• New-generation VW Golf pricing announced
  • Starts at a lower level than the outgoing generation
  • Due at dealers in August

Pricing for the 2015 Volkswagen Golf has been announced. The 2015 model represents the seventh generation of Volkswagen's best-selling compact hatchback. Since the Golf first appeared in 1974, more than 30 million have been sold around the world and each generation has improved on the one before. Volkswagen claims that this model has more trunk space than any midsize sedan available in the U.S., to go with a "larger, more refined and mature cabin."

When it goes on sale this August, the entry-level model starts at $18,815 (including $820 destination charges). We're talking about the 2-door Golf Launch Edition here, equipped with a 5-speed manual transmission. Even so, that money still buys a turbocharged engine, Bluetooth, a touchscreen-controlled infotainment system, satellite radio, iPod integration, air conditioning, power windows and power locks. This is a limited run, undercutting the current base Golf by around $2,000.

Gasoline Power

Otherwise known as the Golf TSI, this model's basic engine is a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder that employs direct fuel injection and turbocharging to make 170 horsepower and 200 lb-ft of torque. VW claims highway fuel consumption to be 37 miles per gallon, which is 6 mpg better than the old 2.5-liter engine in the 2014 Golf. This new unit propels the Launch Edition up to the SEL models.

The Golf S starts at $19,815 for the 2-door version, with another $1,100 for a 6-speed automatic transmission. A 4-door S with automatic transmission starts at $21,515 and brings 16-inch alloy wheels, leatherette seating surfaces, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, handbrake lever and shift knob, cruise control, and VW Car-Net connected services offering roadside assistance, crash notification, vehicle unlock and several other features.

The Golf S with a sunroof comes only as a 4-door with a sticker price of $21,815 with the manual transmission. A self-shifter costs another $2,000. As well as a standard power tilt-and-slide panoramic sunroof, options packages include adaptive bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights ($995) and a Driver Assistance package ($695) that adds both forward-collision warning and park distance control.

Next up is the Golf SE -- a 4-door with an automatic transmission standard, starting at $25,315. In addition to the equipment found in the S, this model enjoys a Cold Weather package of heated front seats and windshield-washer nozzles, along with rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights, front fog lights, a rearview camera, a Fender-branded premium audio system and 17-in alloy wheels. Offered in a limited run of 650 units and priced at $27,750, the Golf Sport adds a body kit and a Lighting package to the SE.

The Golf SEL runs with 18-in alloy wheels, navigation, keyless access with push-button starting, a 12-way power adjustable driver's seat, sport comfort seats and all the above for $27,815.

For those demanding more power, VW has a 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder making 210 hp and 258 lb-ft in the GTI, which starts at $25,215 for a 2-door with a manual transmission. Or they can wait until early next year for the most powerful Golf to reach the United States: the all-wheel-drive, 4-door 2015 Volkswagen Golf R. The same engine in the GTI is tuned to give the R 290 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. Pricing is still yet to be announced on that one.

Diesel Efficiency

Known to enthusiasts as the TDI, this model's new turbocharged 2.0-liter engine uses VW's Clean Diesel technology to cut emissions by up to 40 percent compared with the previous engine. Output is 150 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. The company estimates fuel consumption as 31 mpg in the city and 35 mpg combined, which is better than the previous engine by a single mpg on both counts. All TDI models are 4-door and come with a 6-speed manual as standard.

Diesel-powered Golf ownership starts at $22,815 for the Golf TDI S 6-speed manual. This is around $3,000 cheaper than the outgoing equivalent. A 6-speed direct-shift-gearbox (DSG), dual-clutch, semi-automatic transmission is $1,100 extra. The rest of the S-related equipment is virtually the same as the gasoline version. The extra $1,100 for the DSG is also the case with the TDI SE, which starts at $26,315 for the manual and $27,415 for the auto, as well as the TDI SEL (starting at $28,815).

All-New Electric Capability

For the first time in the United States, VW is offering a battery-powered alternative: the 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf. In ideal conditions and with a favorable tail wind, maximum range might stretch to 115 miles, but real-world range is expected to be closer to 80 miles. Charging the lithium-ion battery takes less than four hours with a 240-volt charger, and this electric motor has some serious punch: 199 lb-ft of torque.

The e-Golf comes high in the lineup, equipped as an SEL Premium trim that includes navigation, VW Car-Net, push-button starting, LED headlights (another VW first in the U.S.) and a dedicated aerodynamics package. It goes on sale later in 2014 at certain dealers in selected states. No word on price yet.

What it means to you: The Golf is one of the few car lineups that offers a wide array of abilities capable of appealing to many people.

author photo

Colin Ryan has driven hundreds of cars thousands of miles while writing for BBC Top Gear magazine, Popular Mechanics, the Los Angeles Times, European Car, Import Tuner and many other publications, websites, TV shows, etc.

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