2017 Volkswagen Golf GTi Vehicle Review

The Volkswagen Golf GTI is still in our view a car that is not only one of the best values on the market...it is quite simply one of the best cars on the market. That's right, the Volkswagen Golf GTi, is one of THE BEST CARS AVAILABLE TODAY.

High praise? You bet, and well deserved.

The Golf began life in a form that resembles its current form. It's a hatch back. It was originally created as a car for the masses that would be affordable and practical, but the design was so good that with some adjustments, and the addition of better more powerful motors along the way, some versions became downright sporty.

The new GTi is a performance version of the Golf. The 2.0 litre, four cylinder turbo charged engine produces 210 horsepower, and lots of torque. In a car this size 210 horsepower is enough to snap you back in the seat when you put the pedal to the floor. The suspension is firm but soft enough to be comfortable around the city.

This is a car that is as much fun to drive as a lot of sports cars, and is as comfortable at many luxury cars. Our test model was the autobahn version. It came with the upgraded Fender sound system, and the iconic VW plaid seats. The arm rest in the center could be a little higher, but overall everything is laid out logically and the controls are within easy reach.

At night the ambient lighting is convenient and sporty. The rear view mirror has an auto dimming feature. The bi-xenon headlights on our test car were directional, turn to the left and the headlights turn left. Turn to the right and the headlights turn to the right. It's a nifty safety enhancement. Adjustable, adaptive cruise control also regulates your distance to other cars which is another good safety feature.

Our test car was equipped with an automatic six speed transmission, with paddle shifters. You can select regular automatic mode or sport mode with the floor mounted shifter.

Volkswagen was really a trend setter with the Golf's hatchback design. It's been that way since the 1970's. A lot of other car companies have copied the design, but Volkswagen has always managed to get it just right with the Golf. The GTi, looks sporty, and with performance to match it is not surprising that the car is known as a "hot hatch".

Pop that back hatch and you can fold down the rear seats for extra cargo space - 53 cubic feet of space to be exact. The car has the versatility of an SUV in a tighter, more responsive package. There is room for passengers and cargo, and yet the car is still a blast to drive.

It is well balanced and handles as well as a two seat sports car. The low profile tires on our test vehicle stuck to the pavement like glue. If you really step on the gas you can chirp the tires, but the bulk of the torque is transferred into forward motion which is exactly what you want. On the highway the car is responsive and if you need passing power the turbocharged engine delivers.

There is an even faster R Version of the Golf, but you will pay more. The Volkswagen Golf GTi was described to us by a Volkswagen executive as "pure". We must agree. It may well be the "purest" car the company produces. It is simple and yet makes use of the newest technologies. It is both classic and current. The design is timeless, and because it hasn't changed dramatically since its creation, you can park a Golf in your driveway for years and it won't look dated or old. It is practical yet sporty. It is luxurious yet affordable with a starting price under 30-thousand dollars. All this and it delivers an average of 28-miles-per-gallon. That's why the Golf GTi is SST approved and once again this year, highlighted, as one of the ten best cars of the year.

Rick Walker SST Car Show News.

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