Design, fuel efficiency and fun to drive are the earmarks of the 2015 VW lineup
There are only five things you need to know about Volkswagen: The car’s interiors are nicely edited so controls and information don’t overwhelm you; the brand’s German engineering means there’s attention to detail in both the things you see and the things you don’t; this attention to detail is squarely focused on fuel efficiency, they are priced for comfort in your budget, and they are tons of fun to drive.
Within those five points is a whole world of fabulous to drive cars that run the spectrum of sophisticated elegance to perky personalities and everything in between. We recently—and yes I do mean we: Nicole Wakelin, Carissa Rogers (who fell in love with the car maker’s diesel models) and I— had a chance to drive the auto maker’s full line of 2015 models at the Salamander Resort in Virginia; here’s a rundown of what we saw and thought.
We took test drives in the 2015 Beetle, e-Golf, Jetta TDI, Golf TSI, Golf GTI, CC, Tiguan and Eos.
Beetle: Cute as a Bug
The iconic VW, this little bug has become sportier and is a driver spoiler: fun, colorful and pampering, with lots of sweet little touches. Even though back seat passengers have to push the front seat forward to get into the car, once in it’s comfortable due to the shape of the cabin. And, rear seats fold down to create flexible cargo space. Price of the model we saw: $27,015.
e-Golf: Putting the EEE in Wheeeee
Maybe the most popular car we drove, among everyone: This fully electric car has seating for five, flexible cargo space and VW’s engineers gave painful consideration to ways to maximize interior space–no compromising passenger space for battery needs. Add to that the fact that you’d never know it’s electric while driving: It’s peppy, zippy and as much fun as any gas guzzler and its navigation system finds all the local charging spots for you. Price of the model we saw: $34,445.
Jetta TDI: 45MPG, and that’s just for starters
It’s hard to find this much WOW in a small sedan. But there it is: The manual transmission we test drove might have been the most fun to drive car all day: it’s smallish and responsive, so it handled the road’s curves well; the engine is a turbo, which adds power for hills and passing, and a stick shift? Well, that’s just plain old fun. Add to that the clean diesel engine— TDI means turbo diesel —that gets 45MPG on the highway and I’m in love. The car was elegant, nicely appointed and quite comfortable, all for $24,895.
Golf TSI: A fun little hatchback
The Golf has proven quite popular for VW: A great car for the single driver, but also great for the urban family or for the driver who wants a fun drive experience but occasionally needs to be a soccer parent, too: the fold down rear row and nicely sized cargo space offer plenty of flexibility. TSI—similar to TDI—is VW’s way of expressing that this small car packs a lot of power into its smallish engine, giving it more than enough zip and still offering a gas engine. Price of the model we saw: $25,315
Golf GTI: An ever funner little hatchback
The right car can make dull driving bearable, and good driving absolutely joyous, which must be what VW was thinking when they designed the Golf GTI. This car is best driven as a manual (though automatic is available) because that’s where the fun lives. It’s right there in the shifter knob that looks like a dimpled golf ball. This hot little hatchback looks good, is comfortable, handles beautifully, and on a warm summer day with the sunroof wide open, it’ll make you’ll want to keep driving until you run out of road. Price starts at $24,395.
CC: Seriously sophisticated
Think of the CC as the Passat’s elegant, more sophisticated sister: CC stands for comfort coupe, and it takes that moniker seriously: outfitted with leather seats, a panoramic sunroof and a nicely edited interior, it’s spacious, peppy and fun to drive. But its real appeal is in its delicious lines and lineage: the exterior of the car is distinct and beautiful, lines you’ll also see in the pricier Audi A7, with which it shares DNA and a manufacturing plant. Price of the model we saw: $44,005.
Tiguan: An elegant but capable crossover
The only crossover in the line, the Tiguan offers all the benefits of an SUV like it’s larger sibling the Touareg—a higher stance so you can see over traffic, all wheel drive, rugged capability, but with a refined interior to keep its occupants safe from the indignities of the road. Foldable second row seats give you all the utility of an SUV, but the crossover’s smallish size means it’s easy to drive and maneuver in traffic or tight parking situations. Price of the model we saw: $40,100.
Eos: Keeping the sun on your shoulders all year long
Sadly, VW is discontinuing this model. The hard topped convertible was an absolute delight, especially if you need a convertible (and yeah, need) that can comfortably seat four passengers. In fact, this convertible keeps the sun on your shoulders all year long: it has a sunroof, perfect for cooler sunny days when having the top down isn’t comfortable. We also loved the leather interior, the spacious cabin and roomy trunk. Priced from $35,795.