By on February 27, 2019

2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI

2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI

2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (220 horsepower @ 4,700 rpm; 258 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm)

Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive

25 city / 33 highway / 28 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

9.6 city, 7.2 highway, 8.5 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

Base Price: $35,070 (U.S) / $35,895 (Canada)

As Tested: $35,920 (U.S.) / $37,640 (Canada)

Prices include $850 destination charge in the United States and $1,745 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

There’s a reason why the Volkswagen Golf GTI is fetishized by journalists and enthusiasts as perhaps the perfect daily-driver sporty car.

Because if it isn’t, it’s damn near close.

Changes for 2018 were minimal. The 2018 got a mild standard horsepower bump (assuming you’re using premium fuel) to 220, up from 210. Other changes included a reshuffled trim lineup, newly available LED headlights, larger infotainment, and driver-assist tech that was now standard on the SE and Autobahn trims. It also gained the Golf R’s brakes and an available electronically controlled limited-slip differential.

Torque from the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is listed at 258 lb-ft, and that’s enough to move with alacrity, if not authority. Sure, a Honda Civic Type R offers more torque and more urgent acceleration, and the Subaru WRX feels a bit stronger (despite having the same torque output), but the GTI will still give you the grins when passing.

As usual, it remains a blast to hustle through corners. The steering could use a little more heft, but it’s accurate, and the car just moves through a turn in a fashion that puts a smile on your face. The strut-type suspension with anti-roll bar up front and the rear multilink with roll-bar unit work together to give you a car that turns in urgently yet smoothly, with some rear-end rotation if you play things right. Yet freeway ride isn’t sacrificed, at least not by much.

2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Although I don’t recall there ever being beef about the GTI’s previous brakes, the addition of the Golf R’s brakes is welcome. Stout braking is necessary during hard cornering, and the GTI won’t leave you worrying about getting the right amount of deceleration dialed in.

The six-speed manual transmission remains a gem, even if throws are a bit looser than I’d like, and even if the clutch engagement could use some stiffening up. It’s not just a joy to row during hard driving, but also during sedate commuting.

Ah, yes. Commuting. The GTI doesn’t just exist to be driven hard, but to get you to the office the rest of the time. Or the grocery store. Part of the reason the car gets so many plaudits is because of its utility. Not only does it give up little in ride quality, but the hatchback shape gives it a leg up over its sedan and coupe competitors (the Type R is also hatchbacked). Nearly 23 cubic feet of cargo space compared to the WRX’s 12 is a good selling point for VW.

2018 Volkswagen GTI

As per usual with Volkswagens, the interior is functional to the point of being a bit boring. Awash in black and familiar by now, the cabin is pleasant, and red trim accents do break up the monotony a bit. Most of the materials feel appropriate for the price point, but there are areas in which the cockpit materials feel underwhelming for a car that costs 35 large.

The GTI’s appeal is, of course, based on more than sportiness or its ability to handle the duties of daily driving. Content matters, and the Autobahn trim offers smartphone integration (Apple CarPlay, Android Auto) while also offering up a navigation system, dual-zone climate control, leather seats, heated seats, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, forward-collision warning, keyless entry and starting, satellite radio, premium audio, panoramic sunroof, and 18-inch wheels.

You can have your cake and eat it, too – the GTI will pass by fuel pumps, thanks to its 25 mpg city/33 mpg highway/28 mpg combined EPA ratings (yes, I know – your mileage will vary).

2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI

So, you get a car that’s a blast to drive, with hatchback utility and respectable fuel economy. Its styling is more sedate than that of the boy-racer Type R, it’s less stiffly sprung than a WRX, and doesn’t have the three-door weirdness of the cheaper Hyundai Veloster N. Yes, a Civic Si undercuts it in price, but only when compared against the SE and Autobahn trims. Not to mention the Si isn’t available with a hatchback or some of the available features of the GTI.

No wonder seemingly every auto journalist recommends the GTI to those who want an affordable daily driver that’s also fun to drive. The overall packaging makes up for any flaws, or for any individual aspects in which the GTI doesn’t compare favorably to certain competitors.

No car is perfect. But for many scribes, and many buyers, the GTI comes closest.

[Images © 2019 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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59 Comments on “2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI Autobahn Review – All-around Virtue, or the Auto Journalist’s Perfect Car...”


  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    A great ride for sure, but I never thought I’d say the GTI would be common in KC, but it is now.I think alot of 3 series driving purists moved over to the GTI.I’ve been wanting a fun car again,with a manual but I’m afraid the GTI is too much of a daily driver that would only be good to 8/10ths to warrant fun car status.Especially if I decide to want to go autocrossing or occasional trackday again.The R isn’t exciting enough of a leapfrog from the GTI to warrant the price premium.
    I’ll wait to see what happens to N pricing. Right now G70s are selling over sticker here ,according to my buddy who just bought a Stinger.
    And please someone tell OEMs that directional wheels are still ugly

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I know hatchbacks are fetishized by enthusiasts but…

    When does the Jetta GLI go on sale and start to arrive at dealers?

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      Likely this summer.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      But the new Jetta is such a dorky looking car, the GLI doesn’t have much to work with. The previous GLI was a real looker, it just never got the under-the-skin upgrades it needed to keep up with the MKVII GTI.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        New GLI is getting all the mechanical goodies from the GTI (including limited slip) and C&D just announced trim for trim it’s going to be cheaper than the GTI. Plus the Jetta is practically a midsizer when looking at interior volume.

        Some of us like trunks.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          I’ve got no problem with trunks. I just think the new Jetta looks frumpy compared to the old one. A little too much Nissan in the design. And it’s only getting those goodies 5-6 years after the GTI became available in the US (even longer if you count the European release), so I think it’s a valid criticism of the car.

  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    I love my ’18 GTI S-package. It does everything I want it to. It is a blast to drive hard, but I still can launch into grandma mode and easily achieve 40-mpg on the computer for my errands.

    I realized soon after I bought the GTI that it is a soon-to-be unicorn…three pedals, fairly basic specs, and relatively free of e-nannies. So, I bought a Explorer beater as a DD. After this winter, I am so glad that I did.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    My only gripe with the GTI… from what I have seen, they only put adaptive cruise control on the Autobahn trim. I’d be happy with an S with a sunroof, ACC and no other options.

    I’m still not convinced that this thing is a thriller, but a GTI DSG is more satisfying to drive than its automatic transmission compact competitors.

  • avatar
    Damasconian

    I purchased a 2017 GTI in July of 2017 and after nearly two years of ownership I think it’s the best car I’ve ever owned. I came from a 2015 M4 that I did a Euro delivery on and while the M4 is obviously the better car, when you factor in cost ($25K vs $75K) it’s no comparison. I have a midnight blue SE with a manual and I consider this combo to be the adult version of this car. I had paired it with a 2007 4Runner but that truck flooded in Harvey and now I’m stuck with either selling the GTI and buying a new 4Runner or keeping the GTI and buying a used one. It’s a damn good car!

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I briefly glanced at the 2-series prior to buying a GTI two weeks ago. Of the 130 or so cars in my area, only 6 of them had manuals. The cheapest cost $50K, and the rest were all at $60K. So at least double the cost of the GTI I bought. And I was so underwhelmed by the last BMW I drove, I didn’t even bother with a test drive.

      Expensive cars never look nice for very long around here anyway. Of the 6 cars I’ve bought in the past decade (prior to the GTI), all of them have been hit while parked. I don’t even see the point in spending serious money on a car that’s going to get damaged eventually anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        kosmo

        Agreed. Maybe I’m just getting old-ish, but BMW seems to have gone looney tunes with pricing.

        I had an older, admittedly “nothing burger” 128 that I paid well under 30k for……..still regret selling.

      • 0 avatar
        aajax

        Holy crap, where do you live? I can’t remember the last time my car was hit while parked. My wife’s car was tapped about 15 years ago, but the mark was hardly noticeable.

    • 0 avatar
      rreichar

      I bought a 2017 SE manual a couple of years ago. Great car for less than 26K. I’ve had lots of cars and I’d have to say it’s the best of the lot.

  • avatar
    tedder

    I had a ’13 GTI and thought it was the perfect car for about 2 years. Then the alignment kept going off causing it to eat front tires (4 sets in 55k miles), the water pump failed (twice) stranding me. It started hesitating every now and then until the injectors failed stranding my wife. They only replaced 2/4 and declined to replace the other 2 as it was 3 months before the end of the emissions warranty. Then it started stuttering again (the other 2 injectors). Also of the power windows had stopped working (after the 3 year warranty was over). Sold with ~60k miles after 3.75 years and vowed to never buy another VW/Audi.

    It was a sad day, it was a great car when it worked, but I have never owned a new car with so many problems, and only one used car that could rival it (an ’87 Sterling. Yes, that one was asking for it)

    • 0 avatar
      lon888

      +1 Current 2012 GTI checking in. I can hardly describe the “perfect car” requiring 4, yes 4 intake manifolds, 4 batteries, 3 sets of rear roll bar links, a high pressure fuel pump, 3 sets of fuel injectors and last weekend I spent 5 hours under the hood replacing the cheap plastic water pump. Oh, and as a further insult my car was blessed with the crummy timing chain tensioner that soon require replacement on my dime. One and done VW, one and done….

  • avatar
    hreardon

    I have a ’16 Autobahn 6MT and while I am admittedly very hard to please, this car is just about perfect, especially at the price.

    My biggest gripe is that I would like a bit more sound deadening (I’m getting older and placing a higher value on quiet interiors these days), and when the AC is running it can be difficult to get smooth shifts (common issue I’ve run into across all variants of the Audi/VW 2.0T and manual transmission combo).

    I love the adaptive suspension and on the twisties the front differential adds a fun little kick in the pants.

    I cross shopped the A3/S3 and A4/S4 before purchasing. I really wanted to be able to justify the B8 S4 with manual, but just couldn’t bring myself to justify it. The S3 is a great car, even though it meant dropping the manual transmission, but it just felt too sterile.

    I’m of the belief that the MK7 GTI is going to be a future collectible, on par with the original MK4 R32. Volkswagen really nailed the value proposition with this car.

    And, before the snarks arrive: I’ve had the car for 39 months and 30,000 miles with regular maintenance and one unscheduled trip for a misaligned sunroof. Otherwise, solid.

    • 0 avatar
      KevinC

      Interesting comment about smooth shifting difficulty with 6MT. My ’16 R 6MT has no such issue – I literally cannot tell the difference in any of the driving experience whether AC is on or off.

  • avatar
    Raevoxx

    The shuffling of trims, is what holds me back from seriously considering a GTI.

    Granted, the GTI may simply not be the right fit for me. But when an Elantra GT N-Line fully loaded with DCT, including heated AND ventilated leather seats, auto braking and adaptive cruise, for a $29K MSRP…. a 35K MSRP Autobahn GTI seems like a bit much. The interior materials are fine, if not great, for a 29K car on the Elantra. The GTI no doubt has better interior bits, but to me that only goes so far. On a non-luxury vehicle, interior materials only have a certain degree of consideration. Up to and including the leather seating surfaces themselves.

    If I could get auto-cruise, emergency braking, and vented seats and such as an option package on an SE, I’d consider it. Vented seats in particular – VW doesn’t even offer on the Golf or GTI.

    I test drove a GTI SE DSG last Summer. I liked it, but to me, the performance and handling delta between that and the Hyundai, weren’t enough to sway me away. Especially when it lacks features of an equivalent warm hatch. The DSG was smoother than Hyundais’ dry-clutch setup, but again, didn’t feel like it was enough different to sway me. Plus the overall cost of maintenance for the GTI is higher than the E-GT-N-Line.

    Even if you consider ECU flashing, you can get the 1.6T Gamma engine up around 250HP on 91, easily. You can also flash the EA888 to put down even more power regardless of DSG or row-your-own. Though in this comparison, based on displacement and transmission, the GTI or even the Golf, can go a bit further. The 6-speed Hyundais, you can push power further with bolt ons and flash… but the dry DCT hits it’s limit around 275ft-lb of twist. You may as well get the N models at that point, at which you’re now comparing same-displacement powertrains.

    For that matter, the i30 N is getting a new 8-speed wet clutch DCT, which is allegedly going to make it’s way over here as an option on the Veloster N, some time in the next year or two.

    All in all, it just doesn’t speak to me like I was always led to believe the GTI would. And in fact, as a counterpoint, I was actually MORE impressed by the now-former 1.8T Golf SE, than the GTI. I felt the standard Golf actually punched above it’s price.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      “Granted, the GTI may simply not be the right fit for me. But when an Elantra GT N-Line fully loaded with DCT, including heated AND ventilated leather seats, auto braking and adaptive cruise, for a $29K MSRP…. a 35K MSRP Autobahn GTI seems like a bit much.”

      So get a new model Jetta GLI.

      Cheaper pound for pound than the GTI, all the GTI goodness, AND ventilated seats.

      • 0 avatar
        Raevoxx

        Briefly considered, but I am in the market for a hatchback.

        When I was shopping in 2017, I settled on my Elantra sedan because I couldn’t find a hatchback that I liked in the price range I could afford at the time. While I am generally happy with it (truly. I don’t love it but I don’t dislike it. It’s fine!), the sedan form factor is a sticking point. If I had originally purchased the Sport, I probably would have been happier… but I would still be missing hatch utility.

        Now that I am in the market again, and range of affordability notably higher, I’m in it for the win this time :)

    • 0 avatar
      Damasconian

      But no one pays MSRP for a GTI. My $30K MSRP SE was purchased for $25.5 and I know I left some money on the table. The S models were selling for just over $20K. Admittedly these were 2017 models, before the updates and added warranty were part of the 2018s.

      • 0 avatar
        Raevoxx

        When it comes to price comparisons, you have to compare MSRP to MSRP. Because you never know what kind of deal you can negotiate, from there.

        I negotiated my $21k Value Edition Elantra, down to $18k, and I wasn’t in the most ideal purchasing position (dying car). 3K off 21K, without hard negotiation, is pretty decent.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Cue the haters complaining about VW reliability.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    I just bought a new ’18 GTI SE with a manual two week ago. It has both a sunroof and the cloth plaid seats, a combo that wasn’t available in 2016 and pushed me to buy a Mustang. So far I’m really enjoying it, more than the Ford. It’s much more nimble, and the sunroof and glass really make me realize how claustrophobic modern muscle cars have become. Obviously not as powerful, but I rarely had the opportunity to use the 5.0, and when I did I was instantly at speeds that put my license at risk.

    Oddly, VW decided to go back to the standard leather seats for the SE for 2019, after only one year of making cloth seats available in the GTI. That’s what made me decide it was now or never, since I’d wanted a GTI for some time. There were still quite a few ’18s left on local dealer lots, despite the ’19s having been out for months. Even the full color palette was still available, though some dealers were more willing to deal than others. I didn’t end up with my top color choice, but it was a $2,800 difference between what the two dealers were offering. Not sure why “document fees” have to be $500 higher in Virginia than in Maryland, but it doesn’t help those Virginia dealers make a sale.

    The only real thing that would have tempted me into a 2019 SE was the optional package of the Fender stereo upgrade and the adaptive shocks. But mandatory leather was a no-go. For some reason, the Fender stereo wasn’t an option on the 2018 model, though it had been standard in previous years. The base stereo has been fine, in my opinion. But at the price of a ’19 SE, I could have had an ’18 Autobahn, if it wasn’t for that leather.

    Why is it that TTAC is reviewing the 2018 model that has gotten so thin on the ground? Rather than the 2019s that are now on the lot?

    Anyway, ignore that MSRP. If you do find a leftover ’18 Autobahn, you should be able to grab it for about $27K. Incidentally, the cheapest Golf R I found cost about $14K more than what I paid for my SE. I wish the R’s color palette was available on the GTI, but the sunroof was worth more to me.

    • 0 avatar
      ijbrekke

      The Fender audio really nothing to write home about, in my opinion. The highs sound very brittle and the midrange lacks clarity and power. It’s otherwise very bass-heavy because of the sub, but overall it is not particularly balanced. It likely needs a better amp and more adjustable EQ bands.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        I’d heard it was nothing special, and the sub is kind of pointless unless you’re the type who likes sharing your bass with everyone else sitting in traffic. I actually turned the bass down a bit on my basic stereo. Good enough, so far.

      • 0 avatar
        rreichar

        I agree with you on this. I have a 2017 SE and the Fender audio is very difficult to adjust so that it sounds OK. It can be done but it shouldn’t be that difficult. My wife just bought a 2019 Tiguan SEL with the base audio. I much prefer the base sound. It is short of bass but overall sounds pretty decent.

  • avatar
    ldl20

    ‘……..but a GTI DSG is more satisfying to drive than its automatic transmission compact competitors.”

    Especially when you use the paddle shifters behind the steering wheel..it’s so easy to zip around traffic like you’re playing a video game.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Funny this review should go up the same day I listed the GTI as my “surprisingly disappointing” car. The car’s not disappointing at all – I was just surprised that the car I’d lusted after for so long wasn’t right for me anymore.

    There are other small performance cars that go quicker, handle and steer better, or cost less, but there’s no better all-around package than the GTI. It wasn’t right for me, but if it is for you, then go forth, my son, and purchase one.

    But I’ve long thought that the more expensive models just didn’t make much sense, and for ’19, that’s even truer – the more powerful engine and Golf R brakes are now standard. The problem with the Autobahn model Tim tested is price – it’s pushing 36 grand, and if you’re in for that kind of money, you might as well go all the way and pop for a Golf R (or a base Audi A3, for that matter).

    Plus, a GTI isn’t a GTI without loud cloth seats.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      Every GTI I’ve ever driven has been a disappointment, starting with a 1984 model. The reason is auto journalists. They’ve been setting GTIs up to disappoint forever. That 1984 GTI couldn’t hold a candle to my neighbor’s 1976 or 1977 fuel injected Rabbit. Certain model year MKI Sciroccos embodied more automotive truth too. It is rare to not be disappointed by a new car now, it having been so long since anyone wrote a critical review of anything other than an infotainment system.

      • 0 avatar
        stuntmonkey

        > Every GTI I’ve ever driven has been a disappointment, starting with a 1984 model.

        I had this as well. Just curious what your disappointments were with it. Mine were mostly the reliability, it wasn’t aging well at the 10 year mark,a lot of little things. Otherwise it was a blast as a first car.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          The GTI didn’t feel as light, quick or agile as the first fuel injected German-made Rabbits. The interior was a mix of black vinyl covered cardboard and blue/red felt covered cardboard. It made noise out of proportion to its production of velocity. A point to point race between a 1984 GTI and a 1981 Charger 2.2 that I witnessed looked like the GTI driver wasn’t racing, but he was. The GTI rattled similarly though. I don’t like to think about having been the worst kind of street racer between the ages of 14 and 19, but I was. The ’84 GTI was meat for everything.

      • 0 avatar
        Ol Shel

        I didn’t like my new ’91 16V. I guess I expected it to out-perform my 20-year-old (and thoroughly modded) car. It disappointed, from performance to reliability.

        I did drive a GTI Sport a few years ago, and thought it was very nice. The older, calmer me could enjoy it.

        And maybe part of my problem with VW was the fan club. Those people are nuts, and I couldn’t understand what they were so excited about.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      But we all know a GTI is going to see discounts, and a Golf R is going to sell for at least the sticker price. 2018 Autobahns were selling in my area for $10,000 less than the cheapest R’s that were available, and the SE’s like I bought (with loud cloth seats!) for even less.

      As for a base A3, I’m pretty sure that that car come with a low-revving and underpowered version of the 2.0 Miller cycle engine that is fitted to FWD cars. Not the same experience as the EA888 found in the GTI or Quattro cars.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Correct, the FWD A3 is to be avoided, but with the more powerful 2.0T and quattro, it comes in at around $36,000, and aside from nav (which you don’t really need with Android Auto, IMHO), the digital gauges, and premium sound, you’ve got pretty much everything you need.

      • 0 avatar
        BDAutobahn

        I think I can explain the pricing, as someone who works in the industry. A GTI Autobahn really makes no sense to buy new because the MSRP nudges right up against an R, so why not go full in? VW (and all car mfrs.) know this, so what they do is build a small percentage of these loaded-up models for their employees (we get ’em every 90 days). Employees love them because they are the deeeeluxe versions with all the features, etc. Then when they’re done with them, they go to auction, get bought by dealers, who then CPO them, and into the regular market they go at steeply discounted prices vs MSRP. I had a MK VI ‘S’ that I utterly loved, especially the comfy clark plaid seats. It’s why I wanted another S when moving to a MK VII. But I found a 4 mo. old CPO loaded Autobahn, 10k miles, at LESS THAN the price of a new ‘S’ model, so it made no sense to even contemplate an ‘S’ even though I’m not enamored with leather seats. My CPO is directly from VWOA too, so anything that was not w/in spec. was replaced with brand-new equipment (brakes, tires, etc.); they don’t fix, they replace. So for $26k I’ve got a car under warranty for six years. The Autobahn is significantly more upscale feeling than my former ride.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I may be like FreedMike, I test drove a GTI about 3 years ago, I wanted plaid seats and a Pano roof to replace my TDI Jetta wagon, my wagon has a beige interior and the GTI was all black and only came w black leather w the pano roof, it seemed pretty dark in there and I am sure was gonna be hot a hell in the summer, it was good to drive but I never got serious about it bc I could not get it the way I wanted, I see they at least let you get plaid one year with the roof , I guess they changed back for the 19’s. In my early 50’s maybe I missed the window to buy one but a Golf wagon is the better size for me, the GTI seemed a little small. I am sure I will test drive one again when I am looking but maybe I have aged out of a GTI.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I would have definitely bought a GTI wagon had it been available. And yes, for whatever reason, only the 2018 models had the sunroof/cloth seat combo, at least in the US. If you’re in Canada, you may have more options.

  • avatar
    Gedrven

    A good friend of mine has one (2018, I think), in a dark jade green with the plaid seats. It really does a lot of things well, not the least of which is looking good inside and out, especially for 2018 standards. The ride and road noise are merely ok, no real progress in about 20 years, but wind noise is impressively low. Reliability is an unknown, but apart from that, the looks, practicality, three pedals, and the rest make it one of the few cars that I’d remotely consider buying new.

    Tim and the rest of the staff: if you’re going to talk about performance numbers at all, remember that they’re useless without the context of weight. For the hardware, ride, and interior room, a 2018 GTI is mildly overweight, not bad – 3200lb or so.

  • avatar
    Gedrven

    A good friend of mine has one (2018, I think), in a dark jade green with the plaid seats. It really does a lot of things well, not the least of which is looking good inside and out, especially for 2018 standards. The ride and road noise are merely ok, no real progress in about 20 years, but wind noise is impressively low; at 65 my E34 is quieter, but by 90 the GTI takes the lead, sounding and feeling properly aerodynamic. On sound-n-feel esthetic grounds, I generally turn my nose up at 4-bangers, but this one’s not bad, muted and refined. Reliability is an unknown, but apart from that, the looks, practicality, three pedals, no sunroof, and most of the rest make it one of the few cars that I’d remotely consider buying new.

    Tim and the rest of the staff: if you’re going to talk about performance numbers at all, remember that they’re useless without the context of weight. For the hardware, ride, and interior room, a 2018 GTI is mildly overweight, not bad – 3200lb or so.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    I’ve owned a 2011 Mk6 GTI, 2015 Mk7 GTI, and now a 2018 Mk7.5 GTI. All black, four-door, 6spd manuals. Only the 2011 was a base model with the plaid seats (with heaters!) that brought lots of comments a coffee drive through windows or passersby, whereas the 2015 and 2018 have both been Autobahns. The first one was a revelation for how well it drove, and each subsequent car just has been a bit “more”. Also a revelation was the reliability; the 2011 and 2015 each had one unscheduled repair over the course of +/-100,000 miles before the next car arrived. Note that each new car was purchased mainly due to a new model or refresh, but I also didn’t want to tempt fate by driving a VW for much more than the 100,000 miles clocked on the 2011 or 2015. That concern has been pretty much abated over the period of owning these three cars, however. Looking forward to the debut of the Mk8 at Frankfurt this year and planning my purchase.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    The most practical Daily Driver…and possibly the most robust aftermarket community.

    It’s an amazing confluence of value and fun….

  • avatar
    @mb

    Really? Would an Auto Journalist prefer to be given a Golf GTI over a Golf R for reviewing? Anyone who lives in a snowy climate or enjoys mountains can make excellent use of AWD. On dry pavement 4Motion pushes 292 HP with infinite drama-free grip. You can tune a GTI, but will that just make it spin its front tires? Can any stock GTI do 0-60 in 4.5 seconds? The R is lowered with DCC, which provides nimble and predictable handling. Obviously an R costs significantly more than a GTI, but you also get the premium features. The author is in denial of the R.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      I’d rather have a GTI over an R because of the price difference. Even in snowy Michigan. I can go buy a GTI right now for under $25,000 out the door. The cheapest Golf R that I can find it $39,030. With MI tax and plates, that puts me at $41,500.00. I love the Golf R, buy I am buying a Mustang GT at that price. For my everyday driving, a Golf R is not worth the $15,000 over a near base GTI.

      (I have owned both a GTI and R32. My next vehicle may be an Alltrack. I have driven both the current Golf R and GTI quite a bit. I have a 2018 GTI review/first drive on TTAC as well.)

  • avatar
    thekevinmonster

    I had a MK6 GTI (stick shift, base model) – a 2012. I traded it extremely early, mostly because… well, the reason was stupid because it was a stupid thing to do.

    Come time to turn in my subsequently-leased Prius C (see above stupid reason), and I decided to test drive a 2018 GTI Autobahn with a DSG.

    I bought a Civic Hatch instead, with a CVT. I also test drove an Elantra Sport with a DCT.

    Why did I go with the Civic? Because it was nice enough, cheaper, and not nearly as smashy on the road. I live in Southeast Michigan. Those 19″ wheels and rubber-band tires on the GTI were just impossibly smashy. (the 18s on the elantra were just as bad.) I just couldn’t bring myself to buy something that uncomfortable for ‘sportiness’ again. Heck, I’m going to probably minus-size my non-winter rims on my civic to get some more sidewall.

    • 0 avatar
      syncro87

      The Civic hatch is a surprisingly good car, even with the CVT. Get yourself a set of stock alloys from the LX model and you’ll be good to go. You’ll be pleased with how much the ride quality is improved.

  • avatar
    aajax

    The new Corolla XSE (barely warm) hatch looks like a good sophisticated hatch and has all the safety goodies plus ACC standard.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    No problems in 30k is nice. It’s when the car is out of warranty when you find out how reliable it is.

    It’s bad enough to have problems that are annoying or expensive or both, but in a way it’s worse when they are on a car you like, than some mundane wheels like a Dodge Avenger.

    What’s interesting is all the commentary generated by the VW GTI–lots of interest here online, but their sales are not lighting the world on fire.

    By comparison, when I was 20, I sense there were a lot more Rabbit GTIs sold.

    And that’s the problem. There are not enough people like us to generate enough sales. And this feeds the cycle of fewer enthusiast cars.

    So, when you save for 6 years to be able to afford to buy a BMW 3 and pay it off in 36 months, it’s disappointing when you discover that you can only get it with an automatic. So much for the ultimate driving machine…

    Still, I think the GTI with a manual trans is the best overall car for sale in the US.

  • avatar
    MorrisGray

    Is anyone using regular 87 octane in the GTI ? As stated it only requires 87 octane but to achieve the 228hp/258torque ratings, premium fuel 91+ must be used.
    …… Just curious

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