2010 Volkswagen GTI Long-Term Road Test

2010 VW GTI: I Don't Care What JKav Says

August 06, 2010

vw gti rear bergamot station.jpg

Coming off my Face-Off World Cup win, I'm in a feisty mood and with all due respect to our engineering editor, the right honorable Jay Kavanagh, I don't care what he says about the GTI.

Barring a massive infusion of cash allowing me to buy an XJ Supercharged, the VW GTI is the new car I'd go out and buy with my own money. The reasons hence ...

When the hell am I driving above "6/10ths"? Occasionally when I venture through a canyon, but more importantly, my 6/10ths is a whole heck of a lot lower than 24 Hours of LeMons superstar driver Mr. Kavanagh and our hot-shoe track driver Mr. Josh Jacquot. In fact, my 6/10ths is about their 2/10ths, while their 6/10ths is me wetting myself and recollecting the contents of my life. And that's me, who I'll not so humbly admit is actually a pretty good driver.

For most people, the GTI adds just the right amount of spice and involvement without taking away from the sublime seats, the perfect driving position, the massive visibility, the impressively large back seat, the beautiful interior (that makes the new Jetta feel like it's intended for Brazil), the well-balanced ride and the fact it doesn't wrench the wheel out of my hands at almost every opportunity.

Are the all-seasons crap? Yes. Are the track numbers not as good as others? Yes. Should the traction control be fully defeatable? Absolutely, but I haven't experienced it with the frequency of others (though I'm pretty sure I don't drive as nutty as they do). Is it as much of a riot as a Mazdaspeed 3? No. Is someone likely to bring a stock GTI to a track? No, but then I don't really want to drive a car that would be good for a track. I believe that a hot hatch should be a hatchback that is hotter than its base version, not a hot car that happens to be a hatch. The GTI is one, the Mazdaspeed 3 is the other.

I equate the GTI to being a budget entry-level sport sedan. An A4 or 3 Series aren't track cars, but they in fact add some spice to their sophistication.

I love the GTI and I don't care what JKav says.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 10,707 miles

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2010 Volkswagen GTI in NJ is:

$242 per month*
* Explanation