Description: 2010 saw the introduction of the sixth generation GTI that delivered a slick combination of sports car-like precision and tuned driving excitement in a multi-purpose hatchback design.
Power mill of the VW GTI is a 2.0L 16-valve DOHC turbocharged and intercooled 4-cylinder engine with FSI direct fuel injection that produces 200 HP at 5,700 rpm and 207 lbs.-ft. of torque from 1,800 all the way to 5,000 rpm. With the standard 6-speed manual transmission, the GTI reaches 0-60 in 6.8 seconds. EPA estimates rate fuel economy at 31 mpg on the highway and 21 mpg for city driving.
The GTI is available with an optional automatic Direct-Shift Gearbox® transmission which gets it to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds from a standstill. The 2010 GTI’s fuel economy is improved when equipped with the DSG transmission, which ranks an EPA-estimated 33 mpg in highway driving, and 24 mpg in city driving.
Value. while it is not cheap, it delivers a lot of the money
Mileage is impressive when driven conservatively
Terrific DSG transmission. It is fuel efficient and responsive
Styling is thoroughly refined and modern yet it carries on the Golf lineage
Dynaudio stereo system is A+
Driveability and fun factor is sky high
Can be outgunned in a horsepower fight
Heavy, unattractive and dated wheels
Bluetooth needs voice dial
iPod integration needs to be quicker, especially when there is a big song library
Ruling: Though lacking in raw horsepower and the electronics integration is sub par, the VW GTI still gets 5 stars. It leads the hot hatchback category and delivers a driving experience that is the perfect balance of utility and performance.
Weaknesses: Suspension may be a hair too soft. Maybe a little more turbo boost.
Summary: This is my third VW I starterd out with a Scirocco in 1983 and bought the 16v GTI when it came out in 1988. After a few years of bouncing around in Japanese cars with no soul ,I stumbled across my MkIV at the dealership and did a test drive . WOW! I remembered my old 16v with fondness , but this one had way more power and the interior was set up just right .In short someone at VW got all of the shortcomings of the older versions fixed. I love this body style so I will be in no hurry to go after the new MkV which in my opinion is too round , but I guess we will get used to it. So far only one mechanical problem , a squeaky rear shock that was replaced under warranty .
Strengths: Torque; speed; agility; overall balance of small luxury sedan and quickness; gorgeous quality interior; FWD in snow; gorgeous 24V VR6 engine 'note' when accelerating; reliability thus far.
Weaknesses: Not as aggressive looking as a GTI should be for this model year; pricey; not as lowered as body should be.
Summary: This is my 3rd VW since 1983, having previously owned GTI's and plain Golf's. I purchased my 24V VR6 GTI fully loaded, with black leather interior, and it has been a dream to own! I've had the car since October 2002 (as a daily driver), and have had NO problems with it whatsoever. NONE! The 24V VR6 engine pulls like the dickens, with gobs of usable torque, and it drives as smoothly as a more expensive German sedan. I truly feel like I have 'the best of both worlds' with this car (luxury and sports), given it's quickness, agility, and luxurious, well-appointed interior. I change the oil only once a year with full synthetic. The interior is expensive looking and gorgeous, with fit and finish that rivals Audi, BMW, and Benz. The red on blue instrumentation comes alive at night, looking like a jet fighter cockpit. Without question, the 24V VR6 incarnation of the legendary GTI was one of the best ever, if you value quality, and a good balance of luxury and speed. The car itself will hit 60 MPH from a standstill in 6.5 seconds. It will also pull hard in most gears, requiring less overall shifting, and better gear useability, given it's excellent torque characteristics. Overall, this is one of the best cars I, or my family has ever owned. It is as reliable as a Japanese car, and even more fun to drive. It puts a grin on my face every time I turn the ignition key, given it's 'fun factor' and reliability. I realize that certain model year GTI's have been plagued with problems, but my 24V has been bulletproof. 'Knock on wood', as they say. I plan on keeping this car well past 100K miles. All in all, a GREAT car and car owning experience!
Strengths: Transmission. The 6 spd. is to die for. Drive one with, then one without and you'll have made up your mind. It is nearly flawless and if I had to pick one issue, it would be a slightly (and this is really nitpicking) unusual clutch release. The actuation is quite a bit lower on the pedal that what you may be used to (at least initially).
Usable performance. The car delivers when power is needed and can be entertainingly quick when called upon. It pulls well from all gears and actually has quite usable brakes as well. Quite a bit more body-roll than I'd like, but the ride is pleasant, and that's going to be a trade-off. Shod with thin-profile Michelin Pilots, even with the 17" rims the car does very well in every department and is a nice compromise.
Styling. Understated and quite pure. I am really disappointed in the exterior styling of the new gen vehicles. The Jetta is disgusting and from what I have seen, the new Golf/GTI isn't much better. With factory 17" rims and dual exhaust tips, the Mk4 car has the appearance of a fantastic little street machine. I can't help but wonder what it would look like with mild, integrated fender flares... but that's just my Porsche affinity coming out. Nobody does flares like Porsche.
Resale. GTIs seem to do quite well in the used vehicle market. Even today, Gen III VR6 GTIs command quite a premium. That's at least a little reassuring.
Accessories and layout. Little details, the rain-sensing wipers for example, that work very well (the wipers themselves are also extremely effective). The control layout is very practical and the seams of various materials throughout the interior mate quite well.
Seats. Supportive and effective with fairly nice leather. I was surprised that the leather was equal in quality to that of every BMW I've ever sampled. That was pretty impressive. The front seats also feature easy (and clever) manual adjustments and provide easy access to the rear seats.
Weaknesses: Insurance. Quite expensive, even through one of the best companies in the industry - USAA. Believe it or not, more expensive than the 330 we almost went after.
Occasional rattles. Again, a minor annoyance and not serious.
Monsoon Stereo. I am certain that enough people have complained about this one already and my remarks would be redundant. Certainly not a fitting system for this vehicle on many different levels.
Cruise control. Can be finicky and takes a little while to adjust to at first.
Cup-holders. Being really anal now - but the holders significantly block access to the stereo controls. This is really reaching, however.
Summary: My wife and I bought our GTI after a prolonged debate between it and a 2002 BMW 330CI. In the end, the GTI offered a very similar feel and performance for 10k less. The choice made itself.
We've put roughly 10k miles on the car, and it has been an enjoyable little machine. We considered buying new, but with the advent of the MK V vehicles coming out next year, decided to hedge our bet and go with a certified pre-owned. As it turned out, we also got the balance of the factory warranty (car had ~27k) and so wound up with quite a bit of service coverage. We were lucky in that we found exactly the car we wanted with every available option.
This brings up a few important points.
Most notably, the behavior of each of these vehicles changes drastically with different options. The 6 spd/VR6 arrangement with optional wheels, climate control, full leather and seat-warmers is an entirely different beast than, say a 1.8T with a 5spd, basic climate control and few options. It is, quite literally, night and day between differently optioned cars so remember this and act accordingly in your search. You'd be better off driving one of each and deciding which one fits you (and your budget if that's the case).
This having been said, I would not have settled for anything less than the 6 spd./VR6 package. This is probably the most potent combo that VW has ever offered on any model (limited and SE models, i.e. the R32 excluded). The current 2.8L iteration of the VR6 is a wonderful engine, capable of lugging down in any gear and accelerating away smartly. It produces a wonderful, dare I say it - exotic tone at high RPMs, and it revs willingly. The true strength of the vehicle however, is the 6spd. I was worried it would be toy-like (Miata, S2K, etc..) but in reality the shifting mechanism itself is nearly flawless. Some will complain about the length of the throws; they are perfect for me. When I am performance driving, the shifting action had better not feel like a fisher-price playset and this car delivers. This includes shifting in -20 deg. temps - absolutely effortless. VW really has the 6 spd. nailed down.
As for performance, the car is "nice." It is not, say, a 944 Turbo or a WS6. Too many kids today with Hyundai Tiburons and Civic SIs think that a 7 second 0-60 makes a car quick; this vehicle is entertaining, but a performance car it is not. That goes for the 1.8Ts as well.
While I'm talking about the 1.8Ts, it is important to note that we avoided them on purpose. This is not an easy thing to do - they are literally everywhere. That having been said, our Porsche mechanic (with 35 years experience) warned me against buying a 1.8T based on the experiences of his friend, a shop-chief at a dealer in Chicago. I would avoid them like the plague... and besides, the VR6, despite its premium in price, is the engine to have as a daily-driver. It's 20 HP up on the 1.8 and delivers gobs more TQ when it counts. If you're modifying the car, then I suppose the 1.8T is the better choice, but we bought this car as a daily-driver and I am reviewing it accordingly. But, I digress. The fact remains - NA power is the heritage of the GTI and the VR6 is a worthy successor to the 16V fours of the heady GTI days of old.
As far as mait. issues, roughly a month after buying the car I noticed a drop of coolant on some freshly fallen snow. When I took the vehicle into the dealership (White-Allen in Dayton) they determined that the radiator was defective. During the inspection, they also noticed a weaping seal. Long story short, I received a new radiator, new headgasket and a 30k service, completely free. I wasn't complaining.
I've since put another 5k on the vehicle over several months and have not had any more issues. I can tell you, initially I was rather upset - but, I was supplied with a free loaner (A base-model Jetta - like flying a Cessna 172 after piloting a Learjet) and the job was finished in LESS than 24 hours. Needless to say, I wasn't exactly concerned after the ordeal was complete. Thus far, I am the only person I know of to have had these issues.
The craftsmanship of the vehicle is very nice. I've been really happy that VW has avoided the tacky faux-wood/carbon-fiber trend that has infected the mainstream automobile industry. The fit and finish is very nice, nearly on par with BMW (but not quite) and the vehicle is extremely solid (your ears will pop when rolling down the windows). We've been particularly pleased with these aspects of the car.
Similar Products Used: 924/944/968 series cars - the most balanced series of sports cars ever produced.
E36/46 BMWs - Will probably replace this GTI with a new gen M3 when they come out. Very nice cars.
A2 VWs - fun little cars, getting to the point now where they will nickel and dime you to death.
Other performance-oriented cars - Miatas, Mustangs, etc.
Weaknesses: -No option for the trip computer that the VR6 has
-Stereo needs more baaase
-Cruise controls/ stereo volume should ov been placed on the steering wheel but.. O' well 98 out of 100 aint badd
Summary: I test drove the 03 VR6 back to back with the 1.8T and i didnt know which one to buy. I had to think about it for about 2 weeks but in the end I choose the 1.8T cause of...
Gas milage, Tuneability, Lighter
I never would'ov believed that driving a cage could be ALMOST as fun as tearing up the roads on my Suzuki GSXR750 bike.
I love this car. It does eveything well, handling, power, gas milage, comfort etc.etc. I bought the 03 SilverStone 1.8T with black leather, 17" wheels and the heated seats. I almost bought the 03 20th ed but decided to go with the silverstone + the 20th didnt have heated seats.
I cant put into words how much this car rocks. It feels like a 6cyl, power comes on from as low as 2000rpm and to overtake cars on the highway or street is a joke.
So far I had no problems with the car. This car brings a smile to my face everytime I drive it. The look on pep's faces when they try to catch me after the light turns green is worth every last cent that I dropped for this car. The fit n finish is bar none the best in this catagory. This car is the original rocket and puts cars that cost 1000's more to shame if opened-up. I cant believe you could trash sooo much more costly cars and spend only $26,000 Can.
Lets just say that if you LOVE driving, cornering, speed, handling or weaving in and out of traffic this is the car for you. It cuts.
Did I mention the chicks love it?