Volkswagen Golf GTI hatchback (2013-2020) - Interior & comfort
The VW Golf GTI offers a great blend of comfort and driving fun
Considering it’s a performance-focused hatchback, the Golf GTI does a great job of combining a comfortable ride with fun handling. Occupants are well cushioned over bumpy roads, yet there’s hardly any body lean in tight corners. This makes the Golf a great long-distance cruiser, yet also tremendous fun when you’re in the right mood. The front seats are well bolstered, too, so a comfortable ride is almost guaranteed.
Volkswagen Golf GTI dashboard
Just like the standard Golf – or any Volkswagen for that matter – the Golf GTI’s dashboard is very well made. The plastics used are solid and of good quality and the switchgear feels good to touch. There are metal inserts in the steering wheel and around the gearlever, which further adds to the appeal. The dashboard buttons are cleanly and logically laid-out and the instrument cluster is now an electronic display that can be configured to show the information you prefer.
Outside, the GTI is set apart from lesser Golfs by its standard 18-inch alloy wheels, a deeper front spoiler and tastefully subtle red detailing. Inside, though, its GTI status is more prominently celebrated, with tartan-style upholstery harking back to the original Golf GTI (leather is available as an option), red stitching on the steering wheel and seats, a leather-finished gearlever gaiter and a trademark ‘golf ball’ gearknob. Standard features include Bluetooth phone connectivity, DAB digital radio, climate control and adaptive cruise control, along with full LED headlamps. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard.
The TCR model comes with a model-specific 18-inch alloy wheel design, reshaped bumpers, matte black door mirrors, TCR sports seats, a leather-trimmed steering wheeel, Alcantara touches round the cabin and an Akrapovic sports exhaust.
The Golf GTI features the same infotainment as the rest of Volkswagen range. It’s a well designed setup that’s logically laid out and easy to operate. While there are flashier-looking systems out there, the Golf GTI’s works quickly and with minimal fuss, leaving you to concentrate on driving.
The central eight-inch touchscreen has a matte finish, so bright sunlight does little to obscure the display. The screen is also flanked by a number of physical buttons and a control wheel, making switching between functions and scrolling through lists impressively simple. Inputting addresses into the sat nav is also a breeze, and once on the move the voice guidance provides just the right amount of direction. You’re not left wondering when to make the next turn, nor are you bombarded by superfluous prompts. It also includes the Active Info digital instrument cluster, which is Volkswagen’s version of the Audi’s Virtual Cockpit display.
Options on GTI and models include larger 19-inch alloy wheels and Dynamic Chassis Control, but we'd struggle to recommend shelling out for either of these.
The 9.2-inch Discover Pro navigation system is worth considering, however, bringing a huge range of online connectivity features and a really sophisticated presentation. The jury is still out, though, on its ‘gesture control’ system, whereby features can be activated by specific hand movements. We found it rather hit-and-miss to use and would prefer a few more physical buttons for fuss-free operation. At over £1,300, it’s not cheap, either. A panoramic sunroof is £1,050.