2003 Volkswagen GTI Consumer Review: WHOOOOOSHHHHH

2003 Volkswagen GTI - Consumer Review

Average Consumer Rating

173 Total Reviews

1.8T 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4-cyl. Turbo 5-speed Manual)

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By Raman Gain on


2003 Volkswagen GTI 1.8T 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5M)


The original Hot Hatchback and still the best. I drove a SVT Focus for a full day, then a single test drive of the GTI 1.8T was the answer. By far the most 'mature' in this scrappy class - am I getting too old? Is enjoying full torque at 2k RPM too mature for this class? You can't beat the 4 year warranty or fuel mileage if you drive it maturely. Performance is very good, some say best in class. Turbo boost comes on strongly at 2k RPM and is smooth until PAST redline. Brakes are initially very grabby but responsive. Gearbox hates being rushed. RECOMMENDED upgrade is new diverter valve (~$140) to reduce boost-lag during shifts.

Best Features

Oh-so-quiet and polished around town. Being able to keep it in current gear (if above 2k RPM) to just hit the gas to pass without revving the engine to the redline. German engineering mixed with a 4 year warranty. Fu*engruven, Farfignewton, whatever it is - its a catchy thing.

Worst Features

Unbelievably useless cupholders that almost totally block the radio. 5spd tranny shifts on its own schedule (not to be hurried). Upgraded Monsoon stereo is only so-so (compared to SVT Focus upgraded stereo). Insurance seems to be highest in its class (I'm 25/male).
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