2006 Volkswagen GTI Review

Used GTI for sale
List Price Estimate:$1,862 - $3,700
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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Hatchback utility, upscale features and interior design, strong engine and automated manual gearbox of redesigned GTI.
  • Higher price than those of its competitors, old GTI lacks oomph.

Go for the all-new version of the 2006 Volkswagen GTI. Meaner, but not necessarily leaner, the new GTI's beefier engine and keener handling dynamics make it the best GTI in a long while.

Vehicle overview

For much of 2006, there will be two Volkswagen GTI models for sale: the 1.8T, which is the last of the line for the fourth-generation GTI, and the new, fifth-generation, 2006.5 Volkswagen new GTI. Volkswagen has made a concerted effort to improve the performance of this latest Golf-based GTI. It starts with an all-new body and chassis. The car is bigger and heavier, which is never a desirable change for a sporting car, but the body structure is considerably stiffer than it was before, and the rear suspension is now fully independent. There's also an updated 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. It's the same one that's used in a variety of VW and Audi vehicles and it features a raft of high-tech features, including direct fuel injection. For the first time, GTI buyers have the option of ordering VW/Audi's brilliant Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) transmission, which is an automated, paddle-shifted manual.

Though purchasing the old version of the 2006 GTI might make sense if one can get a great deal on it, we think the new 2006 VW GTI is the way to go. Some enthusiasts might yearn for a GTI that returns to its roots as a lightweight pocket rocket. But realistically, with modern safety regulations being what they are and people's ever-increasing desire for power-techno everything, that was never going to happen. What we have instead is a solid and slightly upscale hot hatch that's fun to own and drive. Revolutionary? Errr, well, no. The previous sentence also applies to the new Honda Civic Si and the aging-but-still-quite-competitive Mini Cooper S. On the whole, the redesigned 2006.5 model is the best Volkswagen GTI in a long while. Hot-hatch fans, assuming they are willing to accept the new GTI's price premium, should be very excited.

2006 Volkswagen GTI models

The Volkswagen GTI is a two-door hatchback and a performance variant of the VW Golf four-door hatchback. Only one trim level is offered. Standard equipment for the old 1.8T and the new 2006.5 include heated exterior mirrors, a rear spoiler, 17-inch wheels with performance tires, a sport-tuned suspension, manual sport seats, a tilt-and-telescope steering wheel and full power accessories. The new GTI also has HID headlights and a standard 10-speaker audio system that's satellite radio-capable and equipped with an in-dash, MP3-capable CD changer. Buyers can get a DVD-based navigation system on the new GTI, but doing so eliminates the in-dash changer; a remote CD changer in the center armrest can be specified. Other options for the new GTI include a sunroof, 18-inch wheels and a package that includes power-operated heated front seats, heated windshield washer nozzles, dual-zone automatic climate control and leather upholstery.

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2006 Highlights

For the old 1.8T GTI, the VR6 style has been dropped and more features, including 17-inch wheels and stability control, are now standard. Starting in the late spring of 2006, the 1.8T Volkswagen GTI will be slowly phased out in favor of a fully redesigned model. As before, this performance hatchback will be based on the upcoming next-generation Golf. Highlights for the new GTI include increased performance, new styling and more interior room.

Performance & mpg

The 1.8T GTI has a 180-horsepower, 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Available transmissions include a five-speed manual and a five-speed automatic. Under the hood of the new GTI is a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It's capable of 200 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission that puts power to the front wheels is standard. Alternately, buyers can opt for a Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) six-speed transmission. As first introduced on the Audi TT, this is an automated manual transmission. Drivers can either place it in an automatic mode or shift gears manually (there is no clutch pedal) via steering-wheel-mounted paddles.

Safety

Standard safety equipment includes traction control, stability control and antilock brakes. The new GTI's brakes are larger and more powerful than those on the standard Golf. Also standard for both versions are front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags for all outboard passengers. No official crash-test data is available for the new GTI, though the current Golf has earned high marks for its performance in NHTSA and IIHS crash tests.

Driving

The 1.8T GTI is comfortable for everyday use but is generally outclassed by other affordable sport hatchbacks and coupes when it comes to power and handling. The new GTI is more composed on twisty canyon roads, yet still relaxed during long highway stints. The new GTI's 2.0-liter engine is almost ideal for this class of car. Right off idle, there's plenty of thrust available due to its robust low-end torque. DSG-equipped new GTIs don't quite offer up the same interaction that can be had with the regular manual transmission, but for most people it's the better choice. Super-quick and accurate shifts are just a tug away and, when you're stuck in traffic, there's the auto mode that allows you to focus more on the quality sound system.

Interior

As is the case with its family members, the Golf and Jetta, the GTI's cabin is notable for its high-quality interior materials and meticulous fit and finish. Front occupants are granted a surprising amount of spaciousness, and two adults or three children can fit in back without much of a fuss. With the rear seat in place, the new GTI can hold 15 cubic feet of cargo.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2006 Volkswagen GTI.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

5 out of 5 stars
Best car ever
GTI for life,09/02/2009
New 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
I have a 2006 GTI with DSG. I love this car, it gets great gas milage, it is the funest car I have ever had, I can fold down the back seats and fit anything I need in it. The DSG is a must, it shifts faster than humanly possible, gets better gas mileage compared to the manual, and has been problem free for the entire 87000+ miles on the car. The only thing I don't like about the car is that I love it too much, ex. I always park far out in parking lots. This car has been 100% reliable, never has broken down and maintenance has been cheap.It is loaded with safety features which gives me peace of mind. I am going to drive this car to the grave and then buy another. I know someone who has 179Kmiles
4 out of 5 stars
Some reliability issues, but no regrets
Rob,02/16/2016
New 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
This is the most all around car i could imagine. Its quick and sporty when i need it to be, small enough to park in any space but big enough to carry everything on camping trips and a rooms worth of furniture from ikea(in boxes). Fuel economy is pretty good (but requires premium) and the steering and drive quality are perfect, this car is so fun to drive! But.... finally my engine needed to be rebuilt and the repairs were more than the car was worth. At only 115,000 miles I'm really disappointed to say goodbye to this car but even more frustrated with VW repair costs and the longevity of their cars. The car value should not have fallen so low at this point in the car's life, especially when the GTi is obviously such a great car!
3.88 out of 5 stars
The Black Pearl has Sunk!
Black Pearl,11/15/2006
1.8T 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5A)
My vehicle was damaged on delivery, it had a chip in the windshield, scratches in the paint, and bodyside moldings were damaged, but it was one of the last 5A, cloth, non-sunroof (headroom), Black/Black GTI's left, and since I drive a lot, I wanted a fun factor with economy and power. Then the car developed a body flex which turned out to be a bad hinge in the door. Then it developed rattles in the dashboard and now the rotors pulse and vibrate when stopping. It is a cool car, but I am afraid I have to give it back to VW (Lemon Law) just after 7,000 miles. Too bad, the kids loved daddy's "Turbo." The dealer staff has been pleasant, it's not their fault that this car was made defective.
4.63 out of 5 stars
I love my GTI!
getch74,07/29/2010
New 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
I bought my 2006 GTI with DSG in March 2009 and have loved every minute of driving it. The power is great through the power band. It's not a great family car but I can fit two car seats in the back with no problem. The only issues I have is with the stereo and the lack of power seats. You would think they would have power seats and a better stereo in the car. But other than that it is great car and fun to drive. Plus if you do a few modifications you will be able keep up with some of the higher end sports sedans and pass the tuner cars. If you are looking for car with individuality, great performance, great styling, and good gas mileage the MKV GTI is your car.

More about the 2006 Volkswagen GTI

Used 2006 Volkswagen GTI Overview

The Used 2006 Volkswagen GTI is offered in the following submodels: GTI Hatchback. Available styles include New 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), New 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A), 1.8T 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5M), and 1.8T 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5A). Pre-owned Volkswagen GTI models are available with a 2.0 L-liter gas engine or a 1.8 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 200 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2006 Volkswagen GTI comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed manual, 6-speed shiftable automatic, 5-speed manual. The Used 2006 Volkswagen GTI comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2006 Volkswagen GTI?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2006 Volkswagen GTIS are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2006 Volkswagen GTI for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2006 Volkswagen GTI.

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Find a used Volkswagen GTI for sale - 11 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $11,954.

Find a used Volkswagen for sale - 12 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $22,519.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen GTI for sale - 6 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $17,250.

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Should I lease or buy a 2006 Volkswagen 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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Check out Volkswagen GTI lease specials