- Excellent road manners, roomy interior, fun to drive, speedy VR6.
- Some controls and symbols difficult to decipher, staid styling, underpowered four-cylinder engine.
For 1997, the GTI VR6 gets new alloy wheels and a revised suspension that has been lowered by 10mm and includes stiffer shock absorbers, springs and stabilizer bars. Meanwhile, the 115-horsepower inline four that powers the base GTI is fitted with a new cylinder head for smoother power delivery. A cargo area light is now standard in the base model, and both models get a new high-mounted center brake light and open-door warning reflectors for all doors. Late in the 1997 model year, Volkswagen offers a limited run of the GTI VR6 Driver's Edition, which comes with a special set of seven-spoke alloys; an even lower, stiffer suspension with progressive antiroll bars; red brake calipers; chrome-tipped exhaust pipes; special cloth upholstery and floor mats; silver-faced gauges; a round aluminum/rubber shift knob; red stitching on the leather-wraps for the steering wheel, hand brake and shift boot and deluxe door sill covers embossed with the "GTI" name.