The Volkswagen Golf GTI is a genuine hot hatchback. It has been around since 1974, when the first generation was born, named Mk1. Seemingly, the GTI ended up evolving through a series of generations born after it.
The reputation built around the now iconic GTI is quite astonishing, starting from being a track day champion to a great all-rounder family hatchback. It is uncanny to think of how right VW’s recipe is for its Golf GTI.
Last year, VW released the newest generation of the GTI, known as the Mk8. Undeniably, it is the fastest, most comfortable, and most sophisticated GTI ever made. However, the model currently on sale in the US market is still the facelifted Mk7, which is not a worse car by any means.
With both the Mk7 and Mk8 being some of the best hot hatches around, we consider them closely related. Hence, here are 5 reasons why you should get the Volkswagen Golf GTI.
1. A Total Sleeper
With only small details to distinguish it from a regular Golf from the outside, you would not expect this car to smoke you off the red lights. But you’ll learn soon enough that you’re mistaken. Even with the Mk7 GTI, the 7 years old car surely goes faster than it has aged.
Powering it is a no-slouch 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine that puts out 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. It goes from 0-60 mph in just under 6 seconds; keep flooring the pedal, and it will hit the limiter at 155 mph in an instant.
Better yet, the newer Mk8 will have the same engine, albeit producing 13 more horses and 15 more pounds of torque. So, unless your Civic is a Type-R, we suggest not challenging a GTI for a mini traffic light drag race.
2. Spacious and Practical
The GTI carries the same practical traits as the regular Golf since it’s based on the same car. Hence, it’s still a very spacious and useful hatchback. The GTI carries 5 people comfortably. Its boxy design and decently long wheelbase also mean the second-row passenger would not feel any lack of space nor claustrophobic.
The same story goes with the cargo space, whereby both the large volume and large opening are welcoming. The rear seats do fold to create a deep flat floor, in which you may be able to fit a single-sized mattress with its 54 cubic feet of maximum cargo space—one of the largest in its class.
Not to forget, small storages in the interior are plenty and easy to find, and the door opening is huge that it is easy to fit in a child seat when necessary.
3. Superb Handling
Although adopting an FWD configuration, the GTI has outstanding handling. As standard, the GTI comes with a clever limited-slip differential which makes nailing a corner a piece of cake. This system shines especially in the rain, where the grip is maintained on the slippery surface. Moreover, the steering is sharp and agile, and the braking is firm and progressive.
Additionally, you can go with a 6-speed manual, but we suggest going for the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, which provides nimble gear changes and suits the GTI’s characteristics more. As the party piece of the GTI, its handling is what you want to feel on a fun and twisty road.
4. Fairly Economical
Hot hatchback enthusiasts may not care about this aspect at all, but in the context of a great all-rounder, it might be essential.
With normal usage, you could easily reach 25 MPG/city and 33 mpg/highway with the Mk7. Its fairly economical figures are complemented by a decent fuel capacity of 13.2-gallon and an expected range of 370 miles. In fact, the GTI is one of the most fuel-efficient hot hatches on the market.
5. Great Value for Money
The currently on sale Mk7 GTI has a starting price of $28,695, while the upcoming Mk8 is should start from roughly $30,000. Both are a bargain, considering that they cost less than a base hybrid model of the Honda CR-V.
The GTI is also the least expensive when compared to its close competition, like the Honda Civic Type R or Hyundai Veloster N. Taking into account the price you pay with the technology, performance, practicality, and heritage you get, the GTI seems to carry an excellent value for its buyers.
The criteria of a great all-rounder family car usually include great performance, practicality, ride quality, and good economy, and the GTI seems to tick those boxes and added fun-to-drive to the list. If you are in the market for a practical family car with an intriguing performance and have top-level crossover money to burn, the GTI is worth the peek.
As we mentioned in the intro, the Mk8 GTI is not yet on sale in the U.S. and has only been selling in the European market. Confirmed by VW’s product manager, the Mk8 GTI won’t arrive in North America sooner than the third quarter of 2021. Even so, it will be a 2022 model-year car.
With that said, if you like the Mk7’s design more than the Mk8, this is your chance to get the last of the breed ones. On top of that, VW’s above standard 4 years/50,000 miles warranty program and two years of free maintenance follow the purchase of this car, making it almost a no-brainer.