I don't know who wrote the Edmunds review of the 2008 GTI but they are badly mistaken in describing the Honda Civic Si and- good gracious- the Mini Cooper S as better driving cars than the GTI. I test drove both those cars on multiple occasions along with a number of others and the GTI was by far the best vehicle in every category. The Mini Cooper in particular was disappointing- noisy, tinny sounding and rough riding. The Si has nowhere near the smooth acceleration and shifting of the GTI. It's by far the 'King of the hot hatches.'
The Volkswagen Golf GTI has always been the go-to hot hatchback to buy ever since the first version came out in 1976.
It has had numerous competitors but few have been able to match the GTIs balance between power and handling.
The GTI I am reviewing is of the Mk5 generation, with it being a 3 door 2008 model with a DSG transmission, or paddle shifters.
Overall, this is a good car because it does what it is intended to be in a high manner, which is being the best sports hatchback money can buy.
This isnt a base Toyota Yaris econo box; this car has been given tweaks over the base Golf to make it one of the best sport hatchbacks on the market.
First off, the aesthetics
With its small size and excellent handling, this car feels like a go-kart, which is a good thing.
As for the ride, this car strikes a balance between enthusiast and daily commuter.
Its definitely more harsh than youre average sedan, but its far from being a headache as you go over bumps in the road.
The thin tires on the GTI do did a remarkable job of absorbing major bumps and holes in the road, and overall the car is very quiet, with the only major sound coming from the engine and exhaust when you floor the car.
The interior is also above average, with very supportive seats and nice fit and finish along the dashboard.
Its all very well put together, unlike VWs of the past.
This car is a blast. It puts a huge smile on my face every single time I drive it. The power delivery is smooth and effortless and the engine makes a satisfying growl. The DSG is fantastic. The ride strikes a great compromise between sportiness and comfort.
This car does everything. I can drive aggressively and have a fantastic time. I can haul 5 people, or 4 comfortably. I can haul a ton of stuff. I get great gas mileage.
The interior of this car is far more refined than any of its competitors. The materials look and feel upscale. It's just a nice place to be.
For the money, this car is darn near unbeatable. It is equally good as a daily driver and a weekend toy.
DSG- smooth automatic when you're stuck in traffic, or pretend to be a race car driver on a good road
Engine- great noise, wide powerband, instant results when you put your foot down
Plaid seats- they look awesome (the seats themselves are awesome to sit in as well)
the steering wheel is a gift from the gods
18" Detroit alloys- they look great
Quiet, refined cabin
There are no compromises necessary with this car. You can haul people and stuff, safely and economically and comfortably, it's easy to park and reasonable to insure, and it is legitimately fun to drive. I can't think of any other car (certainly not one in the same price range) that does all these things so well.
The GTI needs at least 40 more HP to stay competitive against cars like the Focus ST and Mazdaspeed 3, both of which offer more power for less money. Since this can be accomplished with a simple ECU reflash, I don't see why it would be that hard.
This is car is so great even though i have had it a short time i tthe best the car i have ever had and i am really happy with it and i hope to have it for a very long time and i love the accleretion and th ehandeling best VW ever i would and it i a supprised at the gas message i get lately
You always see the cowboys with their horses riding off into whatever the next adventure may be. The horse, of course, is more than a horse...of course, of course. It is their faithful steed--a loyal companion.
That is what my GTI is--my partner of the road.
The car has gone with me from as close as the grocery store, to as far as the other side of the country. It has seen blizzard, rain, sunshine, drought, you name it.
My car does everything I would ever ask, and not once has it broken my wallet or told me "no, that's too much." The next adventure is always around the corner, or just less than 6 seconds away.
The quality feel of the thing. Looks clean and simple. Turbo-4 is great fun when you want it to be, easy and smooth when you just want to relax. Ditto with the DSG tranny. Practicality.
Could use slightly more power. DSG can be clunky at times. The exterior lips and side-skirts are made of this black plastic, looks cheap. (I had them painted to match the car.)