2010 Volkswagen GTI: My Day Off
February 11, 2011
Yesterday was a good day. I took a vacation day to attend a family gathering downtown as well as run a few errands. I found myself with an idle couple of hours and decided to hit the Barney's Warehouse sale (got a sweet $300 shirt for $59) and took our GTI out for a spin in Pasadena.
When I first started riding motorcycles, I'd wake up 45 minutes early to get in a canyon ride on the way to work. I learned every turn, every rut and every bump on these roads. So how'd the GTI do?
The GTI performed admirably -- for a front-drive car. It railed through turns and always felt solidly anchored to the road. But this canyon run also made me realize why I've owned rear-drive cars almost exclusively.
Accelerating out of a turn requires a careful application of throttle. A little too much pedal and the front tires start spinning and the steering wheel tries to wrestle free of my grip. Sure, stickier tires would help, but only up to a point. Weight transferring to the rear under acceleration and the resulting increase in grip is what I live for, and FWD cars simply can't deliver or compare.
I noted before that the GTI was my top hatchback pick. I think I'll also pick it as tops among front-wheel-drive cars, too. That said, if I had $24k to spend on fun car, I think I'd go with a V6 Mustang or Hyundai Genesis Coupe.
Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor