2013 Volkswagen GTI Hatchback (2.0L four-cyl. Turbo six-speed automated manual)
Ratings SummaryThis rating has been carried forward from a prior year because the newer model has no substantial differences.
Even with a redesign on the horizon, the spirited VW GTI remains worthy of consideration among competing hatchbacks. It trails some rivals in overall performance, but makes up for it in refinement and build quality. Plus, it's still plenty fun, and is unique for offering an auto-manual dual-clutch transmission.
PerformanceWith a 200-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, the GTI makes less power than its competitors (Ford Focus ST, Mazdaspeed3), but still provides an exciting driving dynamic.
The GTI goes from 0-60 in 6.4 seconds. Some turbo lag and the slow-reacting DSG transmission make it feel like it takes a second to get going. The 6-speed manual is the way to go.
Stopping from 60 mph took 125 feet, which is 10 to 13 feet longer than rivals, with some wiggles under panic stops. The DSG's downshifts during deceleration can make for lurchy braking.
Excellent steering feel with appropriate weighting. Very responsive to quick inputs, even if the rest of the car isn't quite as adept. Pleasantly light for parking in tight spots.
All-season tires kept this GTI from meeting its true potential. The front tires let go first with easy understeer. ESC intervenes earlier than enthusiasts will like, and it can't be completely shut off.
Between the turbo lag and slow-reacting DSG, the GTI takes some getting used to for everyday driving. But the engine is super-smooth, the manual is easy to use, and the level of comfort trumps its rivals.
ComfortDespite its sporting intentions, the GTI provides a high level of comfort. In terms of refinement, it easily bests other hatchbacks in ride quality, space and sound insulation.
Driving position is fairly upright and comfortable. The traditional plaid cloth seats are well padded with adequate lateral support. After several hours, there was no fatigue to report.
Plenty of suspension compliance soaks up bumps with ease. There's no harshness to speak of and residual rebounds are rarely, if ever, felt. It's a smooth and solid ride.
Wind noise is barely there. Road noise is present, but not at all intrusive. Even the engine is pleasantly muted to a low growl. Interior squeaks are nonexistent.
InteriorThe GTI's interior is easily the best in the class, with Audi-like refinement and thoughtful design. Interior storage is lacking compared to other hatchbacks, as is cargo capacity. This is definitely a hatchback for more sophisticated tastes.
Thoughtful placement of all controls makes operation second-nature, even for newcomers. Touchscreen is on the small side, but within easy reach and very legible.
The upright seating position and moderate ride height make getting in and out an easy affair with little stooping. Short doors for all passengers further simplify things in tight parking spaces.
Clever design makes the GTI seem more spacious than it really is. There's ample room for taller adults, even in the back seats.
Good sightlines in every direction take any mystery out of the car's surroundings. The upright seats further help in this regard, as do thin roof pillars and ample mirrors.
The GTI's 15.2 cu-ft cargo capacity trails the Focus' 23.8 and Mazdaspeed3's 17.0. Rear seats don't fold completely flat, but do open up 46 cu-ft, beating rivals by 2 cubes or more. Interior storage bins are few.
Value At $30,690, our 4-door GTI with sunroof and navigation costs about $2,000 more than a similarly equipped Focus ST and $3,000 more than a comparable Mazdaspeed3. The others do not offer an automatic transmission, which added $1,100 to the cost.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Considering the VW's solid build and interior refinement, the added cost seems easily justifiable. Other hatchbacks in this class feel like toys by comparison.
The base GTI is similarly equipped compared to other sporty hatchbacks but costs a bit more. Options are grouped in packages and push the price higher than rivals by $1,000 or more for fully-loaded versions.
Starting at $25,590 for a base model with manual transmission, the GTI costs $1,095 more than the Focus ST and $595 more than the Mazdaspeed3. The gap widens as you add options.
The EPA estimates 27 mpg Combined (24 City/33 Hwy) for the GTI with the DSG automated manual, which is above average for the class. We managed 29.4 mpg on our evaluation loop and 24.2 overall.
VW's 3-year/36,000-mile basic and 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranties are identical to other hatchbacks in the segment. As with other manufacturers, optional extended warranties are offered.
3-year/36,000-mile free scheduled maintenance was standard on the 2013 GTI, but it will drop to 2 years/24,000 for 2014. Rivals offer this at additional cost.
Fun To DriveDespite coming up short in terms of performance numbers, the VW GTI is still an entertaining hatchback. Cars with the manual are considerably more fun and involving, while still being easy to drive.
A sporty hatchback for more sophisticated tastes, its playful nature and more refined interior keep it relevant. You won't feel like you had to compromise on this choice.
Styling is more conservative than the boy-racer hatchback rivals and for many, that's a good thing. The GTI is a hatchback for adults who still like to have fun behind the wheel.
This is the estimated average annual insurance premium being charged in your state. The premium has been determined based on annual premium data for defined coverages (liability, comprehensive and collision) from a major insurer.
While this information is specific to vehicle make, model, model year and body type, your personal information is not taken into consideration and could greatly alter the actual premium quoted by an insurer. Factors that will affect your rate include your age, marital status, credit history, driving record, and the garaging address of your vehicle.
Edmunds Insurance Estimator
The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2014 Volkswagen GTI Hatchback in VA is:
† Edmunds.com received the highest numerical score in the proprietary J.D. Power 2014 Third-Party Automotive Website Evaluation Study℠. Results based on responses from 3,381 responses, measuring 14 companies and measures third-party automotive website usefulness among new and used vehicle shoppers. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of owners surveyed from January 2014. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com.