The Case for a Hatchback - 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI Long-Term Road Test
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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI Long-Term Road Test

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: The Case for a Hatchback

August 21, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

A few times while driving our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI, I've wondered if it's a car on which I'd spend my hard-earned cheddar. At $31,515 as spec'd, this hot hatch isn't exactly cheap and I've wondered if I could instead bite the bullet, stretch for another $10K, and get into an A3 like ours.

By its body style and badge, the A3 seems like the car for grown-ups. Though it's the baby A4, the Audi for Beginners, you still won't feel sheepish — nor will your date — when you roll up to the hotel valet for a spring wedding. People with real money might scoff privately, but they can pound sand.

The nice thing about an entry-level Audi is that it says you might be thinking S6 eventually, but you're smart enough to stay within the lines now. It can also say that you too have plenty of dough and have simply decided you don't need a larger or faster sedan.

Then there's the GTI.

For better or worse, no matter how distinguished the driver, a hatchback will always be a kid's car. That's not my personal view, but it's the impression I get from people who know little about cars except size, badge and a vague notion of price. These people, some of them in my life who are very nice people, can also pound sand. 

A hatchback may look like a kid's car to them, but to me, they offer real adult utility. Such as when you score a sweet, barely-used bike off Craigslist for your daughter who long ago outgrew her first bike, but the seller really wants you to pick it up, like, now (especially if you're trying to grind her a bit on the price).

Fair enough. Kid's car or not, I was glad to have the GTI this particular weekend when I found this Diamondback Miz Della Cruz 20-inch cruiser in excellent condition and needed to act quick. The A3 or any other small premium sedan with a fold-down rear seat could've also handled the job, but definitely not with the same ease.

All told, I'd probably opt for a hatch for moments like these, rather than for moments I want to impress or just feel like a mature adult. The latter notion is much overrated anyway.

Audi could of course deliver the best of both worlds by again offering the A3 as a mainstream sportback with a gas or diesel engine, and one not limited to simply an electric powertrain.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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