2015 Volkswagen Golf, GTI: Car Seat Check

2015VolkswagenGolf

Both the Volkswagen Golf and its performance variant, the GTI, entered their seventh generation with 2015 redesigns. The cars haven't exactly set sales records ablaze in the past, though a reduced starting price for the Golf, a win for the GTI in Cars.com's $30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge and a Top Safety Pick Plus award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety should at least spark some interest among car shoppers not already carrying a torch for the five-seat hatchbacks. Another selling point — for families with small children — should be the Golf's and GTI's accommodation of child-safety seats. Much like in 2012, when we tested the Golf R, the cars earned high marks in our tests. Check out the Car Seat Check below for more.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

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By Matt Schmitz | November 25, 2014 | Comments (0)

Volkswagen GTI Roadster Concept: First Look

Gti-roadster-concept

Looks like: Video game meets reality

Defining characteristics: Large rear wing, scissor doors, Gran Turismo Red exterior

Ridiculous features: It wears the GTI name, but is anything but in terms of styling

Chance of being mass-produced: Very unlikely since VW says its designers "were able to overlook production constraints like price and production feasibility" to build it

Volkswagen's newest concept isn't quite new — the GTI Roadster was originally created as a computer-generated concept for Sony PlayStation's "Gran Turismo 6" video game, and VW is bringing the car to life next week at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Related: More 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Coverage

The sleek convertible seats two and has a very real powertrain: Its twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 makes 503 horsepower and 413 pounds-feet of torque and is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic and all-wheel drive. VW says the car sprints from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and has a top speed of 192 mph.

By Jennifer Geiger | November 14, 2014 | Comments (1)

2015 Volkswagen GTI Real-World Mileage With the Manual Transmission

VWGTIMileage

We already put a redesigned Volkswagen GTI through a mileage challenge as part of our recent $30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge. It bested the field with its optional six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission during that contest. When a six-speed manual transmission model arrived at Cars.com's Chicago office right around the time of a road trip to Milwaukee it seemed like it would be a good opportunity to see how it compared.

Related: 2014 Mini Cooper S Versus 2015 Volkswagen GTI

EPA ratings for the two transmissions are almost identical. Both are rated at 25 mpg city and 28 mpg combined, but the manual gets slightly better highway ratings at 34 mpg versus 33 mpg highway for the automatic.

By David Thomas | November 13, 2014 | Comments (1)

2014 Mini Cooper S Versus 2015 Volkswagen GTI

Mini Cooper vs VW GTI

In our recent $30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge the Volkswagen GTI bested a field of eight contenders to take the win. However, the redesigned Mini Cooper was not part of that test. Things don't always work out the way you want, but getting a new Cooper S with a manual transmission at the same time as a new GTI with a manual transmission seemed like karma telling us we needed to go driving. OK, maybe it was just a really good excuse to get out of the office.

Related: $30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge

Both cars were similarly equipped to the gills with sticker prices totaling more than $33,000 including destination — not exactly "cheap." When all was said and done after a Chicago-area drive route traversing city, suburban and highway roads, the face-off was ridiculously close with the final scoring decided by one point overall.

By David Thomas | October 29, 2014 | Comments (14)

Is Driving a Certain Car Your Ticket to Traffic Court?

2015WRX

Look, just because you drive a Subaru WRX doesn't mean you're more likely to be the type of person who exceeds the speed limit or breaks other traffic laws. OK, it actually does mean that, but we're not the ones saying it, Insurance.com is. The auto-insurance rate-comparison website analyzed online quote info from more than half a million drivers and more than 500 car models between January 2013 and July 2014, and identified the cars most likely to be used in the commission of a traffic offense. Coincidentally, a fifth of the list is composed of competitors in Cars.com's $30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge in which the WRX scored the fastest times.

Related: The $30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge

According to the study, one in three drivers of the turbocharged, all-wheel-drive Subaru WRX compact performance sedan has had a traffic violation for an offense such as speeding, failure to yield or drunken driving in the past three years, making it the No. 1 most-ticketed car.

By Matt Schmitz | September 30, 2014 | Comments (5)

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge: What the Judges Said

CSVWWRX

To test our sub-$30,000 speedsters, we put them through an even more rigorous set of tests than we usually use in our Challenges:

  • We spent one day at the Byron, Ill., Dragway to get zero-to-60-mph times and quarter-mile times and speeds; we also captured 60-mph-to-zero braking distances there.
  • We spent one day at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Ill., where the experts put the cars through a long day on the road course there.
  • We took all eight on a mileage drive of more than 200 miles to judge real-world fuel economy.
  • The experts drove all eight over the same course, back-to-back, to judge real-world ride and handling, acceleration and braking.
  • And then we brought in a real-life car shopper, Joe Weiss, a 38-year-old quality assurance manager from Chicago who's in the market for just such a car for himself and his fiancee.

CSJudges

Weiss joined our cast of judges (left to right):

  • Brian Robinson, producer for PBS' "MotorWeek"
  • Joe Wiesenfelder, Cars.com executive editor
  • David Thomas, Cars.com managing editor
  • Joe Bruzek, Cars.com road test editor
  • James R. Healey, auto writer for USA Today

We set a maximum price of $30,000, including a destination charge. We had 10 cars on our list when we started, but we ended with eight (more on that in a bit):

  • 2014 Fiat 500 Abarth
  • 2014 Ford Fiesta ST
  • 2014 Honda Civic Si
  • 2014 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
  • 2014 Kia Forte5 SX
  • 2015 Mini Cooper S Hardtop
  • 2014 Nissan Juke NISMO RS
  • 2014 Scion FR-S
  • 2015 Subaru WRX
  • 2015 Volkswagen GTI

Mini said it did not have a Cooper in its press fleets that could meet our price cap; the Civic lost a tire after hitting a Chicago pothole, and repairs could not be made in time for track days. The judges did drive it in our round-robin day, and a report on those tests can be found here.

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge
Index | Results | Mileage Test

Here's how the scoring broke down: The experts' scores accounted for 50 percent of the total score; 10 percent came from the shopper's scores; 30 percent was based on track performance; and the remaining 10 percent was based on fuel economy.

Here is what the judges had to say about each car, in order of how the cars finished:

By Patrick Olsen | July 28, 2014 | Comments (8)

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge: Mileage Results

CSMileagewinner

Any car owner will tell you the cost of driving does not begin or end with the sticker price or the monthly payment notice arriving in the mailbox. There's insurance, maintenance and yes, the cost of gasoline.

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge
Index | What the Judges Said | Results

The competitors in our Cheap Speed Challenge may be relatively affordable considering their performance chops, but six of the eight require premium gasoline. Going into the contest, mileage didn't seem like it would be much of a story.

After a 220-plus-mile route through Wisconsin and Illinois that mixed in winding country roads, city streets and plenty of construction-laden highways, we discovered mileage was indeed worth talking about in this class.

By David Thomas | July 28, 2014 | Comments (1)

What's the Best Cheap Speed Car for $30,000?

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Plenty of drivers want a level of performance without breaking the bank. We found eight cars that prove fun at the track is not limited to the well-to-do.

$30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge
Index | What the Judges Said | Mileage Test

We focused our Challenge on compact coupes, sedans and hatchbacks that cost less than $30,000, including destination charge. We picked the price based on Cars.com's listings for cars of this type that came with the features we know are popular with younger drivers looking for a performance kick. After five days of testing (including a day at a drag strip and a day on a road course) by experts from Cars.com, USA Today, "MotorWeek" and a real-life, in-market family, here's how the results broke down:

By Patrick Olsen | July 28, 2014 | Comments (21)

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI Photo Gallery

 Cheap Speed Challenge: 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI S

The 2015 Volkswagen GTI finished first in our $30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge. "Not only is this the best performance bang for the buck, bar none, it's one of the most comfortable cars here," said one of our judges. Check out our gallery below of the GTI up close and on the track.

Click on any image for a larger version.

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears

By Matt Schmitz | July 28, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2015 Volkswagen Golf, GTI

2015VolkswagenGTIRecall

Vehicles Affected: More than 2,000 model-year 2015 Volkswagen Golf and GTI hatchbacks manufactured between Jan. 27, 2014, and May 12, 2014

The Problem: The stabilizer link fasteners may come loose and possibly interfere with steering, requiring additional effort to control the vehicle and increasing the risk of a crash. Volkswagen earlier this month issued a stop sale order to dealers on the 2015 Golf and GTI due to the stabilizer link fastener issue, covering about 700 vehicles in dealer inventory; the automaker said no accidents or injuries related to this problem have been reported.

The Fix: Volkswagen will begin notifying owners this month, and dealers will replace the front stabilizer links for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Volkswagen at 800-822-8987, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or go to www.safercar.gov for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

More Recalls

By Matt Schmitz | July 24, 2014 | Comments (1)

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