North American Car of the Year: The 2015 Volkswagen Golf

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Roughly 60 auto journalists voted to name the 2015 Volkswagen Golf Car of the Year at the Detroit Auto Show (or North American International Auto Show as it is officially known). It beat out the favoured Ford Mustang and Hyundai Genesis.

The win even surprised Volkswagen, which had experienced a recent US sales slump. Their numbers picked up by the end of the year and now things seem to be on the right track for them.

“It’s confirmation of the way we’ve chosen to go forth,” Volkswagen American CEO Michael Horn told the press, “it’s a starting point to get back on track here in U.S.” – and one would presume Canada as well.

Starting an auto career working for Volkswagen seems like a good move right now. Something akin to someone with dispatch training going to work for a top-ranked trucking company like Mullen.

But why has the 2015 Golf attracted the praise of the Detroit voting body as well as others like Motor Trend who also named it Car of the Year? There are some factors to consider.

Classic Look, More Room

This is the 40th anniversary of the VW Golf. In celebration, this new model looks very much like the cars graduates of auto mechanic courses have been working on for the past four decades. At least on the outside. The interior, on the other hand, is much more spacious.

You get 20 millimeters of additional legroom in front and 15 mm in back. Shoulder room increases by 30mm and elbow room by 20mm. There is also ample trunk space. This is a hatchback, after all, meaning the trunk is considered either a third or fifth door. It should lead to some place grand, or at least ample.


Volkswagen managed to reduce the Golf’s sticker price by about $1,000 from last year’s rates for all versions of the car. Two-door hatchbacks, for example, now start at $20,390.

They did this without taking away any of the things people love about Golf. Instead they moved production of the vehicle for the North American market from the plant at their global headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany to a much more local assembly line in Mexico.

Under the Hood

The new Golf has a 1.8 litre turbocharged four cylinder engine producing 70 horsepower and 185 pounds per foot of torque. For the more environmentally conscious, there is a 2.0 litre TDI turbo-diesel option as well.

Both engines offer a very smooth ride and the controls are simple to use. Also, despite the increased room inside, the new Golf is lighter than its predecessors.

Have a look at the 2015 Volkswagen Golf in action during a recent test drive:

Do you agree with the pick of the year? Can you see yourself working on a Golf in the future?

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