I've owned my 2-door since Sept 2014, and love it. Great balance between performance and practicality, especially on the performance side of the equation. I find no greater joy than hucking it into a corner at a slightly irresponsible speed, and coming out the other side going even faster. Seats are super comfortable for my 6 foot frame. Took my car from New Hampshire to California and back, and at no point did any part of me hurt in a 600-700 mile day. My average mileage sits around 28.7 MPG on mostly 93 octane fuel. There have only been three weak points I've found so far: The car has an appetite for summer tires (expect a new set every 25-30k miles or so), the reliability hasn't been perfect (so far I've had to do the water pump and fuel pump, which are common failure points on the 2.0 TSI motor, in addition to new ignition coils), and the insurance has been on the pricey side. Other than those minor things, this is my favorite car I've ever owned.
Best "bang for your buck" to be had. Surprisingly spacious and comfortable, exceedingly practical and thoughtfully designed. Want the car because it's fun to drive, buy the car because it's fun to drive every single day. My 45lb dog is perfectly comfortable in the hatch, even with the rear seats up, so she never again has to be left behind when my partner and I go out with friends. Simple controls and unassuming performance under light throttle make it a car you could lend to your grandmother, but selecting "S" on the DSG transmission yields remarkably aggressive shift points and an eagerness to brake the front tires loose. The small "poof" sound you get from the exhaust thanks to the near instant shifts made by the DSG are extremely satisfying, encouraging you to time your up-shifts just around the 3,500 rpm mark. It may not be as outright fast and sharp as its key rivals, but it is far more comfortable and refined. completely sensible when you're stuck in suburban traffic, totally sensational when you're not.
Because I drive so little (4000 miles/yr), I wanted something sporty, stylish, and most of all fun! So after trying several other cars the past 2 years, I found exactly what I wanted in a GTI. It has the perfect balance of sport, economy, and adult-styling. It is quick, but not gas-wasting fast. It is nicely outfitted on the inside, has a wonderful exhaust/turbo sound, and looks sharp from the outside. This car is a bit pricey new, but I found mine one year used with 6000 miles for an awesome price. Got the model with navigation which also has the attractive and functional bi-xenon/LED lights. I'm sure there are longer lasting, more reliable cars, but life's too short not to enjoy your car.
LED lights, hatchback convenience, DynAudio system, styling, handling, easy to park, fluid manual transmission, overall driving experience.
VW could probably sell a million of these cars if they priced them about $5K less. The one I purchased would have run about $28-29K new, which is a lot for a small car. I would have liked to have a power drivers seat that allows for tilting the seat cushion (that part you sit on). Homelink would have been nice. The seat side bolsters are a little narrow (and I'm tall and thin).
Owned a 1996 GTi (4 cyl), 2004 GTi (VR6) and now a new "left over" 2012 GTi 4-door with the DSG automatic and moonroof and nav package.
A really solid, well put-together car with a great mix of style, sportiness, economy, and utility. After two cars with maual transmissions I opted for the DSG this time with no regrets. Really like the paddle shifters on the steering wheel. Lots of fun.
Couldn't deal with the cost of an all-wheel-drive Golf R, so I "settled" for the GTi. No regrets.
DSG transmission, user-friendly stereo, nav, and bluetooth.
The bi-xenon headlights and LED daytime running lights come with the moonroof and nav package and are worth the price.
LEDs are very cool and unique - not that many GTis running around Connecticut with the LEDs.
The bi-xenons actually turn with the steering to light corners.
Heated seats need to be turned on every time you start the car (my '04 GTi allowed you to turn them on once and they would always be on when you start the car - long, cold winters here).
Trunk space is surprising smaller than my '04 GTi.
Not sure if it's because I opted for the 4-door?
Moonroof switch should be lit.
Cannot disable the horn toot when the car is locked.
Why is that?
For that matter, why exactly does any car need the horn to sound when the car is locked?