By: Harvey Shwartz

The Golf TSI SEL hatchback has it all.  After a complete makeover in 2016 the Golf TSI SEL comes back with subtle changes to the signature VW styling but with more connectivity and safety in the top-of-the-line SEL model.  The new Golf TSI SEL is a great driver’s car and ready to easily take care of your daily chores with the fold-down second-row seat and wide-opening hatchback.  It offers pure style and pure, efficient performance, from city streets to highway cruising.  It is a compact on the outside yet big on the inside.  Subtle changes outside on the SEL include Adaptive Bi-Xenon headlamps and foglamps. 

Driving is fun and easy with the 6-speed FWD transmission with Sport mode and Sequential Shifting using the leather-wrapped shifter, (tap up shift/pull-downshift), or the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters that give me instant acceleration for merging onto fast moving highways or passing slower traffic, plus getting around slow city traffic.  A great feel for the road with excellent feedback to my inputs are the result of VW’s excellent Servotronic electric power assist rack & pinion steering system.

The fully independent suspension keeps me comfortable driving over poorly paved road surfaces, across railroad tracks, a speed and holds its own when cornering thanks to the Electronic Stability Control.  Up front is a strut type setup with lower control arms, coil springs, telescopic dampers and a 22mm anti-roll bar.  The rear features multi-links, coil springs, telescopic dampers and a 19mm anti-roll bar.  This modern suspension system gave me more confidence when cornering at higher than posted speeds.  Also modern is the electronic power assist rack & pinion steering system with a great feel for the road and quick feedback from my steering inputs.  Enhancing grip are the large 8X18 inch 5-dual spoke aluminum wheels wrapped with Bridgestone 225/40R18 inch Potenza low profile tires.

Safely slowing the new 2017 VW Golf TSI SEL down from speed are large, 4-wheel power disc brakes.  Up front are 11.3 inch vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers and rear 10.7 inch solid discs clamped with single-piston calipers.  Standard ABS, BA and EBD keeps me safe during severe braking times.

The big news is on the inside with plenty of room for 4-large adults, (93.5 cu.ft. passenger volume), with good legroom and a reconfigurable cargo space (22.8 with seats up/52.7 cu.ft with the seats folded).  The rear features a pull-down center armrest/dual cupholders and dual vents bring cool or heated air more efficiently to the rear. The driver-centric cockpit is a great fit with a slightly canted instrument panel with flat-bottom/tilt/telescopic/leather-wrapped steering wheel, easy to see instrument cluster with trip computer/car info on a 4X3 inch center screen, push-button start/stop, power door locks, dual-zone electronic climate control, rain-sensing wipers/washers/rear wiper/washer, dual map lights, express up/down windows, DRLs, LED rear lamps, sunglass bin, 4-grab handles that make entry/exit of the wide-opening doors safer, storage under the piano black veneer center stack, dual-cupholders, center storage box and lighted glovebox, in each door and dashboard with faux carbon fiber trim.  The SEL adds comfortable leather sport bucket seats with driver-side 8-way power/lumbar support, an electric sunroof, ambient lighting, a larger 6.5 inch full color center touchscreen with navigation, and a tremendous FENDER AM-FM-HD 10-speaker/subwoofer Surround Sound system with Sirius/Apple Car Play, Android, USB, Bluetooth and iPod connection.  It also comes with VW Car-Net App-Connect linking your compatible smartphone to access my streaming music, mobile maps, messaging and other apps can be controlled from the touchscreen on the dash. 

My SEL model also came with extra safety features such as a rearview camera system, front/rear parking system, Rear Traffic Alert, Self-Parking System, Blind Spot Warning, VW Car-Net Security & Service, Lane Keeping Warning and Adaptive Cruise Control with front collision warning. 

Standard safety features include front/rear crumple zones, lightweight ultra-strong steel safety cell construction, 5-seat belts with front pretensioners, front/side/side curtain airbags and SOS VW system.  The new VW Golf TSI Golf is efficient giving 25mpg/city and 35mpg/highway mileage.  That’s 462 of highway mileage, perfect for weekend getaways.

For the money you cannot purchase a better looking, fun-to-drive, four-door hatchback and with the SEL model, no better features and safety systems.  Prices start at $27,995.00 and $30.810.00 as tested including destination.