Review

Volkswagen Golf GTI hatchback

Price  £27,135 - £29,570

Volkswagen Golf GTI hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Massively desirable
  • The original hot hatchback
  • Good balance between usability and performance
Cons
  • Pricey compared to rivals
  • Many competitors are faster
  • Not the most exciting car in the class to drive

At a glance

The greenest
GTI 2.0 220PS TSI BMT 3dr £27,435
The cheapest
GTI 2.0 220PS TSI BMT 3dr £27,435
The fastest
GTI 2.0 220PS TSI BMT 3dr £27,435
Top of the range
GTI 2.0 220PS TSI DSG6 BMT 5dr £29,870

“The Volkswagen Golf GTI is an iconic hot hatchback, combining performance with ease-of-use brilliantly. Some rivals are faster and more exciting, though.”

When the Volkswagen Golf GTI was first launched in the mid-seventies, it was the first in what has since become a crowded ‘hot hatchback’ market. That's because other manufacturers followed Volkswagen's lead on the back of the GTI's success, so that the current GTI model has cars such as the Ford Focus ST and Vauxhall Astra VXR to contend with. The cars may look different but they all aim to bring sporty handling and serious pace to the standard family hatchbacks on which they’re based.

The Golf GTI may face more competition than ever before but it is still one of the best in its class. The latest version is the most accomplished GTI model ever, blending the everyday usability of the standard Golf with more power and sportier driving dynamics.

The GTI wears 18-inch alloy wheels, beefier bumpers and a red line across the front grille to set it apart from the standard Golf range. Interior changes include tartan GTI seats, a sports steering wheel and the iconic ‘golf ball’ gearknob. High-quality materials are used throughout the cabin.

All Golf GTI models use the same 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine. It's available in three different forms; the standard GTI produces 217bhp, an optional Performance Pack pushes that to 227bhp, while a special GTI Clubsport version has had its engine tweaked so that it's capable of 286bhp. The standard GTI can get from 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds, while the same car with the Performance Pack takes 6.3 seconds, and the Clubsport does it in 5.9 seconds.

Despite the power and responsive nature of the GTI's engine, it's still relatively efficient. It claims an official economy figure of 47mpg with a six-speed manual gearbox, with the DSG automatic returning a slightly less impressive figure of 43mpg. Not many of the GTI's rivals are capable of these figures.

Practicality hasn’t been dented by the car's extra speed compared to the standard Golf; boot size remains unchanged and the rear of the car is still big enough for three, fairly tall adults. Folding rear seats and some nice design touches dotted around the cabin mean the Golf GTI is a very easy car to live with on a daily basis.

After almost forty years, and although very different to the original, the Golf GTI is still a high-quality, enjoyable and appealing car that combines a practical hatchback form with style and performance.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.5 / 5

The VW Golf GTI is cheaper to run than its rivals

Engines, drive & performance

4.4 / 5

The VW Golf GTI isn’t as powerful as some rivals, but it’s equally quick and just as much fun

Interior & comfort

3.7 / 5

The VW Golf GTI offers a great blend of comfort and driving fun

Practicality & boot space

4.2 / 5

Increased performance doesn’t mean the VW Golf GTI has reduced practicality

Reliability & safety

3.8 / 5

The VW Golf GTI is a very dependable hot hatchback that uses plenty of proven parts

What the others say

4.5 / 5
based on 2 reviews
5 / 5
The Volkswagen Golf GTI was the original hot hatch. Now, in its seventh generation, VW has made the car quicker, comfier and, most importantly of all, more fun to drive.
4 / 5
The mk7 VW Golf GTI has more power, loads of new tech and a Performance Pack option and first impressions are very good.
What owners say 
3.8
3.8 /5 based on 5 reviews
80%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend

Owner rating:

3 star   0
2 star   0

Common problems:

Last updated 
14 Dec 2015
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