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2015 Volkswagen Golf Review

The 2015 Volkswagen Golf ranks near the top of the compact car class, thanks to its nimble handling, high-end cabin, and loads of cargo space.

Pros & Cons

  • Nimble handling
  • Large cargo area
  • Elegant interior
  • Small infotainment display

Rankings & Awards

The 2015 Volkswagen Golf's #5 ranking is based on its score within the 2015 Compact Cars category. It was the winner of our 2015 Best Compact Car for the Money award and the winner of our 2015 Best Compact Car for Families award and a finalist for our 2015 Best Hatchback for the Money award. Currently the Volkswagen Golf has a score of 8.3 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 34 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 9.6
Performance: 7.8
Interior: 8.3
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.0
Safety: 9.3
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2015 Volkswagen Golf Overview

Is the 2015 Volkswagen Golf a Good Used Car?

It's hard to stand out in such a competitive class, yet the 2015 Golf does just that. This VW is one of the most engaging compact cars from a performance perspective, thanks to its sharp steering, taut suspension, and eager turbocharged engine. Step inside the Golf's refined cabin, and you'll find a good amount of space in both rows. The Golf’s hatchback setup also gives it an expansive cargo area. In short, this VW is both fun and practical, making it a good choice in the segment.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve analyzed 34 Volkswagen Golf reviews, as well as performance specs, interior dimensions, fuel economy ratings, and more, to give you all the information you need to make a smart car-buying decision.

U.S. News & World Report has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. To remain impartial, we do not accept extravagant gifts from automakers, and an outside source handles our advertising.

How Much Is the 2015 Volkswagen Golf?

Based on nearly 400 listings for the 2015 Volkswagen Golf on our site, the average price is around $16,500, which is above average for the class. Prices range from roughly $12,000 to $28,000 and vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2015 Volkswagen Golf Cost to Own?

Five-year projected costs for fuel, insurance, maintenance, and repairs for the 2015 Golf are about $23,760, or $4,752 per year. These figures are slightly below average for the class.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Golf?

The 2019 Volkswagen Golf has a starting price of $21,845, which is significantly higher than the 2015 Golf's average price. These two models are part of the same generation, but the 2019 Golf has a lot of advancements over the 2015 model. These include a redesigned infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an available 8-inch touch screen, and updated exterior styling. Additional driver assistance features are also standard, including rear cross traffic alert and blind spot monitoring. Plus, it comes with a more fuel-efficient base engine.   

The 2019 Golf's advancements are worth the extra expense, but if you're looking for a model that's more cost effective and still offers a solid amount of technology, you can't go wrong with the 2015 Golf.

Read about the new Volkswagen Golf »

There are a few new compact cars that fall within the 2015 Golf's price range. Starting at $16,490, the 2019 Kia Soul is another compact hatchback with ample passenger and cargo room. It’s ride isn’t as athletic as the Golf’s, but it has reasonably agile handling and a composed ride that make it a good vehicle for your daily commute.

See the Best New Car Deals »

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Which Model Year of the Volkswagen Golf Is Best?

The 2015 Golf marks the start of the current generation. The 2016 Golf added a standard rearview camera as well as available Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Additionally, new driver assistance features also became available, such as lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring. For 2017, the two-door Golf was discontinued, and the Wolfsburg Edition trim replaced SE and SEL trims.

The 2017 Golf isn't worth the extra expense because it doesn't add much, but the 2016 Golf may be a better choice than a 2015 model if you're interested in the available safety and technology features. If not, stick with the 2015 Golf.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Golf »

How Reliable Is the 2015 Volkswagen Golf?

J.D. Power gives the 2015 Golf a reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Read more about Golf reliability »

2015 Volkswagen Golf Recalls

There are eight open recalls for the 2015 Golf. One recall addresses the key being able to be removed when the car is in gear. Volkswagen also issued a recall on vehicles with modifications that prevent them from meeting various regulatory requirements. Another recall fixed a suction pump that may allow fuel into the evaporative emission control system and cause the loss of power brakes due to a camshaft lobe fracture. There is also a recall for an incorrect occupant classification for the front passenger seat that can prevent the air bag from deploying properly or at all. Three additional recalls address issues involving improper plating that may cause the fuel pump to fail, fuel potentially leaking into the engine compartment, and front stabilizer links that may detach. Make sure a Volkswagen dealer has addressed these recalls before purchasing a 2015 Golf.

See more information on Volkswagen Golf safety recalls »

Which Used Volkswagen Golf Is Right for Me?

The 2015 Golf comes in many flavors. The standard Golf model comes in three trims: S, SE, and SEL. The base trim comes with most of the Golf's features. The SE doesn't add much, so we recommend bypassing this trim. For a rearview camera and additional technology features like navigation, consider upgrading to the SEL trim.

There is also an electric e-Golf model, which is a good option for shoppers who want to ditch the gas pump. Next in line is the 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI, which we review separately. Last but not least, a high-performance Golf R model is available. Its 292-horsepower engine is ideal for performance-focused shoppers.

See 2015 Volkswagen Golf trims and specs »

What Does Volkswagen's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Volkswagen offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles seven years old or less and with fewer than 75,000 miles. You receive the balance of the new-car warranty when you purchase a CPO model. Depending on your car’s model year, you get a limited comprehensive warranty that takes effect once the new-car warranty has expired or on the sale date of the CPO VW vehicle. For 2018 and newer VWs, the limited comprehensive warranty is good for one year or 12,000 miles. The length of the warranty increases to two years or 24,000 miles for 2017-and-older gas, hybrid, and electric vehicles. Finally, 2016 and older TDI vehicles get a two-year/unlimited miles warranty.

VW CPO vehicles must pass a 100-plus-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing, a Carfax vehicle history report, a three-month SiriusXM All-Access satellite radio trial subscription, and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Volkswagen warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Volkswagen’s CPO program is the least robust of all auto manufacturers.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Golf?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the four-door Golf a 2015 Top Safety Pick. The IIHS also gave it the highest rating of Good in five crash tests, as well as the second-best rating of Acceptable in the passenger-side small overlap front test. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the two-door Golf an overall rating of five out of five stars, with four stars in frontal and rollover crash tests and five stars in side crash tests.

The Golf is available with a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, and forward collision warning with brake assist.

See Golf safety scores »

2015 Volkswagen Golf Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2015 Volkswagen Golf or 2015 Volkswagen GTI?

The 2015 Volkswagen GTI is essentially the Golf’s more athletic sibling, though it's not quite as fast as the performance-tuned Golf R. While the regular Golf isn’t a slouch, the GTI has peppier acceleration and tighter handling that make it the superior choice for enthusiasts. Since these cars have very similar cabins and standard features, choosing between them comes down to how much of a premium you place on performance.

Which Is Better: 2015 Volkswagen Golf or 2015 Mazda3?

Available as a sedan or hatchback, the 2015 Mazda3 has several advantages over the Golf. It has a lower average price, and better fuel economy estimates with its base engine. However, the Mazda3 really stands out for its great all-around performance, highlighted by precise steering, sportier handling, and a comfortable ride over uneven pavement. However, the Golf comes with additional cargo space. Test drive both models to see which one you prefer.

Compare the Golf, GTI, and Mazda3 »

2015 Golf Performance

How Does the 2015 Volkswagen Golf Drive?

The Golf's agile handling, stable ride, and confident brakes make it a strong performer in the class. Its suspension also does a good job of smoothing out bumpy roads. That said, its ride is a bit firm, and the steering would benefit from additional feedback.

A 170-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine powers the base 2015 Golf. Though it has a bit of turbo lag, this engine should be strong enough for most drivers. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, while a six-speed manual transmission and a six-speed automatic are available. The automatic operates smoothly, but some reviewers claim that the manual transmissions are less refined than what the competition offers.

There is also a performance-oriented Golf R model available. It's powered by a 292-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which VW paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

Two models that offer improved efficiency are also available. The all-electric e-Golf comes with a 115-horsepower powertrain. The Golf TDI is powered by a 150-horsepower turbodiesel four-cylinder engine, and it comes with either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automated manual transmission. TDI models were affected by the Volkswagen emissions scandal, and EPA-mandated updates could alter performance and fuel economy.

Does the 2015 Volkswagen Golf Get Good Gas Mileage?

With the base 1.8-liter engine and a manual transmission, the Golf gets 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. With an automatic transmission, it gets 1 less mpg on the highway. These estimates are on par with the compact car class.

Golf TDI models with a manual transmission get 30/43 mpg city/highway, while TDI models with an automatic transmission get 31/41 mpg. Green-minded shoppers should also consider the all-electric Volkswagen e-Golf. It gets 126/105 MPGe city/highway, and it has an 83-mile all-electric range.

 For more information on MPGe, check out What Is MPGe?

Read more about Golf performance »

2015 Golf Interior

How Many People Does the 2015 Golf Seat?

The Golf comes as a two- or four-door hatchback with seating for up to five people. Synthetic leather upholstery and manually adjustable front seats are standard. Heated and power-adjustable front seats are available, as are sport seats. The Golf has comfortable and supportive front seats, but taller passengers may struggle to get comfortable in the rear seats because of the Golf's low-mounted seat cushions.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2015 Volkswagen Golf?

There are two sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats and an upper tether on the rear middle seat. Most types of car seats fit comfortably in the back row. 

2015 Volkswagen Golf Features

The Golf's standard infotainment system features a 5.8-inch touch screen, HD Radio, satellite radio, Bluetooth, eight speakers, and voice control. Available upgrades include navigation and a nine-speaker premium audio system. Although the infotainment system is easy to use, the display is on the small side.

You’ll want to make sure your devices can connect to the Bluetooth system since standards have changed over the years.

See 2015 Volkswagen Golf specs »

Read more about Golf interior »

2015 Volkswagen Golf Dimensions

Volkswagen Golf Cargo Space

There's 22.8 cubic feet of space when the rear seats are in use and 52.7 cubic feet when they are folded down. These are fantastic estimates for the class. There's also a good amount of small-item storage throughout the cabin.

2015 Golf Length and Weight

The Golf is almost 14 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 2,901 to 3,391 pounds, depending on the model.

Where Was the 2015 Volkswagen Golf Built?

Volkswagen built the Golf in Mexico. The e-Golf and Golf R were built in Germany.


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