2012 Volkswagen GLI 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
I was looking for a car a) Under 25k MSRP, b) Sedan c) sporty engine with a slick 6 speed d) independent suspension e) At least 30 +/- 2 MPG highway f) FWD with some form of LSD
Your options are slim - I ended up having to choose between an Si and a GLI (Focus is close). Main diff between the 2 is the engine/power band feel in day to day life - Free revving Nat Asp. Si vs. turbo 2.0T, low end torque vs. high end power. In the end, GLI has a better interior than current Si, I could not wait for re-designed Civic, which is out in the fall and VW had better financing.
If you plan to keep it for 100K, I recommend extra warranty.- Entitles you to lower APR's in some regions; check with dealer.
a) People have historically criticized VW for their looks by calling the styling bland. As a person looking for a car that did not yell out "Look at my ride with hood air scoops (or) big rear spoilers", the VW styling was just right. Majority of current designs are adhering to the "Fluidic" theme with its overly curved shape and cacophony of character lines. In the midst of all this it was nice to find the GLI with its simple yet elegant design. I like the appearance kit and I would recommend it.
b) 6 speed - I still maintain that Hondas have the best shifters in the segment but VW 6 speed is not far behind.
c) Seats - Absolutely brilliant !
d) Engine - Wide power band and good acoustics
a) Brakes - Way too soft. I initially thought that with a few hundred miles, the feel would get better. But with close to 2k miles, the overall feel, stopping power is disappointing.
b) Tires - Optional perf. tires would have been a plus. Civic Si offers it as an optional trim.
c) Re-positioned armrest - I drive over 20K/year and it is important to have a good driving posn. Current fixed arm rest is a little further behind and for someone <6', it is hard to rest your arm on it with the best seat posn.
d) Build quality - Not great! Roads I drive on are not great BUT 2 rattles after 2k miles is unacceptable !
e) Interior plastics - Gaze below the soft dash and the plastic is shocking !