Used 1996 Volkswagen GTI Hatchback

1996 Volkswagen GTI

1996 Highlights

Last year's two-door Golf Sport and GTI VR6 models become a separate nameplate called simply the GTI, with respective base and VR6 trim levels. Like the Golf Sport, the base GTI will continue on with VW's 115-hp inline four but will get some additional content, including alloy wheels, bolstered sport seats, whip antenna and smoke-tinted taillights. Meanwhile, the GTI VR6 gets a black leather seating option. Both models will benefit from new cloth upholstery, the addition of a glovebox, retractor locking seatbelts (for more secure child-seat installation), easier-to-use height adjustment for the front belts, a central locking switch on the dash and a warning tone to remind you that you've left the headlights on. New exterior colors include Catalina Blue for the base GTI and Windsor Blue, Bright Surf Green and Sequoia Green for the GTI VR6.


  • Excellent road manners, roomy interior, fun to drive, speedy VR6.


  • Some controls and symbols difficult to decipher, staid styling, underpowered four-cylinder engine.

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Features & Specs

VR6 2dr Hatchback2dr Hatchback
Transmission5-speed manual5-speed manual
Horsepower172 hp @ 5800 rpm115 hp @ 5400 rpm


IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

Top Consumer Reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1996 Volkswagen GTI


Consumer Rating

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speed racer
This is my second VW. I have owned it for it's entire life and have only had minor problems with it, most of which were covered under the warranty. The one disappointment was the radio. I liked the security feature it had, but I had to have it replaced three times. Several VW dealerships I spoke to knew this radio was a lemon, but could offer me only expensive alternatives. I finally replaced it with an aftermarket in dash CD player which is not so great, but it works and it's loud. On the whole, I am happy with my car and I highly recommend VWs.
vws are money pits
i have owned my gti 4cyl for about 3 years. I have slowly watched it detereorate. ABS suddenly stopped working dash accessory lights blink or short out. Coolant and power steering won't stop leaking despite repairs. Can't drive 30 miles in the rain without it breaking down at least twice, despite repairs. Repairs are COSTLY! I can't even change my own spark plugs or wires due to design. It has about 113,000 mi and I can't wait to get rid of it. Consider this a warning to anyone considering buying one of these.
Electrical and other problems
I love this car and think it is fun to drive. It looks so cute and gets a lot of comments, even now that it has 100,000 miles on it. Unfortunately, it has taken a lot of money to keep it running. The brakes needed replaced entirely, costing over $1000, at 60,000 miles. The license surround broke the day I bought it. The exhaust needed replaced twice in 4 years. It had a persistant oil pressure problem that couldn't be figured out by numerous shops. Warning lights come on when it gets wet and shops can't seem to fix it. The car nearly caught fire when the electrical system melted, costing about $2000 to fix. The water pump, thermostat, and harmonic balancer just quit. I won't buy another VW.
Used 1996 Volkswagen GTI Hatchback Overview

The Used 1996 Volkswagen GTI Hatchback is offered in the following styles: VR6 2dr Hatchback, and 2dr Hatchback.

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