Used 2013 Volkswagen GTI Hatchback Review & Ratings | Edmunds
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Used 2013 Volkswagen GTI Hatchback Review

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2013 Volkswagen GTI Hatchback

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Edmunds Summary Review of the 2013 Volkswagen GTI Hatchback

  • A Edmunds Rating
  • The 2013 Volkswagen GTI doesn't boast scorching specifications, but as a whole package -- comfort, drivability and performance -- it's one of our top picks for a sporty hatchback.

  • Pros

    Lively engine; hatchback versatility; upscale interior; compliant ride; good fuel economy

  • Cons

    Competitors are quicker and handle better; lacks adequate interior storage

  • What's New for 2013

    For 2013, the GTI outfitted with the Convenience and Sunroof package gets different wheels, but otherwise the lineup carries over unchanged.

Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2013 Volkswagen GTI Hatchback

What's New for 2013

For 2013, the GTI outfitted with the Convenience and Sunroof package gets different wheels, but otherwise the lineup carries over unchanged.

Introduction

Putting the 2013 Volkswagen GTI up on a spreadsheet against its competitors makes the venerable German hot hatch a tough sell. After all, it gets bested by its rivals in acceleration, braking and handling tests. Even its cargo volume is just midpack. All of which cause some hesitation when you consider that a well-loaded VW GTI crests the $30,000 mark.

But there's more to the GTI than numbers. Its compliant suspension soaks up bumpy city roads without sacrificing a tight, sporty character. The interior is uncommonly upscale with premium materials, classy and restrained design, supportive front seats, roomy rear quarters and a quiet, well-damped cabin with the ambience of an entry-level luxury car.

Under the hood is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 200 horsepower. That's as much as 60 hp less than the hot-hatch competition. Yet the GTI's mill still makes for a spirited drive, delivering useful power down low for swift passing maneuvers and quick bursts of acceleration. It also sounds cool, with a pleasant exhaust rumble. The turbo inline-4 pairs with a six-speed manual transmission for purists or a dual-clutch automated manual transmission to ease the pain of congested commutes.

However, there are better choices if speed and handling are your main priorities. The Mazdaspeed 3 and Subaru WRX both outgun the GTI in a straight line, while the Mini Cooper S bends more nimbly around corners. We also highly suggest considering the new Ford Focus ST as it combines impressive power with GTI-levels of refinement. But overall, the 2013 VW GTI is still more than the sum of its numbers, as it can dutifully carry you through the work week, then put a grin on your face as you find the quicker, curvier roads out of town for the weekend.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2013 Volkswagen GTI is a high-performance version of the Golf hatchback available in both two- and four-door body styles. An even higher-performance Golf -- the Golf R -- is also offered. It's reviewed separately.

There are two main trim levels: base and Autobahn. The base GTI's standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, a rear roof spoiler, foglights, heated outside mirrors, heated washer nozzles, full power accessories, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, a trip computer, air-conditioning, heated front sport seats, plaid cloth upholstery, split-folding rear seats with a center pass-through, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, auxiliary audio jack and iPod integration.

The base GTI can be fitted with the Convenience and Sunroof package, which adds different 18-inch wheels, a sunroof, multifunction steering wheel controls, a touchscreen interface for the stereo and an in-dash CD changer. The GTI with Sunroof and Navigation adds adaptive xenon headlights, LED running lights and a touchscreen navigation system.

The range-topping GTI Autobahn includes the preceding features, plus unique 18-inch wheels, partial-leather seating, keyless ignition/entry and a premium sound system.

Powertrains and Performance

The front-wheel-drive 2013 Volkswagen GTI is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 200 hp and 207 pound-feet of torque. In California-emissions states, a cleaner partial-zero-emissions-vehicle (PZEV) variant of this engine is also available.

A six-speed manual transmission is standard, while a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual (called DSG) is optional. The DSG operates like a standard automatic but it can be shifted manually via the shift lever on the center console or the shift paddles on the steering wheel.

In Edmunds testing, a GTI with a manual transmission accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds. Competitors are at least a half-second faster. According to EPA estimates, the GTI returns 24 mpg city/33 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined when equipped with the DSG. The manual transmission achieves slightly less at 21/31/25 mpg.

Safety

Standard safety equipment for the 2013 Volkswagen GTI includes antilock brakes, stability control and traction control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags.

In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the GTI earned a top rating of "Good" in frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests. In Edmunds performance testing, braking from 60 to zero mph required 129 feet. That's longer than average for a small car with all-season tires and a full car length longer than the summer-tire-equipped Mazdaspeed 3's impressively short 115-foot halt.

Interior Design and Special Features

Among sporty hatchbacks, the 2013 GTI ranks at the top for interior quality. The retro-style plaid seat fabric on the base trim won't suit everyone, but the cabin reflects a cool and sophisticated design, featuring upscale Audi-esque trim and switchgear throughout. The Ford Focus might come close, but otherwise you won't find better materials in the segment. There are a couple downsides, including a lack of useful interior storage and the small screen of the navigation system that hampers displayed information and overall usefulness.

The front seats are sporty and supportive, whether cruising or driving hard. If you regularly carry passengers, the four-door GTI is a safe bet, but accessing the surprisingly roomy rear seats is also pretty painless even in the two-door. Behind the rear seats, the cargo area holds up to 15.2 cubic feet -- nearly three times that of the Mini Cooper S, but less than a Focus or Mazda 3 hatchback. Once the rear seat is folded down, 46 cubic feet of cargo capacity is at your disposal.

Driving Impressions

The 2013 Volkswagen GTI won't give you the quickest quarter-mile or lap time compared to rival hatchbacks. But the GTI delivers one of the best overall driving experiences in the class. The turbocharged engine is lively and unloads plenty of useful low-end torque. The cabin is quiet, and the compliant suspension neutralizes broken pavement.

Around corners, the GTI is fun up to a point. But there's no question that cars like the Focus ST, Mazdaspeed 3 and Cooper S are livelier, more nimble and possessive of higher handling limits. Still, most drivers will find the GTI strikes an impressive balance between performance, comfort and daily thrills.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Average Consumer Rating (See all 20 reviews) Write a Review


Excellent car, fun to drive

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Volkswagen GTI Autobahn 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

My only issue with this car was the original mpg rating of 28-33. Never came close, averaging 18-20mpg, albeit most of this was city driving. Love my GTI, but looking for a more fuel efficient ride.




My most beloved problem child

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Volkswagen GTI 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

VW customer service is amazingly terrible by any standard (Beechmont VW Cincy OH) I loved my GTI - for driving not owning. Water pump failure 12,000 miles un-diagnosed engine tick at 24,000 miles that VW would not honor warranty rental reimbursement policy Service department's complete lack of skill sets with managing their customers concerns with any level of empathy or real concern. There is so much about this car that I love- performance, handling, comfort, over all design (exterior & interior) BUT I will never buy a VW again and will tell everyone I know to never do so based off my customer service experience with them (while still under warranty which was the scary part to me) I traded in for a Honda Accord Sport Manual- i miss my turbo, handling and the comfort of the seats on long road trips but I am so happy to no longer have to deal with VW corporate. Oh and no major parts failures with the Honda either!



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Three years, 48k, no problems, knock on wood.

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Volkswagen GTI 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

This car's virtues are pretty universally accepted: Wonderfully smooth and peppy engine, cabin comfort and quality, relatively good fuel economy, roomy rear seats, tight handling. All in all, it is a joy to drive, whether you are on a twisty two-lane road or a long freeway trip. I have the base 4 door with a stick, so I can't join the debate on the merits of the DSG transmission or the stone-age nav. The stick shifts like butter, although in common with some other reviewers I sometimes wish for a taller sixth gear, this engine has plenty of torque and would easily handle lower RPMs in cruise control at freeway speeds. The negatives are pretty well laid out at this point too: Water pump and intake manifold problems, along with general brand image degradation from the diesel scandal. I have been fortunate to get the water pump fixed twice under warranty, the last time with an updated part that is supposed to cure the issue. The telematics are truly two generations behind, with an Applecentric connector cable and Blutooth that never got along with my Samsung phone. I believe the 2016 MkVII has finally introduced new technology more comparable to VW's competitors. Right at delivery I replaced the factory 18" "Detroit" rims (too gaudy anyway) with 17" VW Goal rims off a Passat. These do help the ride quite a bit and I don't drive aggressively enough to notice any loss of cornering response. I highly recommend this modification for anyone buying a used GTI that needs tires.



3 of 3 people found this review helpful

An extremely fun car to drive, but not to own.

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Vehicle: 2013 Volkswagen GTI Autobahn 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)

I have owned my 2013 GTI Autobahn edition for 1 year. Nothing but trouble since I took ownership. The coolant pump failed 3 times, check engine lights pop up every other month due to multiple sensor failures. I have 30,000 miles on the car and I am dumping it like a bad habit for a more reliable vehicle. If you like fixing your car ALOT, buy a GTI. It drives well, but often will have mechanical problems. Update-dumped the GTI, got a Subaru impreza, very happy with the purchase.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Great to drive not so good on quality

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Vehicle: 2013 Volkswagen GTI 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

I have owned my GTI for 3 years and it has been a pleasure to drive, grips the road beautifully and is very comfortable on long trips. The interior materials, fit and finish are excellent. However, I'm starting to seriously doubt the quality of this car. At 13K miles the cooling pump failed, it was quickly fixed under warranty. In the last month, at 30K miles (mostly highway), my clutch completely failed and was replaced under warranty. I have been driving manual transmissions for the past 20 years and have never had one fail on me, clearly a manufacturing failure. To top it off, last week the cooling pump failed again!!! My dealer charges $750.00 to replace the cooling pump, fortunately it is still under warranty, but an expense likely to be incurred in the future. I have mixed feelings on recommending the GTI. If you can overlook the maintenance and having the car at the shop often, the GTI is an great driving experience. But, if you are looking for something reliable, there are probably better options out there. I will likely trade it for something else.



2 of 2 people found this review helpful

2013 vw gti autobahn - 4dr

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Vehicle: 2013 Volkswagen GTI PZEV 4dr Hatchback w/Convenience, Sunroof (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

I bought this car because it is sporty, has nice styling and has nice, quick, responsive performance. My previous car was a 2003 Nissan 350z. I really like the handling, design, power and looks out of the box. I also added a software upgrade from the dealer that boosted my HP considerably making it even quicker. The car has been on 3 5k road trips and for the most part performed well. One thing I like about it on road trips is that it has nice performance but is not flashy...I drive into diverse areas and the last thing I want to do is draw attention that you would get with an Audi, MB, BMW, etc Beware of signature water pump and intake manifold issues with the 2.0 liter engine.



Talk About The 2013 GTI

2013 Volkswagen GTI Discussions See all Started By

CarMan@Edmunds
CarMan@Edmunds
09-01-2005
Hi everyone. Please use the following discussion to post any questions that you have about leasing a Volkswagen Golf. Thanks....


kyfdx
kyfdx
01-26-2016
I am in the market to get a new GTI. I have a Ford Focus EV that has 3 payments left. The 2013 Focus EV is $157/mo. lease payment (36 mo.). The original MSRP was $40k, and there was $7500 federal c...


joeblonj
joeblonj
02-16-2016
Again, I like the GTI but I don't need to pay an inflated price....



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