February 07, 2011
I took our Volkswagen GTI in for its 20,000 mile service on Friday. The 20K service includes an oil change, tire rotation, a cabin filter if needed and various other inspections. I also used this opportunity to address all the lingering issues our editors had pointed out in previous blog posts -- the air-conditioner odor described as "sweaty sock," a broken cargo cover strap and a mysterious "ticking" noise from the B-pillar.
When I brought the car in, our service advisor noticed that there was a recall (YW/97T2) that required a software update and addressed an issue with the body control module. On a VW forum, some GTI owners have noticed that their fuel economy has gone up since this update was performed on their cars. Time will tell if we get this benefit as well.
The A/C odor was a quick fix. Technicians replaced the cabin filters and cleaned the system, just to be safe. The cleaning chemicals they used must've had a baby powder scent, because that's what the car smells like now.
The broken cargo strap required a part that was not in stock. We will have to bring the car back in a few days to get the part installed.
As for the ticking noise, I heard it on the way in, but the technicians were not able to duplicate the noise. They checked the clips and panels in the B-pillar area, but did not find anything loose or broken. They even compared it to other GTIs on the lot and still didn't hear the noise in ours. Strangely enough, when I got the car back, I couldn't hear the noise either. So either it fixed itself when the mechanic poked around, or we all imagined it.
The dealership had the car washed and ready at the end of the business day. The total cost for the 20,000-mile service was zero, since it was covered by VW's "carefree maintenance" program. The other items were covered under the car's warranty.
Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Associate @ 20,440 miles.
February 05, 2011
We've taken the GTI in for its 20,000-mile service appointment. We'll let you know how it goes.
(Would it have hurt to say please? Maybe you can't expect politesse from a German car.)
Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @20,379
January 14, 2011
Last night I hopped in our long-term 2010 Volkswagen GTI and drove about 60 miles, no sweat. Ride quality is still comfortably firm in the warm-hot hatchback from Wolfsburg, and if road noise has crept up over the last 19,000 miles, it's the slightest of increases.
And that's about where my endorsement for our GTI's 225/40R18 92H Dunlop SP Sport01 all-season tires begins. After nearly 20,000 miles, all four tires still have plenty of tread left (though the rears are a touch closer to the wear bars).
When this car showed up in our fleet, I figured all the high curbs in Los Angeles would make mincemeat of the flashy 18-inch wheels, and I wondered aloud several times why we didn't get the standard 17s. (Evidently, the answer is that the 17s couldn't be more uncool, because VW discontinued them for MY2011.) But the Dunlops have a subtle lip around the edge that has provided good protection for the wheels during the car's tour of duty in our fleet. I took a walk around the car and only found two minor blemishes, both on the passenger side.
In short, our 2010 VW GTI has an attractive optional wheel/tire package ($750), and it has worn well -- while giving the car a commuter-friendly ride quality. The only thing these tires don't do is make the GTI handle well; although, they're merely part of an elaborate conspiracy that also involves the dampers and stability control protocol. This latter failing keeps the GTI from being a true hot hatch in my book, but if you want a warm hatch to use as a commuter car, it doesn't get much better than this.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 19,455 miles
December 28, 2010
The GTI isn't just a fun ride; it's also one of the safest small cars you can buy. That's the word from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which named the GTI a Top Safety Pick in the small-car segment.
So what exactly does a car have to do to get the Top Safety Pick designation?
Here's what the IIHS has to say: "[The] Top Safety Pick [designation] recognizes vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in front, side, rollover, and rear crashes based on good ratings in Institute tests. Winners also must have available electronic stability control, a crash avoidance feature that significantly reduces crash risk. The ratings help consumers pick vehicles that offer a higher level of protection than federal safety standards require."
A complete list of all 66 IIHS Top Safety picks is available here. The IIHS groups its winners according to vehicle type and size, since size and weight influence crashworthiness -- larger vehicles tend to offer better crash protection than smaller ones, even even if you're talking about a smaller vehicle that's a Top Safety Pick like the GTI.
So the GTI is safe, but a larger vehicle would very likely be safer still. Is the relationship between vehicle size and crashworthiness something that you consider when shopping for a vehicle?
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor
August 20, 2010
I examined our GTI's oil level this morning and it checks out OK. However, the dipstick is made out of a dark-colored metal. I'm not sure why VW chose to have it this way as spotting the exact oil level is a lot harder than it is on a regular dipstick made with a brighter metal.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor
July 28, 2010
Our long-term 2010 VW GTI started reminding us from a few days ago to perform the 10K service, so we took it to Santa Monica VW yesterday.
Our advisor JD was courteous and the service included Syntec oil and filter, tire rotation, and belts check. There was also a TSB for a driver footwell vent cover, which the dealer secured per VW instructions with a ziptie(?).
The service also included a wash, but curiously the vehicle was dirtier when I picked it up then when I had brought it in (had it at the carwash the day before). But everything else was fine and it was done in a few hours.
And the best part was that it was free, as 2010 VWs include 3 yr/36,000 mile maintenance.
See you again at 20K VW of Santa Monica.
Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 10,150 miles
July 22, 2010
I usually check the tire pressures on a test car before a big trip. And I did check our long-term 2010 VW GTI's relatively large 225/40R18s before my weekend trip to San Francisco and Laguna Seca and was surprised that they take 38 psi.
I was also surprised when I discovered that our GTI is manufactured in Germany, not Latin America (verified by the monrooney below.)
Not that I have anything against Latin America, but Germany is now almost single-handedly supporting the EU and the euro.
Our long-term GTI is assembled in Wolfsburg, Germany. And that's fine with me.
Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 8,900 miles