The Volkswagen Golf first came to the U.S. in 1974 and was marketed as the Rabbit. This fun little car was the first, or Mark 1 (Mk1) version of the Golf and it very successfully replaced the iconic, original Beetle in the marketplace. Now in its seventh generation, the 2015 VW Golf is the best ever and coincidentally, the Beetle is back, too. Gone is the small, subcompact three-door hatchback. The all-new Golf is a four-door dream machine that’s nimble and fun to drive, yet smooth and roomy enough for a family of four. Better still, a new Golf can be had with the latest diesel engine from Volkswagen.

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The new diesel is the EA288 2.0L inline-4 that’s about the same size externally as the current 2.0L diesel engine. However, displacement size and fuel type are about all that the two engines share. The EA288 is a leap forward in emissions controls and more. It’s a turbocharged “common-rail” direct-injection engine that makes 150 horsepower, an increase of 10 hp over the current engine. The torque is rated at 236 lb.-ft. There are several innovations that help on the emissions front, such as programming, warm-up strategies and, of course, the use of DEF or diesel exhaust fluid to scrub the exhaust clean. It runs 40 percent cleaner than the existing engine and gets 1 mile per gallon better city while keeping the highway mileage of the current model – look for 31 mpg city/ 42 mpg hwy. The manual transmission model stats are quoted here as automatic stats are not yet available as of this printing. However, we’re confident that it will be about the same for the automatic transmission. So less emissions, still great mileage and lots of range between fills… what more could you want?

DW-1409-VW-1In driving the new 2015 gen-seven Golf we found the new EA288 2.0L TDI engine to be quick and responsive. We expected no less, as this has been our experience in past test drives of the last Gen 2.0 diesel engine. What was a surprise was how much smoother the new diesel is. The drive is more gas engine-like on the feel from your seat, smooth and quiet. While still not as quick off the line as the TSI model with the gas engine, the new TDI offers superior hold-back on hills and is superior to any of the gas engine options on mileage.

Overall, the new Golf is spacious for a compact car. The new model has a wider interior, lower step-in height and more headroom, all while keeping the package small. This is due to some new manufacturing techniques at VW. We’ll get into this more in a future issue. Needless to say, this is a small, fun car and as such has enough room for a day trip or even a long weekend. It’s comfortable to drive, and if you need more space, consider that the Golf Sportswagen has been announced and will be out later this year in a slightly roomer version of this fine car.

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Pricing:

One of the nice things about the new Golf and it’s new diesel engine is that the entry level pricing to obtain the diesel has been reduced by $3,000 compared to the last model year. Exact pricing and packages are not available at this time, however, we suspect that this means the diesel is now available in a lower trim or entry level model. Base, gas model pricing starts at $17,995 for the two-door Golf Launch Edition model with manual transmission. DW