2010 Volkswagen GTI: Top Likes and Dislikes
November 01, 2010
I've spent a fair chunk of time with our long-term GTI this year. I've used it for a couple road trips (Yosemite and San Francisco) and driven it on one of my preferred curvy roads. Between all that, it's been a trusty urban runabout and commuter. Basically, I've done just about everything the typical owner would do. And yep, it's a pretty great car. So today I compiled my top five favorite and least favorite GTI attributes based on my time with the car.
1) Engine performance. The Mazdaspeed 3 and Impreza WRX have more power and quicker acceleration. But the GTI never seems lacking. The turbo-4 feels strong, has plenty of torque down low, sounds snarly when you get on it and returns respectable fuel economy.
2) Shifter feel. The shifter just feels right for this car. It moves fluidly from gate to gate in a European sort of way. Some might argue the throws are too long, but to me the shifter just suits the character of the car. The shifter knob fits nicely in my hand as well.
3) Exterior styling. I really like the way the latest GTI looks. The aggressiveness compared to the previous generation work well, yet the car is still immediately identifiable as a VW Golf/GTI.
4) Rear seat. As two-doors go, the GTI is pretty practical. The rear seat is relatively roomy and the sliding front seats make it pretty easy to get in and out.
5) Interior quality. Just about everything you look at or touch is better than the norm, with nothing done to excess. It It's an interior for grownups.
1) Lack of interior storage/power points. This gets annoying on road trips. There's not much space to put various items, and the singular power point up front makes it annoying if you have multiple electronic devices you want to plug in.
2) Rear visibility. Not so good. The swooping rear beltline and thick C pillars makes it hard to see what's behind you in parking lots.
3) The flat-bottom steering wheel. This might actually useful in a race car, but it's not cool in a road car. It just feels awkward when you're making large inputs and your hands grip a part of the wheel that's different from the rest. It's a shame, as the rest of the wheel is very nicely contoured.
4) The stereo interface. This is just personal preference, but I dislike touchscreen radio preset buttons as I have to take my eyes off the road to push them (can't do it by feel as I can with regular buttons). The audio controls on the steering wheel largely negate this problem, at least.
5) The 18-inch wheels. I'm just not a fan of the "Detroit" wheels. Were it my car, I'd have to get something else.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 15,452 miles