The Volkswagen GTI doesn’t require a lot of an introduction. The O.G. scorching hatch has been an automotive icon for nearly 50 years. It’s the benchmark for cheap sporty vehicles. Rivals should present a solution to a easy query: why would you purchase this as a substitute of a GTI? Pretty usually — even now, eight years into the Mk7-generation’s mannequin run — it’s a troublesome query to wrangle with. The GTI is sort of preternaturally excellent.
It’s not significantly highly effective, what with its 228 horsepower. Its 6.5-second 0-60 mph acceleration time gained’t drop anybody’s jaw. However concentrating on specs misses the purpose: the GTI excels at driving refinement and delight. It handles corners with precision and responsiveness that may compete with absolutely anything that’s road-legal. You should spend considerably greater than the GTI’s beginning value of $28,595 to search out comparable driving dynamics..and even then, the sensible, 30-mpg-plus GTI often is the automotive you’d need to drive day-after-day.
It’s the automotive I need to drive day-after-day, at the very least. The GTI is my dream automotive. Not the unobtainable dream the place I’m dropping mad money on each Porsche 911 that pops up on Carry a Trailer, however the attainable one. I might hypothetically afford a GTI now, significantly with the Zero p.c financing deal VW has on supply.
So, to see if I might preserve the dream alive, I needed to search out out whether or not a GTI might work as a dad automotive. I’ve one small little one and a second on the way in which; downsizing from a wagon to a hatch can be a troublesome promote. VW loaned me an Autobahn-trim GTI with a six-speed handbook for per week to search out out if I might make it work.
The GTI can enhance on perfection, however not by a lot
There’s a shadow hanging over the Mk7 GTI: VW simply revealed the brand new Mk8 model. It ought to arrive stateside in late 2021, packing a bit extra oomph — a further 13 hp and 15 lb-ft of torque — from its turbocharged 2.0-liter. However the superficiality of the enhancements highlights how there isn’t a lot incorrect with the Mk7. The minor tweaks VW is making for the eighth-gen model look like largely aesthetic.
A harsh critic would possibly level out the present GTI seems a bit bland; the Mk8 receives sharper strains, for a extra aggressive feeling exterior. The GTI inside feels a tad busy and dated; the Mk8 provides a digital instrument cluster, has fewer knobs and analog buttons, and streamlines the air vents. These adjustments, plus some suspension tuning tweaks, are about it.
I perceive why so many GTI drivers get rushing tickets.
The GTI ranked within the high 5 vehicles for autos whose drivers are most certainly to have a rushing ticket. A few of that boils right down to, properly, the kind of people that purchase purist handbook sports activities vehicles most likely need to get pleasure from them. However, after driving one for per week, I believe a few different components could also be contributing to that.
Driving a GTI felt extra conspicuous than I anticipated. (My tester being painted Twister Pink most likely didn’t assist.) I didn’t have any encounters with legislation enforcement, however different drivers and pedestrians seemed to be giving me a wider berth. I appeared to be inflicting Audis and Ford Focuses in my basic neighborhood to rev larger than standard, and the third Hemi-powered Dodge Charger that handed me on the correct on a freeway going 95 mph urged it wasn’t a coincidence. The GTI isn’t a normcore murderer. It’s a automotive individuals discover.
The GTI additionally entices you to drive sooner than standard. Some vehicles shock you with their uncooked energy; with the GTI, it’s the sheer quantity of management you could have. It’s a fine-tuned beast for tackling the conventional roads you drive on. Switching to Sport mode requires one contact of a well-lit, simply accessible button. Having somewhat enjoyable is difficult to withstand. And “the person” wanting you to decelerate to 35 mph for that mundane S curve feels unreasonable.
The GTI got here very near working as my dad automotive.
The GTI was extra sensible within the day-to-day than I anticipated. I took my son for rides — pink “race vehicles” are his favourite — and that was simple to handle with 4 doorways. I had no bother getting him or his automotive seat out and in; actually, there was room for 2 vehicles seats again there. I largely needed to think about what routine errands would seem like, seeing as how we have been nonetheless underneath lockdown…however I don’t make many journeys to House Depot anyway, so it appeared manageable.
My spouse was extra amenable to an eventual GTI buy — sometime — than I anticipated. Shopping for a sub-$30,000 hatchback isn’t blowing the children’ school fund on an air-cooled 911. The first level of rivalry wasn’t dimension, actually. It was that, since I’m testing vehicles usually, I’ve used my “every day driver” for a few week and a half since Thanksgiving.
However I made it by the week with the dream nonetheless alive. Then I did one daft factor: proper earlier than I needed to hand the GTI over, I obtained curious, and tried to suit my son’s behemoth Nuna all-terrain stroller into the trunk. Laid flat, it happened an inch from becoming. Yeah, I might have eliminated the cargo cowl and put the stroller in horizontally (or, y’know, purchased a brand new stroller). However the very last thing you need as a dad or mum is added trouble. My dream could have to attend.
Worth as Examined: $37,415
Drivetrain: Turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four, 6-speed handbook, front-wheel-drive
Energy: 228 hp, 258 lb-ft
Gasoline Financial system: 24 metropolis, 32 freeway
Volkswagen offered this product for overview.
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