Volkswagen GTI

#6 in Compact Cars Overall Score: 8.5 / 10
2017 Volkswagen GTI View More Photos »
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$25,595 - $35,195
$25,595 - $35,195
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2017 Volkswagen GTI Overview

The 2017 Volkswagen GTI ranks 6 out of 24 Compact Cars.

Blurring the line between small sports car and useful hatchback, the 2017 Volkswagen GTI ranks high on our list of best compact cars. Combining a powerful turbocharged engine with sprightly handling, the GTI doles out ...

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SEATING


5

MPG


24

  CITY


32-34

  HWY

DRIVETRAIN


FWD

HP


210-220
See full 2017 Volkswagen GTI specs ยป

Pros & Cons

  • Strong power and acceleration
  • Good cargo capacity
  • Athletic handling
  • Comfortable seats
  • Small infotainment screen

Notable for 2017

  • Two-door model no longer available
  • New Sport trim added

 

Volkswagen GTI Rankings and Research

The 2017 Volkswagen GTI ranking is based on its score within the Compact Cars category. Currently the Volkswagen GTI has a score of 8.5 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 24 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

Scorecard

Overall: 8.5
Critics' Rating: 9.3
Performance: 8.8
Interior: 8.4
Safety: 8.5
Reliability: N/A

Rankings

2017 Volkswagen GTI Pictures

2017 Volkswagen GTI Review

By Bryan Siwik November 3, 2016

Blurring the line between small sports car and useful hatchback, the 2017 Volkswagen GTI ranks high on our list of best compact cars. Combining a powerful turbocharged engine with sprightly handling, the GTI doles out thrills every time you push the pedal. According to the reviews and data that power our ratings, this hot hatch is practical too. It has expansive cargo volume and passenger room, as well as a quality interior. If you’re a driver who wants a fun experience every time you sit behind the wheel or a lifelong enthusiast with a new small family to shuttle around, the GTI could be for you.

Now only available as a four-door model, the GTI offers enticing standard options such as a rearview camera and an easy-to-use infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Additional trim levels and option packages upgrade the interior or provide advanced driver assistance technologies like automatic braking and lane departure warning. With a base price of around $25,000, it is expensive for a smaller car, but quality materials, numerous features, and a sports-car spirit make the GTI a solid overall package.

GTI Performance

Thrilling Turbo

The GTI’s standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine is one of the most potent in the class and should make you smile every time you hit the gas pedal. The engine pairs nicely with either the standard manual transmission or the optional dual-clutch automatic. Shifts are smooth and you won't feel like you're losing power with either transmission. Upper-trim GTI's boast a modified engine that puts out an additional 10 horsepower and includes other performance upgrades.

The GTI has a fuel economy rating of 24 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway, which is a little below average for the compact car class. If gas mileage is a concern, the Mazda3 is a good choice for cross-shoppers of the GTI. The Mazda3 offers a similarly engaging performance, while still getting a respectable 27 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway.

Fantastically Fun to Drive

Sharp handling and precise steering remain trademarks of the GTI and make it an overall fun experience behind the wheel. Along with the Mazda3 and Subaru WRX, the GTI is one of the sportiest cars in the compact car class. The GTI is most at home handling tight turns on winding roads, but it's also engaging swooping around gradual curves on a long cruise.

The GTI’s standard performance features should inspire a lot of confidence in the driver. Adjustable suspension modes allow you to increase your comfort on bumpy roads or to engage in sportier driving. If you upgrade above the base model, a couple extra standard goodies will enhance your experience. A limited-slip differential helps transfer traction among the wheels and makes driving curvy roads more exciting. You’ll also get performance brakes, which will help with quick deceleration during spirited driving sessions.

Read more about performance »

GTI Interior

Quality Cabin

Inside, the GTI has an upscale feel, thanks to high-quality materials, soft touch surfaces, and comfortable seating. Its standard cloth seating features European-style plaid patterns and vibrant red stitching, which enhance the sporty feel. If you want a more subdued and upscale appearance, leather seats are available. Whichever material you choose, the front seats should provide all the comfort you'll need for long trips or short back-road drives to test the car’s athleticism.

Useful and Roomy Space

Since it's a hatchback, the GTI brings a certain measure of versatility that other compact cars can’t match. Cargo room is excellent for the class, both with the rear seats up or folded down. The hatch opening is wide and the floor is low, so loading bulky or awkwardly shaped items is an easier task. In the class, the Kia Soul is the only car that bests the GTI’s overall cargo volume.

Room for occupants is good, with abundant head- and legroom in the front two seats. Rear passengers will have enough space to sit fully upright, but their legs may feel a little cramped, especially if the front seats are slid back. For 2017, Volkswagen axed the less popular two-door version of the GTI. Last year the two-door GTI was only available via special order at the dealership. Volkswagen found that most buyers preferred the utility offered by four doors.

The GTI has two complete positions for the LATCH car seat system, and it’s easy to use. The lower anchors are hidden behind plastic flaps, as opposed to in the seat cushions like many other cars. It is easy to attach the straps to both the lower and top tether anchors.

Stress-Free Screen

The 2017 GTI boasts a much improved infotainment system that features Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration. Pair your smartphone to the infotainment system to access music, apps, contacts, or navigation, which can all be controlled by your voice. The system is straightforward and easy to use and responds well to both voice and touch commands. You can also use smartphone or tablet motions like swiping or pinch-to-zoom to achieve various functions through the car's touch-screen display.

While some competitors’ infotainment systems operate slowly or require scrolling through menus for basic functions, the GTI’s infotainment system responds quickly to touches and features easily navigable menus. The system favors functionality over form – a fair tradeoff. The display screen is only 6.5 inches and features simple, if lackluster, graphics.

Read more about interior »

GTI Pricing, Options, and Trims

The 2017 Volkswagen GTI is available in four trim levels: S, Sport, SE, and Autobahn. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine and six-speed manual transmission are standard in all models. A six-speed automatic transmission is available for $1,100 with any trim except Autobahn, which only comes with manual.

The base S trim starts at $25,595, which is one of the highest starting prices in the class. Standard features include heated front seats, an eight-speaker sound system, Bluetooth, a 6.5-inch touch-screen display, smartphone integration, HD Radio, satellite radio, a USB port, and a rearview camera.

Starting at $27,995, the Sport trim includes performance brakes, a limited-slip differential, adaptive headlights, proximity key entry, and push-button ignition.

The GTI SE trim retails for $30,890 and adds features like a power sunroof, leather seats, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and a Fender premium audio system. Advanced safety features are available as part of a $595 package that includes blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.

Topping the GTI trim range is the Autobahn edition, which starts at $34,095. Added features include a 12-way power driver’s seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, touch-screen navigation, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking. A Driver Assistance package ($1,095) adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror, lane departure warning, parking sensors, and park assist.

For great savings, check out this month’s Volkswagen deals for current discounts and incentives. Our Best Price Program can also help you build and price the right GTI for you.

See 2017 Volkswagen GTI specs and trims »

GTI Safety and Reliability

The 2017 GTI receives a five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with four out of five stars in the individual frontal crash and rollover tests. Leading the class in safety is the Honda Civic, which gets perfect scores from NHTSA.

A rearview camera is the only driver assistance feature that comes standard in the GTI. While several other competitors come with a camera, none include standard equipment beyond that. In terms of other available advanced safety technologies, the GTI offers more than nearly every other car in the class: adaptive headlights, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, parking sensors, and park assist.

There is currently no data on predicted reliability for the GTI. The 2017 Volkswagen GTI comes with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about safety »

Read more about reliability »

Other Cars to Consider

The Kia Soul ranks highly when compared with other compact cars, primarily due to its ample passenger and cargo space, nice interior, and high safety scores. With a base price under $16,000, it is a great value for those who want a spacious car that won’t break the bank. The Soul also comes with an impressive reliability rating, so if you want your car to stay on the road and not on some mechanic’s lift, it's a good choice. Kia backs the Soul with a lengthy warranty so you won’t have to panic if something does go wrong.

The Subaru WRX offers exhilarating performance much like the GTI, albeit in sedan form. It has the most powerful engine in the class, and its handling is sharp and athletic. You should feel at ease in the cockpit, as the front seats are comfortable and supportive. The back seat is also well-equipped to accommodate adults, with plenty of legroom and headroom.

Compare the GTI, Soul, and WRX in more detail »

Details: 2017 Volkswagen GTI

The 2017 Volkswagen GTI is a four-door hatchback that seats five. It is available in four trim levels: S, Sport, SE, and Autobahn. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine, front-wheel drive, and a six-speed manual transmission are standard in all models. A six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is optional. The GTI was fully redesigned for the 2015 model year and has seen no major changes since then. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2015 through 2017 model years.

Standard features include heated front seats, an eight-speaker sound system, Bluetooth, a 6.5-inch touch-screen display, smartphone integration, HD Radio, satellite radio, a USB port, and a rearview camera. Optional features include leather seats, a 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a power sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, a Fender premium audio system, touch-screen navigation, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, proximity key entry, push-button ignition, rain-sensing windshield wipers, performance brakes, a limited-slip differential, adaptive headlights, lane departure warning, parking sensors, park assist, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.

See 2017 Volkswagen GTI specs and trims »

  • "Are you searching for a quick and sporty compact hatchback that's also easy to drive every day? Check out the 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI. We think it has the performance chops you expect, plus a refined demeanor that fully justifies the car's price." -- Edmunds
  • "The 2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI is pretty much the perfect car. It's big enough for most people's needs, quick enough to keep an enthusiast engaged, comfortable enough to keep kids and in-laws from complaining, and smart enough to be a status symbol -- and it even has some character. To merely call it a compact hatchback would be to understate what a great version of a great car the Golf GTI is." -- Autotrader (2016)
  • "All in all, then, this new GTI's a pretty sweet deal. It's a demonstrably better car than the one it replaces, which was already a very good little sports car. Compared to the competition, it looks even better." -- Motor Trend (2015)
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