2015 Volkswagen E Golf

2015 Volkswagen E Golf

Episode 3425
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

The Volkswagen Golf lineup earned our 2015 Drivers’ Choice Award for best small car. One of the reasons being the wide variety of choices you have when it comes to buying one. You can go basic with a TSI, sporty with the GTI, or long range with the TDI. And, there’s even a totally green one on that list, the e-Golf EV. 

It’s not only us that have showered high praise on the 7th generation, 2015 Volkswagen Golf; as 57 veteran auto writers also picked it as the 2015 North American Car of the Year. Our mission here, is to spend some additional time in the all-electric e-Golf to see if it indeed lives up to the rest of the family’s reputation; and if it brings anything new to the EV world. 

Well, it doesn’t take any time at all behind the wheel to realize that the e-Golf drives almost exactly like every other Golf. It does feel a bit heavier, thanks to the additional 700-pounds of battery weight, but that just helps make it feel even more stable. Handling certainly feels similar, though some steering feel seems to have gone missing. 

Now, as for how it compares to other EVs, well it appears to be easier on range, as the distance to empty gauge seems to hang onto numbers a little longer than most before letting them count down. 

Regenerative braking feel can be harsh, but it’s also adjustable. So, you can dial it up for maximum energy recuperation and brake pedal-free treks down steep hills, or dial it down for a more normal feel. One thing’s for sure, it will certainly change the way you drive, as no matter which mode you’re in, there’s not much “coasting down” to stop signs.

Drivers can also control power output by choosing between Normal, Eco, and Eco+ driving modes. 

Overall, it is a very impressive piece of engineering, with almost seamless integration of all EV componentry; and it has by far the most natural throttle feel of any EV we’ve driven. It even had a few of our staffers forgetting that they were driving an EV after some time behind the wheel. 

The Fed’s driving range is listed at 83-miles. Now, that’s less than both the Nissan Leaf and the Kia Soul EV, but its Government Fuel Economy Ratings of 126-City, 105-Highway, and 116-Combined MPGes beats both of them. And of course there’s an almost perfect Energy Impact Score of just 0.2-barrels of annual oil use with zero CO2 emissions. 

The powertrain is VW’s own design and features an 85-kW motor that outputs 115-horsepower and 199 lb-ft. of torque; juiced by a 24.2-kWh lithium-ion battery pack mounted beneath the rear seat.

So, notably, cargo room is unchanged from other 4-door Golf hatchbacks with 22.8 cu-ft. of space in the rear, 52.7 with the seatbacks folded. 

And while the new-gen Golf certainly impresses us with its ride-and-handling capabilities, interior build quality is equally impressive. The e-Golf has the same sporty feel as the rest of the lineup, and even retains elements like a flat-bottom steering wheel.

Unique components to the e-Golf include blue trim, and of course an exclusive gauge panel with a power/charge meter and a battery meter that looks exactly like a traditional fuel gauge.

Navigation, back-up camera, heated leatherette seating, 5.8-inch touchscreen infotainment, and keyless entry are all standard. And like most newer EV efforts the e-Golf uses an efficient heat pump for cabin climate control.

Things outside are a little more of a departure, with LED headlights, C-shaped LED DRLs located down low, blue trim, updated grille, 16-inch alloy wheels, and of course unique EV badging.

But, from the rear, other than the lack of a tail pipe, there’s little to indicate the e-Golf’s fossil fuel-free nature. Even the charging port is located behind the traditional fuel filler door, and the cord locks into place with the vehicles central locking system. 

Available only in very well equipped SEL Premium trim, e-Golf pricing is in line with rival EVs, starting at $36,265. And of course the usual government rebates apply, bringing actual cost down to $28,765. 

The 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf with its solid feel, terrific handling, and great throttle response, is a true high water mark for mainstream EVs.  And much like the equally new and impressive Kia Soul EV, the more time we spend in them, the more EVs start to make sense.  They even have us thinking that a plug-in driving future might not be so hard to take after all.

Specifications

  • Engine: 85-kW electric motor
  • Horsepower: 115
  • Torque: 199 lb-ft.
  • EPA: 126 mpge city/ 105 mpge highway
  • Energy Impact: 0.2 barrels of oil/yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 0

Long Term Updates

Mileage: 3,000

So far, our petroleum-free Volkswagen e-Golf long-term electric car has been problem-free, smooth, and ultra-quiet. 

But, with only 3,000 miles on the clock, we’re still in the “get-to-know-you-phase”.

The feds lists the eGolf’s range at 83-miles. Yet, with careful driving and maximum regen braking dialed in, you can easily do much more. Around town and on commutes we’re impressed at how slowly the range decreases. Only on the open highway does it plunge as rapidly as rivals, but they don’t have this EV’s GTI-like handling. 

So, it doesn’t take too much time behind the wheel to realize that this car is the home run of current EVs.  

Mileage: 3,700

Admittedly, trips in our Volkswagen e-Golf have been mostly of the short variety, having only racked up 3,700–miles so far in our 2-months with Volkswagen’s first pure-EV. But we’re slowly venturing further afield, with a good grasp on how far we can push the e-Golf before needing a recharge.

That confidence has also been enhanced by a new 220-volt charger, helping us get a full charge in about half the time compared to 110. 

Most comments from our driver’s log center around how much the e-Golf feels just like a typical VW. Which is to say there are no weird EV eccentricities; just all Volkswagen Golf sporty feel in a gasoline-free package.

A very nicely equipped package at that, as in SEL Premium trim, backup camera and navigation are standard. 

Mileage: 4,300

It’s with much sadness that we bring you the following news about the 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf… …it’s no longer here! 

And that’s the only negative that we can come up with after our 3-month 4,300-mile plug-in adventure, except for some odd noises that emanated from the climate control system on startup. 

We’re very much in love with the whole Golf lineup, and our time spent in the e-Golf has only deepened our affection. 

Much like the GTIs that recently passed through our long-term fleet, the e-Golf is way more enjoyable than the typical 4-cylinder hatchback, with every stoplight reminding you of its awesome EV torque.

2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata 1

2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Still A Miata, And That’s A Great Thing

Episode 4340
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

When the cool little Mazda MX-5 Miata arrived for 1990, it immediately triggered a host of imitators and sparked a genuine global roadster revival. While that fad has faded, America’s love affair with the MX-5 has stayed strong. And, we’re pretty sure we know why!

The 2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata is probably one of the most recognizable cars on the road, and it has a way of putting a smile on our face every time we see one, not to mention any time we get a chance to hop behind the wheel. The Miata concept really hasn’t changed drastically over the last three decades, proof that Mazda got the formula right from the beginning.

Rear-wheel drive, minimal weight, tight suspension, willing engine, superb manual shifter, simple folding top, and just enough creature comforts to make long drives as pleasant as carving up backroad twisties.
An overload of power has never been part of that equation, and many may still decry the lack of horsepower, but just a reminder, this car was meant to rekindle the spirit of British roadsters from the 1960s that were a pure joy to drive, and had engines half as powerful as what the Miata works with today, which is a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter I4 with 181 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque.

2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata 3/4 Front
2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Profile
2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata 3/4 Rear
2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Front Detail
2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Rear Detail
2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata 3/4 Front2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Profile2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata 3/4 Rear2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Front Detail2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Rear Detail

A six-speed manual transmission remains the standard; you must upgrade to top Grand Touring trim to even get the available six-speed automatic. And it all works together to deliver a joyful driving experience that few other vehicles can match.

The exterior design has gotten more purposeful and less cartoonish over the years; new for this year is updated lighting which now incorporates the LED DRLs into the headlight assembly, as well as a more cohesive design for the full LED taillights, plus some fresh wheel choices.

Continual upgrades under the skin too, with a new asymmetric limited-slip differential for all manual-equipped Miatas. Its purpose is to minimize oversteer, and if you think that means it’s less fun, you’d be wrong.

The perfect feel and action of the shifter keeps you looking for reasons to shift gears.

It was still a blast to dart through the handling course at our Mason Dixon test track and on the autocross circuit at Summit Point Motorsports Park. Minimal body roll and perfectly neutral handling had us scooting through the turns with ease. Kinematic Posture Control was added back in ’22, using selective braking to tighten up cornering. Adding to it for ’24 is a new steering rack and updated software for the Electric Power Assisted Steering that provides better on-center feel and more precise control.

7.0 seconds to 60 mph won’t exactly get your blood pumping, but it’s plenty adequate for the Miata’s mission and the engine sounds great for a four-cylinder. The perfect feel and action of the shifter keeps you looking for reasons to shift gears. But keep those engine revs above 6,000 for the most power. We did and our best quarter-mile was 15.4 at 92 mph.

Our average braking distance of 118 feet from 60 mph may have been a little longer than we’re accustomed to from a performance car these days, but their predictable and fade-free nature will give you plenty of confidence at your next track day.

2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Dashboard
2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Seats
2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Instrument Cluster
2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Central Display
2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Shifter
2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Trunk
2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Engine
2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Dashboard2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Seats2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Instrument Cluster2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Central Display2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Shifter2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Trunk2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata Engine

Things remain all business in the cockpit, with everything falling readily to hand, and comfortable seats locking you in place. The most notable change in here for ’24 is a bigger infotainment screen, growing from 7.0 to 8.8 inches.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings with the manual are 26 City, 34 Highway, and 29 Combined. That’s a slightly better than average Energy Impact Score of 10.3 barrels of annual oil use, with 5.0 tons of CO2 emissions.
Starting price is only $30,170; top Grand Touring goes for $35,470.

It’s true that the Mazda MX-5 Miata has barely evolved over the years; but fortunately for all of us, virtually all of the ways that it has changed have been for the better, yet even in 2024, it remains incredibly affordable. It has been such a constant presence and passion for so many of our MotorWeek staffers over the years it seems like it has been around for a lot longer than just three decades, and thankfully, it looks like there’s no slowing the Miata down.

Specifications

As Tested

  • Engine: 2.0-liter I4
  • Transmission: 6-speed manual
  • Horsepower: 181
  • Torque: 151 lb-ft
  • 0-60 mph: 7.0 seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 15.4 seconds at 92 mph
  • 60-0 Braking: 118 feet (avg)
  • EPA: 26 City | 34 Highway | 29 Combined