The front-wheel-drive GTI’s endlessly entertaining nature starts under the hood with a 241-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. My test vehicle’s engine came mated to a slick six-speed manual transmission (a seven-speed automatic is also available). A sport-tuned adaptive suspension delivers a just-right balance of handling and ride quality, precise steering and strong brakes.
Even better, the Golf GTI’s four-door hatchback layout is eminently practical. Front seats are supportive, and there’s enough room in back for a couple of adults. Folding the rear seatbacks down opens up 34.5 cubic feet of cargo space.
Add a long list of standard advanced safety features, and you have a car that gives keeping a low profile a good name.
- Powerful engine
- Practical body style
- Maddening touch-sensitive controls for infotainment/climate
- Some interior materials look low-budget.
- Two words you don’t often hear in the same sentence: fun and practical
- Base Price: $28,545
- As Tested: $37,995
- NHTSA/Overall: Not yet tested.
- 24/34 (FWD)