2010 Volkswagen GTI Long-Term Road Test

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: How Do You Like Me Now?

March 14, 2011

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A year ago, regular unleaded gasoline was a mere $3.07 here in the Los Angeles area. And 24.6 miles per gallon could be deemed a small price to pay for the fun of a zippy little hatchback like the Volkswagen GTI.

Today, the average price of gasoline in L.A. $3.97. As you can see from the sign above, it was even higher in West L.A., which is where I filled the GTI today. (Thank heavens it's not one of those cars that requires premium.)

So with the cost of gasoline in mind, is 24.6 mpg still acceptable for a small, albeit spirited car? If we were to get another hot hatch once we sell the GTI, should we expect better fuel economy from it?

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @ 21,560 miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: 20,000-Mile Funk

February 01, 2011

Thumbnail image for Milestone Banner.jpgVW GTI-20000k.jpg Our long-term GTI crested 20,000 miles this weekend. We've had it since March of last year and it still generally remains a staff favorite. It's a playful, responsive car that doesn't ask much, and always seems to have enough boost on tap for an open lane sprint. It also gets pretty good fuel economy, averaging about 25 MPG, and has been mechanically solid. Its only trip to the dealer was for a 10,000-mile service. But it has developed some well-documented traits and deficiencies.

One of the anchors for the cargo cover straps broke. It leaks too much wind and road noise. There's a mystery rhythmic tick somewhere behind the driver's seat.

And now, the latest: a bad case of olfactory funk. Turning on the A/C releases a sour, mildewy blast not unlike the extract of sweaty socks left to dry, bottled into a perfume mister. Curious to see what the service department makes of this one.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Road Warrrior

December 29, 2010

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I love the holidays for several reasons, gifts not being in the top 10. There are several excellent chefs in the family that love to cook for everyone. It's nice to be able to kick back without having to do much, except watch bowl games and playoffs. Thing I really dislike is all the driving.

Even though my girl and I live in LA, both of our family's live about 30 minutes apart in the SF Bay Area. That means splitting Thanksgiving, Christmas, all the family stuff in between when we're up north. Lots and lots of driving.

I had the GTI. Was the hatch up to the task?

I don't know if I can be more emphatic in saying: YES!!! I put over 1,500 miles on GTI over the Christmas+ weekend. It was a complete and utter joy to drive.

For me, it starts with the seats. I dig them. They are very comfortable. Yes the dial adjustment can be a bit of a pain for passengers, but for the driver you can fine tune in the perfect angle. I even got plenty of compliments from passengers on the seat cloth pattern. Most thought they were pretty cool.

Next is the engine. It's got power and the ability to quickly ramp up to blow past all the holiday traffic that has turned their brains off cruzing under the speed limit in the fast lane. Around town, it had all the power you'd want to enter freeways, have a little fun at the stop light and whatever else you want. I just wished it wasn't so muffled under the all the sound deadening. A little growl from the tiger under the hood is a nice touch for me.

The most important factor to me, however, was the ride. I know some folks on staff thought this to be not a true sport hatch suspension and was too soft. Well, ok, it isn't a true race tune. But after two 390 mile runs on the interstate, I appreciated not being kicked in the kidneys for every crack and crevasse I rolled over. It was super comfortable. I think it's a good compromise between the spectrums of all out sport and all out living.

Lastly, it actually gets pretty good fuel mileage! Great for all the driving I had to do over the holiday weekend. I was averaging 27.8 mpg. That's a very impressive figure to me for such such a sporty hatchback.

The more I drive the GTI, the more I love it. It's a great balance of sport and everyday driving to make you a very happy owner.

Scott Jacobs @ 18,982 miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Nicely Balanced

November 05, 2010

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As Brent recently noted, in nearly 16,000 miles of driving, our GTI is averaging 24.6 mpg and on a long freeway run, 33 mpg is attainable. This is doubly impressive to me. One, our average pretty much matches the EPA combined rating of 25 mpg -- no mean feat considering that the GTI has to contend with L.A.'s worst-in-the-nation traffic and a staff whose addiction to boost is second only to mine for chocolate. Secondly, the GTI can scoot from 0-to-60 in 7 seconds flat and run the quarter in 15 flat. That's respectable performance for a roomy car that averages 25 mpg in tough conditions.

But as others have noted, the engine's personality transcends mere spec chart numbers -- the little workhorse provides a broad, traffic-friendly power band that's accompanied by one of the best engine notes I've ever heard from an inline four. Who says you can't have your strudel and eat it too?

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 15,685 miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Easy To Get Good MPG

November 04, 2010

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A couple days ago I managed to get the GTI's best fuel economy so far: 33.5 mpg. It was on a drive of about 230 miles of almost all highway. The pictured trip computer's readout was optimistic, as trip computers typically are.

Admittedly, I did have fuel economy in mind when I made the drive; I wanted to see if I could beat the previous best (which I also set) of 30.7 mpg. But I didn't go to extreme measures, either. I simply drove at or slightly above the speed limit (mostly a 70-mph limit on the route), used a lot of cruise control and didn't accelerate aggressively.

This isn't to say the GTI is somehow special. Its overall average is 24.6 mpg, which is right in-line with the EPA 25 mpg combined (and EPA combined is what we typically get out of our long-term cars). But it's nice to see an immediate result from just a little effort at better fuel economy.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Got Range

October 19, 2010

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367.9 miles to a tank with 5 miles showing on the DTE calculator. 367.9! This wasn't hypermiling and while it was a lot of highway driving, this wasn't a highway exclusive trip. And when I was on the highway, I wasn't loafing about. I changed gears, I passed people and the AC was on.

Not only is this number good on its own -- I'm a range guy, I hate filling up -- but it absolutely smacks the smile off of any mile-marker I've got on our 2009 Mazdaspeed3. It's even better than any non-Mazdaspeed Mazda3 I've ever driven. In fact, I don't think I've ever broken 300 miles on a 3.

So the 3 has a smaller tank, right? Nope. Our 2010 VW GTI rocks a 14.5 gallon fuel tank while the Mazdaspeed 3 has a 15.9 gallon one. EPA fuel economy estimates the 3 at 18/25 (21 combined) and the GTI at 21/31 (25 combined).

This is the kind of thing that would make-or-break a car purchase for me. The GTI keeps scoring more points this week.

Mike Magrath, Associate Editor @ 14,827 miles

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: My Favorite Road Trip Car

August 23, 2010

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I took our VW GTI to San Francisco for a getaway over the weekend. And I have to say, the GTI is my favorite long-term car for road trips. It was ideal for San Francisco -- sporty to look at and drive, a peppy turbo-4 for squirting through traffic, easy to park, plenty of suspension compliance for SF's rough roads, reasonably quiet on the freeway, 30 mpg fuel economy, and an ideal size for two people and a weekend's worth of stuff.

True, it's not flawless. Like Erin mentioned a while back, there's an annoying wind leak from the B-pillar, and the car could really use GTI camp.

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2010 Volkswagen GTI: Following The Upshift Indicator

May 18, 2010

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GTI! Right on! Shifts at redline at every opportunity! Burnout! Or not, if you heed the advice of Volkswagen. If you're driving a manual-equipped 2010 GTI and you follow the shift indicator, you'll be in top (sixth) gear by -- ahem -- 38 mph. Obviously, VW is going for maximize fuel economy here with shifts at about 2,000 rpm. Thankfully, there's plenty of torque at low rpm from the direct-injected turbo-4. No boggy turbo lag here.

I've got a video of the upshift indicator in action on our long-term car.

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

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

$142 per month*
* Explanation
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