Volkswagen Golf TDI versus Golf TSI 2015: Two Tests Over 4,000 km (2022)

Are you familiar with the urban legend, or popular belief, that the seventh child in a family is always endowed with special gifts? There is a temptation to draw a technological parallel, and apply it to the seventh generation of the Volkswagen Golf. This is one family that is doing very nicely, thank you, with some thirty million copies produced over four decades, making it the second-best selling model since the car was invented.

The new Golf was chosen World Car and European Car of the Year, and went on to become the first non-Japanese car to be chosen Car of the Year in Japan. Since its arrival in Canada as a 2015 model, it has received the AJAC award for Best Small Car over $21,000, and stands an excellent chance of being chosen Car of the Year, regardless of category. It is the same story with the North American Car of the Year award, for which the entire Golf family is a contender: the gasoline-powered TSI, the TDI Diesel and the GTI, which remains the most sporting version.

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However, Car Guide beat them to the punch and chose the new Golf and its sporting variant, the GTI, as Cars of the Year for its 2015 edition, published a few months back.

Two Golfs are better than one

Given how popular the Golf is in Canada, I told myself that I had no better choice this year than to report with all my gear to the test days where I could vote on these awards. Two consecutive long drives took me first to central Michigan, and then the following week to Niagara Falls, Ontario: two long freeway journeys interrupted by short local trips.

(Video) Volkswagen Golf 2012-2017 in-depth review | Mat Watson Reviews

It was an ideal way to investigate and learn every detail about the comfort, behaviour, ergonomics, practicality, performance and real-world fuel consumption of these new models, particularly as I was able to make the first trip in a gasoline TSI, and the second in a diesel TDI. With a little luck, I would have a clearer answer than ever to a question we are constantly asked: if I buy a Golf, should it be gas or diesel?

At first glance, apart from the colour and the TSI and TDI trunk badges, the two Golfs are outwardly very similar, particularly as in this case, as they were both in top-of-the-line Highline trim, with the same 17-inch Geneva alloy wheels shod with 225/45 ContiProContact tires, making it all the easier to compare how they drive.

Additionally, the TDI has twist-beam rear suspension, while the other models are independent all round. A curious choice, doubtless intended to offset at least in part the inevitably higher cost of the diesel engine. With identical equipment, the TDI nevertheless remains the more expensive of the two.

More refined and enjoyable than ever

The new Golf is the first to be built on Volkswagen’s new MQB platform for front-wheel-drive cars with transverse engines; its simplified and less expensive modular architecture made it possible to design these new compacts to be longer, wider and more spacious, yet stronger and lighter. They are 2.8 cm lower, with better aerodynamics yielding a drag coefficient (Cx) of 0.29, down from 0.32.

The two cars I tested were in Highline trim, and the base prices were $29,495 for the TSI and $30,995 for the TDI. Add $1,400 for the automatic transmission and $2,195 for the Technology package, which includes an efficient navigation system with a 5.8 inch touch screen, a CD player, excellent xenon headlights that peer around corners like flashlights, LED running lights, a powerful and crystal-clear Fender sound system with eight speakers and a subwoofer, and a forward collision warning system.

(Video) VW Golf GTI vs VW Golf 2.0 TDI - Auto Express

The first word I wrote in my notebook after jumping into the TSI was “refinement”. The new Golf is impeccably elegant and quiet, with superb interior design and finish. The driving position is unencumbered, and the controls are well placed and easy to use, for the most part. On the other hand, why put the volume control on the left side of the steering wheel and the station selector on the right? And I never did get used to the cruise control buttons, which do not project far enough.

The designers deserve applause, however, for slender A pillars and low-mounted side windows and rearview mirrors that provide excellent forward vision. The same goes for the gauges, the perfectly clear screen, the well lighted controls and the numerous handy outlets and storage compartments.

Cargo space is wide and accessible, with split-folding rear seat-backs. To open the hatch, you press the top of the VW badge, which swivels automatically when you shift into reverse to reveal the backup camera. This means that the camera lens stays clean, even in winter.

The front seats are well-designed and look good. They are very comfortable initially, and provide good support, but I found myself squirming around after a few hours at the wheel. It was perhaps inevitable after 8, 10 and even 12 hours of driving. Or maybe it was just me.

(Video) 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI First Drive Review

I enjoyed the two Highline versions, but testing a Golf TSI in Comfortline trim for the AJAC awards convinced me that it offered all the refinement and dynamic characteristics of the high-end vehicle, and was surprisingly well equipped for the price of around $24,000.

Torquey turbos

The engines in the seventh-generation Golf are also new. The TSI has a gasoline powered direct-injection turbocharged 1.8 litre four producing 170 hp at 4,500 rpm, but more importantly 200 lb-ft of torque at just 1,600 rpm. This lively and flexible power plant takes the TSI from 0 to 100 kph in 8.5 seconds with the 6-speed automatic transmission. The quarter-mile takes 16.13 seconds at 141.8 kph, and the 80-120 kph passing manoeuvre takes 5.85 seconds. These figures were achieved on regular gas. Unusually for a turbo engine, that is what Volkswagen recommends. You'll be able to feel the difference in your wallet.

The TDI’s turbodiesel four still displaces 2.0 litres, but all the components are new. Output is 150 hp at 3,500 rpm and 236 lb-ft of torque at 1,750 rpm. Performance: 0-100 kph in 9.0 seconds, the quarter-mile in 16.62 seconds at 136.8 kph and 80-120 kph in 6.95 seconds with the excellent dual clutch DSG 6-speed automatic.

The figures confirm that the TDI and the TSI are very close in performance, thanks to the turbo in both cases. The gasoline version has a slight edge in speed and acceleration, and the diesel remains more economical, as expected.

What advantage does the TDI have in terms of fuel consumption, you may wonder? It’s an obvious question, given the Golf diesel’s status as an economy champion. Yet the choice is now tougher than ever because the new and thoroughly modern gas-powered turbo in this TSI offers more than high performance and flexibility.

(Video) 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI (Diesel) Test Drive Video Review

A more difficult choice

Over a total distance of 2,354 km, and maintaining a speed of 118 kph (or 73 mph) on the freeways, I achieved an average of 6.98 l/100 km for the TSI. This included return journeys between the hotel in Chelsea, Michigan, and the test headquarters for the North American awards in Hell Creek, a combination of city and secondary-road driving.

By comparison, I got an average of 5.15 l/100 km with the diesel-engined TDI over a total distance of 1,602 km. Again, I kept to a “sub-ticket” speed of 118 kph on the freeways, and made several return journeys that involved city driving between the hotel in Niagara Falls and the AJAC awards base camp a few kilometres away.

So which one should you choose? Bearing in mind that the price difference between regular gas and diesel is currently 20 cents in the Montreal area, it would take about 15 years to make up the difference of $2,500 between the base prices of the TDI and TSI versions, assuming a typical 20,000 km a year. No wonder Volkswagen tried to reduce the gap by fitting lower-cost rear suspension to the TDI.

That said, the price difference between regular gas and diesel was a mere 3 cents where I filled up in Ontario. Try finding that in our part of the world! The Golf TDI therefore appeals more than ever to high-mileage users, particularly when comfort and performance are virtually identical in highway use. If you drive 60,000 km a year – not all that unusual in Quebec – it will take you five years to make up the price differential. That will leave more money in your pocket for the following five years, even with the higher maintenance costs for the TDI.

(Video) 2013 VW Golf 7 2.0TDi (150hp) - DRIVE & SOUND (1080p FULL HD)

For the rest, the new Golf TDI and TSI are wonderfully practical, agile and refined compact cars that richly deserve the honours heaped upon them. Thanks to the more powerful GTI, which I very much enjoyed driving during the annual test bonanza, we are already spoiled for choice. With the new all-wheel-drive 296 hp Golf R coming soon, the choice becomes almost agonizing.

FAQs

Is TSI better than TDI? ›

While most modern TSI engines are capable of excellent fuel economy of 45mpg or more, they generally fall short of TDI engines, some of which manage over 65mpg. However, diesel cars are generally more expensive to buy in the first place and have their own drawbacks and compromises compared with petrol alternatives.

Is TDI or TSI faster? ›

The figures confirm that the TDI and the TSI are very close in performance, thanks to the turbo in both cases. The gasoline version has a slight edge in speed and acceleration, and the diesel remains more economical, as expected.

How many miles can a VW Golf TDI last? ›

The main reason I purchased the VW Golf TDI is that with the diesel engine, life expectancy is 50-80% longer. A well-maintained diesel engine can easily go 400-500,000 miles.

What is the difference between a Golf TDI and TSI? ›

The difference between VW TSI and TDI comes down to one basic key. TSI (Turbo Stratified Engine) uses petrol. Whilst TDI (Turbo Diesel Engine), as its name states, uses diesel. That is the main difference.

Is the VW TSI engine reliable? ›

The 2.0T TSI was a fairly reliable engine, but it does have a list of common problems. This article will outline the common VW engine problems and how to detect them. This engine uses direct injection to spray the fuel into the engine's cylinders. The fuel injectors the piece that sprays the fuel.

Are TSI engines fast? ›

With its intricate engineering, the TSI family of engines is able to outperform bigger engines.

What does TSI stand for? ›

Drivers may be aware that their TSI engine is a gas Volkswagen engine, but they may not know how this engine offers advantages over other gas engines. TSI stands for “turbocharged stratified injection” and was inspired by the Volkswagen TDI Clean Diesel and FSI direct fuel injection engines.

How fast is a Golf TSI? ›

The Volkswagen Golf 7 1.4 TSI ACT Tech 150HP DSG 7 Speeds Sport top speed is 216 Km/h / 134 mph.

What is the difference between golf and golf TSI? ›

-The Golf GTI is the higher performance version of the TSI. Like its sibling, it was first introduced on the Mk6 platform, combining a turbocharged 2.0 litre engine with direct injection to deliver 210 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque mated to either a six-speed manual or DSG transmission.

What year TDI is the best? ›

Speaking of reliable TDIs, the 2001-2003 models with manual transmissions are the best of the bunch. With reviews on high reliability, the models can be bought without a second thought. The classic 1.9 ALH TDI engine is considered the best TDI engine which was used in the 2001-2003 models.

What VW diesel engine is best? ›

While Volkswagen has produced many very good diesel engines over the years, the “ALH” engine used between 1998 and 2006 is regarded as one of the best.

Is the VW 2.0 TDI a good engine? ›

The 2.0 TDI PD engine is praised for outstanding performance and low fuel consumption. The engine is mounted in a wide range of popular Vw Group models.

Which is better fuel petrol or diesel? ›

Per litre, diesel contains more energy than petrol and the vehicle's engine combustion process is more efficient, adding up to higher fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions when using diesel.

What does TDI stand for? ›

TDI stands for Turbocharged Direct Injection. Direct injection is when fuel is sprayed directly into a car's cylinder rather than delivered through an intake manifold. Direct injection diesel engines tend to be more efficient and produce less soot than older types of engines.

Which is faster TDI or GTI? ›

On performance, the TDI is a few ticks slower than the GTI in acceleration, and in our handling tests.

How long does TSI engine last? ›

The average lifespan of the 1.2 TSI engine is 150,000 miles (250,000 km).

Does a Volkswagen Golf TSI have a timing belt or chain? ›

The 2019 Volkswagen Golf with a 1.4L turbo engine has a timing belt while the 1.8L and 2.0L turbo engines have a timing chain.

Do turbos shorten engine life? ›

No. today's turbochargers are designed to last the lifespan of the vehicle. The truth is, boosted engines require the same amount of maintenance and care that a naturally aspirated engine does. Does a turbocharger decrease the life of an engine?

What is the best VW TSI engine? ›

The 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine from Volkswagen wins "Engine of the Year Award" for eighth consecutive time in the 1.0 to 1.4 litre displacement category. This makes the 1.4-litre TSI the most successful engine in the 15-year history of this international engine technology competition.

What is special about TSI engine? ›

TSI engines are compact, high-powered and use less fuel. TSI technology blends the best of our TDI diesel and FSI (fuel stratified direct injection) petrol engines to give you excellent driveability and outstanding fuel economy.

How do you take care of a TSI engine? ›

6 Ways to Protect Your Turbo Engine
  1. Regular Oil Maintenance. ...
  2. Warm Up the Engine. ...
  3. Don't Overstep the Limits of the Turbo when Cruising. ...
  4. Use Your Gears to Overtake. ...
  5. Let the Engine Cool After Driving. ...
  6. Don't Blip the Throttle Before Turning the Engine Off.
12 Mar 2018

Is TSI a diesel? ›

A TSI engine is petrol, whereas a TDI engine is a diesel. TDI stands for Turbocharged Direct Injection, again signifying it's a turbodiesel unit.

Does Golf TSI have Turbo? ›

Built to be strong and light, TSI engines all deliver high specific torque from much lower revs, to make Volkswagen cars more lively, economical and clean-running. Volkswagen TSI engines combine direct injection with turbocharging, and also feature an intercooler to deliver more efficient motoring.

Is TDI always diesel? ›

Overview. TDI is the combination of two existing diesel engine technologies: Direct injection— where a fuel injector sprays the diesel fuel directly into the main combustion chambers.

What is the fastest golf? ›

That means, this special edition Golf GTI is the fastest model in the Golf line-up, with a top speed of 166mph. Like the Golf GTI Clubsport, the Clubsport 45 is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, which produces 296bhp and 400Nm of torque.

How fast is the Volkswagen GTI? ›

The Volkswagen Golf GTI is a sporty car that stays true to the original idea of what a “hot hatch” should be. It has a top speed of 155 mph which makes it the fastest Volkswagen model on the market.

What is Mk7 Golf? ›

The Volkswagen Golf (Mk7) is a small family car (C-segment) produced by German automobile manufacturer Volkswagen, as the seventh generation of the Golf and the successor to the Golf Mk6. It was introduced in Berlin on 4 September 2012, before a public launch at the 2012 Paris Motor Show.

Is the Volkswagen Golf TSI a sports car? ›

So, the Volkswagen Golf GTI is a hot hatch and sports car. It may just be the Goldilocks of Golf models, with the right amount of performance, fun, comfort, convenience, and safety, all in one punchy little ride.

How much horsepower does a Golf TSI have? ›

Used 2018 Volkswagen Golf TSI S Specs & Features
Engine
Base engine size1.8 L
CylindersInline 4
Base engine typeGas
Horsepower170 hp @ 4,500 rpm
5 more rows

What is the difference between a VW Golf GTI and TDI? ›

GTI, which stands for Grand Tourer Injection, is Volkswagen Golf's performance model. TDI, which stands for Turbocharged Direct Injection, is Volkswagen's identification of a diesel engine. Lastly, R is the highest performance tier of the Golf and, as you can probably guess, it stands for Racing.

Why are VW TDI so cheap? ›

TDIs Are Cheaper Than Ever

Partly due to all of the Dieselgate uncertainty and negative press, and partly due to the abundance of bought-back cars that need to find new homes, TDI models on the market right now are selling for about 30% less than they otherwise would be.

What is the most reliable diesel car? ›

Most Reliable Diesel Pickups of All Time
ModelEngine
FordF-250/F-3507.3-Liter Power Stroke V-8
Chevy/GMCSilverado/Sierra6.6-Liter Duramax LB7 V-8
Chevy/GMCSilverado/Sierra6.6-Liter Duramax LBZ V-8
Dodge Ram2500/35005.9-Liter, 12-Valve Cummins I-6
1 more row
16 Jul 2022

What was the last year for VW TDI? ›

The Jetta TDI was then discontinued for 2007 and 2008, but for 2009 it made a comeback as Volkswagen gave it a larger engine (2.0-liter versus 1.9) and made it even more fuel efficient as it was rated at 30 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway.

Is the VW TDI reliable? ›

Volkswagen 1.9 TDI Engine Reliability

Just like any other engine on the market, the 1.9 TDI will last longer if it is taken care of properly. As crazy as it sounds, we have seen some 1.9's at 250,000 – 300,000 miles and one at just over 400,000 miles.

Who makes VW diesel? ›

The TDI engine is an important development of the Volkswagen Group. They are only sold by Audi, Volkswagen, SEAT, and Skoda marques. First developed in 1989 for the Audi 100 TDI sedan, this engine combines two existing diesel technologies.

Is VW diesel coming back? ›

In a statement, the German automaker has committed to using diesel engines for the remainder of the 2020 decade, after which its entire lineup will be replaced almost entirely by EVs.

When should a timing belt be changed on a 2.0 TDI? ›

2.0L TDI. The most recent recommend timing belt replacement interval for VW 2.0L TDI models is 80,000 miles.

Are diesel Golfs reliable? ›

Our latest reliability data shows petrol Golfs in a better light than their diesel counterparts. Petrol models were given a reliability rating of 94.6%, while diesel variants received a rating of 89.4% – not terrible, nor amazing.

How many miles will a VW engine last? ›

Most Volkswagen engines on today's roads are designed to last as far as over 100 000 miles. This explains why mileage is used as the main factor when it comes to evaluating the duration of an engine.

Is it worth getting a diesel car? ›

Put simply, you should buy a diesel car if you regularly cover a lot of high-speed miles, i.e. a regular motorway commute rather than lots of short trips. Diesel cars give better fuel economy than their petrol counterparts, as well as offering more torque on tap for those who want to tow or the like.

Do diesel cars require daily running? ›

Answers submitted by Users. No, the morden Crdi technology diesel engine does not require to run daily, you can use after 15 days of ideal like the petrol engine. Diesel car makes right selection only if you use 1500Km/Month.

How many kms Can a diesel engine do? ›

"You can get up to maybe 250,000 km or 300,000 km before a gas engine starts to make noise, or burn oil because it's wearing out, but a diesel can quite easily do 500,000 km and still be in excellent shape," says one certified mechanic I spoke with.

Is the TDI fast? ›

Answer provided by. The Volkswagen Jetta TDI has a top speed of 122 mph. The Jetta TDI has a 150-horsepower, turbodiesel four-cylinder engine that produces a whopping 236 pound-feet of torque and a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters that give it a 0-60 mph time of 11 seconds.

Why are diesel engines louder? ›

But diesels are generally louder than gasoline engines. The reason for this is they have staged injection. This means that the fuel pulse broke up into stages with the pilot, combustion, and post-combustion injector pulses. This dramatically reduces the noise.

Did VW stop making TDI? ›

Buzz nears the start of production. Volkswagen still offers TDI engines in European models, including the Multivan, which is also offered with gasoline and hybrid powerplants. VW phased out diesel engines in the US and Canada after the automaker's diesel crisis in 2015, buying back tens of thousands of vehicles.

What does GTI mean on a Golf? ›

GTI stands for Grand Touring Injection. Volkswagen uses for its direct fuel injection system. Over 40 years ago, GTI technology was first deployed in the 1976 Volkswagen Golf GTI.

What's the difference between TDI and GTD? ›

GTD look like a GTI and has more power over a regular TDI. Basically the full underpinnings of a GTi regarding suspension and brakes, along with the interior and exterior, and it has the Euro Spec TDi motor that has 170hp and 256lbft if I'm not mistaken. It's like the TDI Cup, GLi with the TDi motor.

Which is faster TDI or GTI? ›

On performance, the TDI is a few ticks slower than the GTI in acceleration, and in our handling tests.

Which is faster GTI or TSI? ›

-The Golf GTI is the higher performance version of the TSI. Like its sibling, it was first introduced on the Mk6 platform, combining a turbocharged 2.0 litre engine with direct injection to deliver 210 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque mated to either a six-speed manual or DSG transmission.

Which Passat engine is best? ›

The the Generation 3 version of the 1.8L TSI takes the crown as the best VW engine on the market.

Is TSI a turbo? ›

TSI stands for “turbocharged stratified injection” and was inspired by the Volkswagen TDI Clean Diesel and FSI direct fuel injection engines. The engine allows for higher torque at lower RPMs, which means more power with less fuel usage.

Are Golf TDI fast? ›

Compared to the gas and electric Golfs, the diesel-powered Golf TDI is slower and less agile. The TDI has the second-slowest 0-60 time, at 9.0 seconds. Its 17.0-second quarter-mile time with a speed of 83.6 mph was even slower than the electric Golf's 16.9 seconds.

What does TDI stand for? ›

TDI stands for Turbocharged Direct Injection. Direct injection is when fuel is sprayed directly into a car's cylinder rather than delivered through an intake manifold. Direct injection diesel engines tend to be more efficient and produce less soot than older types of engines.

Which VW Golf is the fastest? ›

The stopwatch says it all: the new Golf R “20 Years” 01 is the fastest R model of all time on the German racetrack Nürburgring-Nordschleife. The anniversary vehicle with its increased power has bettered the previous lap record of a Golf R 02 on the 20,832 km long racetrack once more by four seconds.

Is the Volkswagen Golf TSI a sports car? ›

So, the Volkswagen Golf GTI is a hot hatch and sports car. It may just be the Goldilocks of Golf models, with the right amount of performance, fun, comfort, convenience, and safety, all in one punchy little ride.

What does TSI mean on a car? ›

Turbo Stratified Injection - TSI

TSI is our pioneering technology for petrol engines. TSI engines are compact, high-powered and use less fuel. TSI technology blends the best of our TDI diesel and FSI (fuel stratified direct injection) petrol engines to give you excellent driveability and outstanding fuel economy.

What VW diesel engine is best? ›

While Volkswagen has produced many very good diesel engines over the years, the “ALH” engine used between 1998 and 2006 is regarded as one of the best.

Which is best golf engine? ›

The best of the Golf's petrol engines is the 1.5-litre TSI, delivering a fine blend of power and economy. It's genuinely impressive, with a keenness to rev that helps it to feel livelier than its fuel economy would suggest.

Is the VW 2.0 Turbo a good engine? ›

Turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engines are notable for being small and light, yet powerful. They provide a good amount of power and torque, making them fun to drive. At the same time, they get good fuel-economy ratings and their small size allows for more economical use of space.

What is special about TSI engine? ›

TSI engines are compact, high-powered and use less fuel. TSI technology blends the best of our TDI diesel and FSI (fuel stratified direct injection) petrol engines to give you excellent driveability and outstanding fuel economy.

Is TSI a diesel? ›

A TSI engine is petrol, whereas a TDI engine is a diesel. TDI stands for Turbocharged Direct Injection, again signifying it's a turbodiesel unit.

Who makes TSI engines? ›

Volkswagen's TSI engines – turbocharged petrol engines with direct injection – are especially efficient. The fuel is injected directly into the combustion chamber at a maximum pressure of more than 100 bar.

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