Volkswagen Golf GTI is one of the best cars to buy in 2015

The Volkswagen Golf GTI, along with the rest of the Golf lineup, is on the shortlist of the best cars to buy in 2015. The 2015 Volkswagen Golf range also includes the e-Golf, the first plug-in electric car that VW has ever sold in the U.S.

Nam Y. Huh/AP/File
The 2015 Volkswagen Golf TSI displayed during the media preview of the Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place. The entire Golf lineup, which includes the Volkswagen Golf GTI and the new e-Golf are among the best cars to buy next year.

The fifth and final of our five nominees for Green Car Reports' 2015 Best Car To Buy award is the new 2015 Volkswagen Golf range.

It's a completely new, top-to-bottom makeover of the classic compact five-door hathback, now in its seventh generation since launching in 1974.

The lineup sold in the U.S. includes a pair of turbocharged gasoline engines, an all-new TDI diesel engine with more power and higher fuel-economy ratings.

The 2015 Volkswagen Golf range also includes the e-Golf, the first plug-in electric car VW has ever sold in the U.S.

The first e-Golf will be delivered on Friday, though the sale was actually completed last month after the buyer submitted the highest bid in an auction whose proceeds went to the environmental advocacy group Global Green USA.

And one of the interesting facets of the e-Golf is its absolutely, utter normality.

We've now driven it twice--once in Germany, once in the States--and colleagues have driven it as well.

Volkswagen has clearly achieved its goal of designing and building "a Golf that happens to be electric," rather than a statement electric car like the Nissan Leaf.

Our favorite comment on the e-Golf, in fact, comes from Kyle Stock of Business Week: “Volkswagen has made the electric car boring, and that’s no small accomplishment.”

But the e-Golf is only one part of the reason we nominated the entire range of 2015 Volkswagen Golf offerings for our Best Car To Buy 2015 award.

There's also the Golf TDI diesel, the latest iteration of a longstanding and popular dieselvehicle with a passionate following.

Its all-new EA288 2.0-liter diesel engine produces more power, at 150 horsepower, while also delivering higher fuel-economy ratings--a combined rating of 36 mpg--and, seemingly, truly remarkable real-world mileage too.

In a week of varied driving, the 2015 Golf TDI gave our colleague Bengt Halvorson a real-world 48 mpg--comparable to the real-world gas mileage achieved by the Toyota Prius hybrid in many circumstances.

And the Golf is, frankly, far more fun to drive than the current-generation Prius will ever be.

There are also two gasoline versions of the new Golf, with the base engine now being a downsized 1.8-liter turbocharged four that delivers 29 or 30 mpg combined.

But, we should note, Volkswagen also gets extra credit for offering a plug-in hybrid model called the Golf GTE in Europe. (We'll see that powertrain in the U.S. housed in the 2016 Audi A3 e-tron SportBack rather than the less expensive Golf.)

The Golf range in the U.S> will soon add an all-new SportWagen version, which in previous generations was badged as a Jetta in the U.S. (it was always the Golf everywhere else).

While we're fond of small wagons, especially with optional diesel engines, the Golf wagon isn't really part of the range we nominated.

Most U.S. Golf models--the gasoline and diesel ones--are now built in Mexico, but all e-Golfs globally are built in Germany.

Still, we can't think of any other maker in the world that offers gasoline, diesel, plug-in hybrid, and fully electric versions of the same model--let alone built on the same assembly lines.

And for that reason, the 2015 Volkswagen Golf range in its entirety is a nominee for the Green Car Reports Best Car To Buy 2015 award.

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