The popular Volkswagen Golf hatchback heads into its seventh generation for 2015. Two models with a host of trim levels are offered. The Golf 1.8T is available in either 2-door or 4-door guise, with power provided by a 170-horsepower turbocharged 1.8L 4-cylinder. This is mated to either a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. VW claims the 1.8T has an EPA-estimated 36 mpg on the highway. The 4-door-only 2.0L TDI clean diesel produces 150 horsepower and returns up to 45 mpg on the highway. It is mated to either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed dual-clutch automatic.
Two-door 1.8T models are offered in either Launch Edition or S trims. The base Launch Edition is offered only with the manual transmission and includes 15-inch steel wheels, heated side mirrors, Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free connectivity, an 8-speaker stereo with iPod hookup, 5.8-inch touchscreen and HD radio, as well as cloth seating with a 60/40 split folding rear seat. The S trim upgrades the wheels to 15-inch alloys and V-Tex leatherette seating, and the automatic transmission is available.
For the 4-door 1.8T and TDI, three trims are offered: S, SE and SEL. In the SE, buyers will find 17-inch wheels, rain-sensing windshield wipers, halogen fog lights, a power panoramic sunroof and a rearview camera. Inside, amenities include a Fender premium audio system with eight speakers and a subwoofer and heated front seats. The top-of-the-line SEL trim includes 18-inch wheels, touchscreen navigation, dual-zone automatic climate control and front sport seats with 12-way power-adjustable driver's seat.
Available packages include a Lighting Package, with adaptive bi-Xenon headlights, which turn in conjunction with the car's movements down the road. The Driver Assistance Package features Park Distance Control with front and rear proximity sensors, as well as a Forward Collision Warning that alerts you when there's trouble ahead.
All Golfs come with standard safety features that include anti-lock brakes, traction control and engine braking assist, plus a host of airbags to protect the cabin.