cars has been named the North American Car of the Year as well as the Motor Trend Car of the Year. The Golf family has also received numerous other awards and is also an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) TOP SAFETY PICK.

The TDI Clean Diesel is one of the offerings in the Golf family that has received much acclaim. The Golf TDI is all about low fuel consumption combined with very good all around driving ability. The EPA test fuel economy rating for the Golf TDI with 6-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic is 36 mpg combined, or 2.8 gallons per 100 miles. EPA test city rating is 31 mpg and the highway rating is 43 mpg.

The Golf TDI Clean Diesel is also offered with a 6-speed manual transmission. EPA test fuel economy ratings are 30 city mpg and 45 highway mpg for this model.

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My drive in the Golf TDI was in the environs of Arizona. My road trip took me from Phoenix to Sedona with excursions into the surrounding hills. During my 330 miles of driving I achieved 44 mpg overall with the Golf TDI. About 70 to 75 percent of this was at highway driving speeds. The drive from Phoenix to Sedona on I-17 climbs up to 5000 feet elevation along a road posted at a 75 mph speed limit. In spite of my spirited driving I still achieved a trip average better than the EPA highway rating.

My Arizona-driver 4-door Golf TDI SEL with the dual-clutch DSG automatic had a base price of $29,495. A Lighting Package for $995 and a Driver Assistance Package for $695 plus the $820 destination charge brought the total to $32,005.

The Golf TDI is offered three trims. The base model TDI S starts at $22,345. Available only as a four-door model, the TDI S offers a six-speed manual gearbox and 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels as standard, with a dual-clutch DSG automatic available for an additional $1,100.

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The TDI SE is priced at $25,895 with the manual transmissions and $26,995 with the automatic. It adds a sunroof, 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, a cold weather package consisting of heatable front seats and heated front washer nozzles, rain-sensing automatic windshield wipers, automatic headlights, front foglights, a rearview camera, and the Fender Premium Audio System.

The TDI SEL is available with either six-speed manual or DSG transmissions. Pricing starts at $28,395, with the optional DSG adding $1,100. The standard equipment includes 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, a navigation system, Climatronic automatic air conditioning, and Keyless access with push-button start.

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The Golf’s TDI Clean Diesel engine is new this year. It produces 150 horsepower—10 more than before—at 3,500 rpm, as well as 236 lb-ft of torque at 1,750 rpm. This high torque output is another compelling argument for diesel engines, along with their fuel efficiency.

My evaluation drive around the red hills of Sedona and the mountainous area of the historic copper mining town of Jerome were at elevations the occasionally exceeded 5000 feet. The Golf TDI was never short on performance. Acceleration is brisk, there is plenty of reserve power for highway merging and passing, and climbing a few steep grades marked by roadside warning signs never proved challenging. It was quite typical to pass a semi-truck climbing the long, steep grades on I-17 at about 50 mph with the Golf ably whizzing past at the 75 mph speed limit.

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The 5-passenger Golf is very occupant-friendly on the inside with seats providing good comfort and support. Ingress and egress is easy and there are good, clear outward sightlines. The 167.5 inch overall length of this 5-door hatchback makes for easy maneuvering especially in crowded areas. The large rear hatch opens to 22.8 cuft of trunk that expands to 52.7 cuft with the rear seat folded.

The Lighting Package I mentioned for $995 adds Bi-Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights and the Adaptive Front-lighting System.

The $695 Driver Assistance Package adds a Forward Collision Warning system and front and rear Park Distance Control.

If you want to compare the Golf to other compacts you can do that here on the Volkswagen Buyers Guide or configure a Golf TDI Clean Diesel on

As I wrapped up this story Volkswagen of America, Inc. announced that the 2015 Golf TDI Clean Diesel has set a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS achievement for the “lowest fuel consumption for a non-hybrid car” with a remarkable 81.17 mpg. Traveling 8,233.5 miles around America in 16 days on $294.98 of Shell Diesel fuel, the Golf beat the previous mark of 77.99 mpg by more than 3 mpg, and also beat the hybrid vehicle record of 74.34 mpg by more than 6 mpg.

So there you have it. You can either hypermile or go with the traffic flow and still achieve outstandingly low fuel consumption.

© 2015 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy

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