2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Compact Hatch Works Great for Colorado and Back
July 28, 2015
When I headed out of town behind the wheel of our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI, I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy driving it to Colorado and back. I imagined it to be twitchy, loud and underpowered for the climb over lofty Rocky Mountain passes. I had planned the trip with the idea of putting miles on our 2007 Dodge Charger SRT8. But, as so often happens, it turned out better this way.
While the GTI only sports a four-cylinder engine, as opposed to the Charger's massive V8, the VW is turbocharged and delivers 210 hp with a healthy 258 lb-ft of torque. While turbo lag was noticeable, once it got moving, it was never winded at higher elevations.
But here's what really sold me on this little four-door hatchback.
I liked the seats, the driving position and the steering - all welcome features on a long road trip. As noted in an earlier post, the GTI's sharp reflexes helped me dodge deadly road debris, but I never found its steering nervous. When the coast was clear, I could relax and easily keep it center in the lane.
I wasn't a fan of the small center display or the graphics on the nav system, however. Furthermore, the navigation system took a long time to power up and continue the route every time I started the car. Also, with the CD player in the glove compartment, the driver would never be able to change it on the fly (luckily I had a co-pilot).
The fuel economy was good, even at Utah's allowed 80-mph speed limit. At least in California, however, buying premium fuel added 25 cents to the already steep gas prices.
I've always liked VWs but this trip refreshed my interest in this German icon.
Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 14,644 miles