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Volkswagen GTI Review

The 2015 Volkswagen GTI ranks 2 out of 11 Affordable Sports Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the Volkswagen GTI, as well as reliability and safety data.

The 2015 Volkswagen GTI is ranked:

The 2015 Volkswagen GTI provides engaging handling, a powerful powertrain and a spacious cargo hold, according to test drivers.

With the best combination of positive reviews and long-term ownership costs in its class, the Volkswagen GTI is our 2015 Best Sports Car for the Money.

A turbocharged four-cylinder engine powers the all-new 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI, and critics find that it’s quick from a stop and generates ample power for day-to-day use. Automotive writers report the 2015 GTI feels quicker than previous models, and they say that the engine is responsive at any speed. They especially like the standard six-speed manual transmission for its natural clutch feel and note that the optional six-speed automatic (automated manual) shifts quickly and smoothly. The GTI gets an EPA-estimated 25/34 mpg city/highway, which is good for an upscale small car. Test drivers are amazed by the 2015 GTI’s razor-sharp steering and athletic handling, saying it’s a blast to drive, particularly on curvy roads. They praise its quiet and balanced ride and say it feels composed, especially when equipped with the available adaptive suspension system. 

Automotive critics say the 2015 VW GTI's interior has premium materials and is well-constructed, but a few find the design too plain. The front seats provide ample shoulder room, according to reviewers, and most say there's plenty of legroom, even in the rear seats. Still, a few comment they would like to see more back-seat legroom. The GTI has a large cargo hold and reviewers say it’s a breeze to load thanks to a low liftover height and wide opening. The 2015 Volkswagen GTI comes standard with Bluetooth, a touch-screen infotainment system, satellite radio and an iPod interface. Available features include a sunroof, proximity key, push-button start, a rearview camera, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a Fender audio system, navigation, forward collision warning and rear parking sensors. Some reviewers are let down by the standard infotainment system’s unimpressive graphics, but they report the touch-screen display is easy to use and most of the major dashboard controls are intuitive.

  • “Is this the best sub-$30,000 car money can buy? If you value driving satisfaction in addition to the usual suspects (style, quality and versatility), the 2015 GTI could very well be the winner. It's the kind of car that leaves you wondering whether you really need anything more. And at this price point, it doesn't get any better than that." -- AutoTrader
  • "If one word can describe the new GTI, that word might be balance -- and at high level. Nothing stands out as either an obvious shortcoming or a strength relative to some weakness elsewhere in the package. This car is simply a lot of fun to drive moderately or quickly without any significant payback in comfort, practicality or anything else. It's more pleasing in the tactile sense than some competitors that might be a bit faster, and more subtle." -- AutoWeek
  • "Well, we think pretty much everything about the new Golf GTI is cool, from its suave, Euro-metro interior complete with plaid cloth seats to the roominess and comfort afforded by its available 4-door configuration. It looks great, and it is a hoot to drive on canyon roads, yet it is perfectly at home in the maw of urban stop-and-go. It is one of the few relatively inexpensive cars that we could live with - and love - for a long, long time." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "From its crisp, reactive steering to its eager engine and solid chassis, this latest iteration feels just like a GTI should. With an interior that's both reassuringly spartan and surprisingly premium, the 2015 Volkswagen GTI retains the spirit of the original while offering more performance and comfort than ever before." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "It may have taken longer to arrive than we'd have liked, but the GTI is otherwise hard to fault. A high-bandwidth car that's even more polished than its capable predecessor, it excels as a family hatch in the daily grind, a sporting machine on a Sunday afternoon, and in a multitude of other roles." -- Left Lane News

Other Cars to Consider

Reviewers say the all-new 2015 Subaru WRX has superb handling and a robust turbocharged engine. It also comes standard with all-wheel drive, which test drivers report helps it corner confidently with terrific body control.

The Mazda MX-5 Miata can't match the utility of the GTI, but it’s a perennial favorite among car reviewers for its classic styling and timeless roadster performance.  If you can trade some practicality for drop-top fun, reviewers say the Miata should be on your list.  

Compare the GTI, WRX and MX-5 Miata »

Details: 2015 Volkswagen GTI

The 2015 Volkswagen GTI seats five and comes in three- and five-door hatchback body styles. The GTI is available in three trims: S, SE and Autobahn. A turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission are standard and a six-speed automated manual transmission is optional. The GTI is fully redesigned for 2015. 

See 2015 Volkswagen GTI specs »

Review Last Updated: 4/29/15

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