2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback

2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI
2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Pros

  • Turbocharged engine provides quick acceleration and good fuel economy
  • Sporty handling makes it fun to drive around turns
  • Versatile and roomy hatchback design
  • High-quality interior materials that look and feel great

Cons

  • Dual-clutch automatic transmission's lack of responsiveness in slow-moving traffic
  • Not as powerful as rivals at the same price point
  • Optional summer tires produce a moderately stiff ride quality


Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

The compact hatchback is a terrific choice for people who want all the benefits of a small car and a larger cargo area than the typical sedan provides. But what if you also want your hatchback to be fun to drive, too? For that, you should consider a "hot hatch," a small car that combines the strengths of a hatchback with a powerful engine and sporty demeanor. Although various hot hatches have come and gone over the decades, the Volkswagen GTI has truly stood the test of time and has earned an almost iconic status since its introduction to the American market in 1983.

Take a drive in a 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI, and you'll quickly realize why this car has been so popular. Like the Golf upon which it is based, the Golf GTI offers plenty of practicality and near-luxury cabin materials. But that's where these siblings split. The Golf is all about fuel efficiency and competitive pricing, and the GTI ups the ante with a punchy engine, a quick-shifting dual-clutch automatic transmission and stylish upholstery. The GTI rides much stiffer than the Golf, which degrades the car's ride quality some, but the payoff is heroic stability and grip around turns.

You can get the GTI with more features than the Golf, too. If you're the kind of person who wants (and is willing to pay for) a complete all-rounder, check out the loaded Autobahn trim. Its adjustable suspension dampers allow you to soften the GTI's ride for long-distance cruising or tighten things up on twisty backroads. You can further equip the Autobahn with an automated parking system and added safety features.

If the Golf GTI doesn't hit the right spot, however, you might consider several other hot hatches on the market instead. The Mini Hatchback comes in two- or four-door body styles, as well as a convertible if top-down adventuring is more your style. The 268-horsepower Subaru WRX is similar in price to the GTI, and it comes standard with weather-beating all-wheel drive. The 252-hp Ford Focus ST is another popular option and boasts a more comfortable ride. And if you have a need for speed that the GTI just won't satisfy, you'll want to think about the VW Golf R, Ford Focus RS or Subaru WRX STI. Overall though, the 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI ticks all the right boxes for those who prize fun and practicality.

Standard safety features for the 2017 VW Golf GTI include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and a rearview camera. A post-crash braking system is also standard and automatically applies the brakes after an impact to reduce the likelihood of a secondary crash. Optional for the SE and standard on the Autobahn is the SE Driver Assistance package, which includes a forward collision warning system with automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. The Autobahn Driver Assistance package adds front and rear parking sensors and lane departure warning.

VW's Car-Net emergency telematics system is standard, with features that include automatic crash notification, roadside assistance, remote vehicle access, stolen vehicle location and geo-fencing (which allows parents to set boundaries for teenage drivers).

In Edmunds tests, a Golf GTI fitted with optional summer tires came to a stop from 60 mph in 108 feet, while one with summer tires and the Performance package (and its larger brakes) stopped in 105 feet. Both are short distances for an affordable performance car with summer tires.

In government crash testing, the GTI earned a full five stars for overall crash protection, with four stars for front-impact safety and five stars for side-impact protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing, the Golf GTI earned the highest score of Good in the moderate-overlap and small-overlap front-impact tests. It also earned a Good rating in the side-impact, roof strength and seat/head restraint (whiplash protection) tests.

2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI configurations

The 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI is a four-door compact hatchback that seats five. There are four trim levels: S, Sport, SE and Autobahn. All-season tires are standard across the board, although summer performance tires are a no-cost option.

Standard features for the base GTI S include 18-inch alloy wheels, LED foglights, a rear spoiler, heated mirrors, a cooled glovebox, plaid cloth upholstery, a driver information display, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, height-adjustable and heated front seats with power recline, selectable driving modes, ambient interior lighting and rear 60/40-split folding rear seats with a center pass-through. Technology features include a 6.5-inch touchscreen, a rearview camera, Bluetooth connectivity, and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, auxiliary audio input, a USB port, HD and satellite radio and smartphone integration (VW's Car-Net App-Connect that features Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink).

Stepping up to the Sport includes last year's Performance package (which gives the engine an additional 10 horsepower and adds an electronically controlled mechanical limited-slip front differential and larger front and rear brakes), along with adaptive xenon headlights and keyless ignition and entry.

The SE builds upon the Sport's features with a sunroof, automatic headlights and wipers, leather upholstery and a Fender premium audio system.

The SE's Driver Assistance package adds adaptive cruise control, a forward collision warning system with automatic emergency braking, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.

The range-topping Autobahn includes everything above, plus adaptive suspension dampers, a larger rear stabilizer bar, a navigation system, a 10-way power driver seat (with two-way power lumbar) and dual-zone automatic climate control.

There's also a Driver Assistance package available for the Autobahn. It adds automatic high-beam headlight control, front and rear parking sensors, automated parallel parking, lane departure warning and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

The front-wheel-drive 2017 VW Golf GTI uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 210 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque. Sport, SE and Autobahn models come standard with last year's Performance package, which increases output to 220 hp. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed dual-clutch automatic (VW's DSG) is optional.

During Edmunds testing, a Golf GTI with the dual-clutch automatic transmission and Performance package went from zero to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds. That's more than a second quicker than a standard Golf and a bit quicker than the Ford Focus ST (6.4 seconds). The Subaru WRX leads the pack at 5.5 seconds.

EPA-estimated fuel economy stands at 28 mpg combined (24 city/34 highway) with the manual transmission and 27 mpg combined (24 city/32 highway) with the dual-clutch automatic.

Driving

The 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI lives up to its hot hatch heritage with sharp handling and steering, brisk acceleration, and a rather burly engine and exhaust note. These are all best exploited on a tight and twisting mountain road, where the GTI playfully bounds from curve to curve while instilling plenty of driver confidence. Though all GTIs are great fun to drive, it's worth upgrading to at least the Sport if you're planning to take on challenging roads or the occasional track day. The limited-slip differential on this trim (and above) helps pull the car's nose around the apex of a turn, resulting in quicker progress for more advanced drivers.

Either the slick-shifting manual or the well-executed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission is a good choice. Especially compared to traditional automatics, the DSG is quick and smooth, and its downshifts are perfectly rev-matched. However, we've found that DSG can be frustratingly slow to respond to gas pedal inputs when you want to accelerate quickly from a stop or when you're trundling along in heavy traffic.

Although it's comfortable enough on long drives, the GTI can ride harshly over imperfect pavement when equipped with the summer tires. The GTI is more forgiving when equipped with the adaptive suspension dampers, but not enough so to justify the added expense if you weren't already planning to get the high-end Autobahn model. We have yet to drive a Volkswagen Golf GTI with the standard all-season tires, and it's possible that the less aggressive rubber would translate to a smoother ride.

Interior

The 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI's interior is the standard-bearer for the sporty compact car class. Materials are well-grained and soft to the touch, and the overall design is distinctly European, comfortable and sporty. Bold red stitching throughout adds to the effect. The body-hugging seats are wonderfully supportive, and both upholstery options (leather or classic plaid cloth) feel expensive. Buttons and switches are placed close to the driver and offer intuitive, simple control.

Every 2017 GTI features a central 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment interface. Autobahn models also include navigation, but with standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility across all trims, you really don't need a factory nav system anymore (provided you have a fairly new smartphone in hand). Two smartphones can be paired to Bluetooth at the same time, perfect for long-distance road trips when you have a couple friends who both have fun playing DJ. The touchscreen is small and doesn't have particularly sharp-looking graphics, but it gets the job done and is easy to use.

Passenger space is excellent for this class. Front seats provide ample support and comfort, even during long-distance driving stints, and not at the sacrifice of rear seat passengers, who will have plenty of shoulder room, head- and legroom. Wide, tall doors combined with a moderately high seat make this an easy car to get in and out of, especially for its size. Up to 22.8 cubic feet of cargo can be accommodated behind the rear seats, and folding the seats flat provides an impressive 52.7 cubic feet of space.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

New GTI Sport is perhaps the perfect GTI
Mr. GTI,11/30/2016
I have owned a number of GTIs, but have to say this is probably the best one ever. The sport is a stand alone model that includes the performance pack, Nogaro alloys (Only on Sport model), bi-xenon/LED lighting, keyless entry/ignition, over the base S model. Plus, Apple play is a great feature negating the need for navigation. For me, and I am sure other enthusiasts agree that this is the perfect model - why? The new MQB platform GTI is a an incredibly well-developed car that drives and handles superbly. The Sport has all the essentials needed without the superfluous toys added in the SE and Autobahn models - this is the enthusiasts GTI. The addition of the Performance packs adds some extra horsepower, but the real bonus of the package is the mechanical limited slip differential which takes cornering on a front-drive car to a new level, and the stopping power of the R brake package. The beauty of the GTI has always been the fact that it is such a versatile and well-behaved car when you want it to be, but when you want to push it to it limits it is in an even happier mode. I love the fact that this car is so capable in so many areas - it may well be the perfect car! 18 months on the car has been 100% trouble free - highway gas mileage is around 35-37 mpg which is phenomenal!
The current Ultimate Driving Machine
NOVA Mid-Life-Crisis Driver,01/01/2017
My Autobahn: leather/heat/power seat, DCC, Nav, and ACC/Blind Spot/Cross Traffic safety features. Got an amazing year-end deal that I could not pass, so I will return my VW TDI earlier than plan. 1k miles total so far in 2 weeks. During past GTI test drives I always thought the ride was a bit stiff, so I decided to get the Autobahn with DCC. That way, I can turn the suspension to a softer mode ("comfort") when needed. Funny, after 2 weeks, I now prefer "sport" mode over regular "normal" or "comfort" mode. The GTI MK7 engine is very smooth as it happily rev up to its red line. Combined with its lightweight, the GTI can quickly and easily pass other cars at highway speed. You can get speeding ticket(s) if you are not careful with this car as it goes from 60 to 80 mph in no time. It makes me wonder what APR stage 1 or 2 mod will turn this car into ? As a manual trans driver in the past, I found the DSG pretty amazing on any street at any speed. I don't understand all of GTI DSG complaints out there. Nobody can shift the transmission as fast and smooth, aggressive when needed, than this smartly engineered DSG. The DSG in my 2013 TDI is good, this one is GREAT. As advertised, GTI returns 29 mpg combined. I am very happy with its safety features, they are excellent and work as designed. The bad news ? quality control is poor for a $36k list car. Back window does not roll up/down, driver door ambient light does not work, back seat bench still have wrapping plastic protrude out from its bottom, and worse, the infotainment system with Nav broke (known issue) after three days - new unit is in ordered. Even though CR predicts below reliability, I'd expected better quality control after almost 2 year of Golf/GTI production in Mexico, very disappointed. My GTI issues are being fixed under warranty. I gave VW GTI 5 stars mostly due to its interior luxury feel (very close to Audi, BMW or Mercedes level), its Ultimate Driving Machine characteristics, and its steep year-end discount. Aside from the quality control annoyances, I have my grin every day driving this GTI.
Again, so much to like in one "sports" car!
rower30,01/23/2017
I looked at the 2016 Passat and reviewed it so well my wife let me buy an E300 MB, but I can explain. I got the 1989 GLI itch all over again, so I purchased a silver 2017 GTI SE. Yep, same stuff as the Passat except in a SPORT verses luxury bent platform. I didn't want another E300, but a car that excelled at the opposite end of the car spectrum. I had to have a car that was as economical, good or better at hauling stuff, more fun to drive and had a better stereo than my 2008 Focus SE. Slam dunk with the GTI. The E300 drives you, you drive the GTI 6 speed manual (shifts like butter spreads on a warm day). I can't wait to DRIVE this car, same as the 1989 GLI! Something about VW handling that is addictive. The engine is a sweet thing. At idle it simply goes away on you, nothing, not a quiver. But give it the gas and it talks really nice things to you, shift me now. Power with the manual is electric motor linear and STRONG. The front limited slip differential drive system keeps both wheels pulling in snow, wet or dry with excellent throttle modulation. The engine is a tiger or a pussycat. Drive it like the 2008 Focus and I get 38-45.5 MPG. Yep, same 34 mile route each way as before with the Focus. Drive it like hard like a sports car and still get 28 MPG. The best way to explain this car is that all the pieces are seemingly of the exact same quality level. Nothing irks you to say, "wow, that's seems cheap". OK, except that the rear view mirror should be auto dimming, weird it isn't. The odometer goes away when you set the cruise as the set speed takes its place, weird but not a problem. The instruments are clear and a German conservative white on black LCD illustration. I like it that way, too. Everything ergonomically falls right into your hands. I will also say that the interior of the SE NEEDS those Clark Cloth plaid seats or something other than red stitching and a few red lighting accents, big time. I am not a fan of black interiors, but it is a good black interior. Still, give us a two-tone option, PLEASE. Oh, the seats are superlative for my 155 LBS frame. BIG guys may want to try before you buy. I needed the stereo (OK, wanted) and a few other bits I know would make long term ownership nice (ya, I paid cash for it). This is a sports car, so the ride is heavenly responsive to the road without being harsh. If you think it rides harshly, this isn't your car, or any other sport type car. For a sports car it is sublime. Not only does it go really well, with near no lag in the turbo (I have the manual, so I can drive around it without thinking) or torque steer (the 1989 GLI had PLENTY of that) but it STOPS like NOW with the R series brakes. The green house is WONDERFUL old school lower belt line, like the Passat...so you can SEE yet it has five star safety ratings. Bi-Xenon lights are very good, not the LED's on the E300, though, but way over average. The entertainment is just like my Passat review. It is fast and easy to use with the jump buttons on the side and 100% intuitive touch from there. I've never felt it to be slow or unresponsive. I use a 128GB SD card with WAV file music and the USB for the phone and carplay apps and navigation. I'm smitten with the overall assembly of this car. OK now the negatives. This is maybe the third EA888 engine iteration. Fixed are the cam chain tensioner issues. Left are likely the longer term carbon on the intake valves common to DI injection engines (no fuel across the intakes to clean them anymore) so a 80,000 mile cleaning is in the cards. Not a deal breaker as it is cheaper(~$800.00) to do than a rubber belt cam chain maintenance interval. The PCV valve can fail (this is the latest version that is again, supposed to work) and pressurize the crankcase (rear crank seal goes) or pulls a vacuum (oil is pulled through the intake). Turbo engines can be hell on the PCV valve with the boost pressure. But, this is a $200.00 part and an easy hour in the garage to fix at 50,000 miles. Fix it like an airplane BEFORE it fails. So I'll replace the PCV valve every 50,000 and not ever know the original one would have lasted the life of the car. Pity me but it is cheap insurance. Otherwise this engine is to die for. This is a poor excuse for a mid life crisis car, it is way too affordable, way too practical, way too sublimely sexy in appearance, and yet still way too much fun. Count me in. The GTI is still the best, I drove the rest. 01/28/2018 - This car has been flawless. NOTHING has gone wrong. Oil consumption has been 6 oz in 18,500 miles (nothing). I get 40 MPG going to work on backroads in the summer and 37 MPG in winter (worse gas mix for mileage). I really like the practicality and fun built into this car. The car is EXACTLY what it says it is, a small fun zippy car. Yes, it is stiffer than the GOLF. My wife liked the car so well she sold her 2012 Focus and bought the Wolfsburg automatic edition (She wanted the same car minus the bumps (her language, not mine).
GTI for an old guy
gdub,07/16/2017
2017 VW GTI Sport 6 spd manual. 20 months and 31K miles into the car that changed from a weekend driver to a commuter car. 4 oil changes at approx 8K mile interval and she is ready for new tires. The OEM Contis are not very good. However, if you want to smile when driving again, this little GTI does not disappoint. Can get up to 40 plus mpgs if you are not pushing the turbo, or if you are driving spirited you get about 25 mpgs. Flawless so far. Not one mechanical issue. Info system with Android Auto works great! I had the 30K service done this past weekend. Brakes are great, just oil and tires. Would I purchase again? Hell yeah!! When I am stopped and I meet another GTI owner, they always say positive things about the GTI. Choose wisely grasshopper. This GTI is a fun car!
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Features & Specs

MSRP
$25,595
MPG
24 city / 34 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed manual
Gas
210 hp @ 4500 rpm
MSRP
$27,995
MPG
24 city / 34 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed manual
Gas
220 hp @ 4500 rpm
MSRP
$29,095
MPG
24 city / 32 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed automated manual
Gas
220 hp @ 4500 rpm
MSRP
$26,695
MPG
24 city / 32 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed automated manual
Gas
210 hp @ 4500 rpm
See all 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover11.1%

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More about the 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI
2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback Overview

The 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback is offered in the following styles: S 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), Sport 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), Sport 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), S 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), SE 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), Autobahn 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), Autobahn 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), SE 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), S 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), and S 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M).

What do people think of the 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback?

Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2017 Golf GTI Hatchback 4.5 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2017 Golf GTI Hatchback.

Edmunds Expert Reviews

Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback and all model years in our database. Our rich analysis includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2017 Golf GTI Hatchback featuring deep dives into trim levels including S, Sport, SE, etc. with careful analysis around pricing, features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving and performance. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.

Read our full review of the 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback here.
Our Review Process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.

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Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including all models of the 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback and all available trim types: Sport, Sport, S, etc. Rich, trim-level features & specs and options data tracked for the 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback include (but are not limited to): MSRP, available incentives and deals, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (interior and exterior color, upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, cruise control, parking assistance, lane sensing, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy and MPG (city, highway, and combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (interior cabin space, vehicle length and width, seating capacity, cargo space). Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds expert review, safety rating, and color.

Should I lease or buy a 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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