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#1

in 2009 Upscale Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $11,422 - $12,348
Original MSRP: $23,230 - $24,930
MPG: 21 City / 31 Hwy
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2009 Volkswagen GTI Interior

This interior review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Generally described as comfortable and inviting, the interior of the 2009 Volkswagen GTI wins very broad praise from most reviewers. Its high quality features and supportive front seats are especially noted, and Kelley Blue Book says the car's heated front seats outclasses the competition.

  • "The rich interior flaunts the masculine character and precise feel that VW's are known for." -- The New York Times
  • "The Volkswagen GTI offers passenger and luggage space on par with the Passat, VW's mid-size family sedan." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "It seems as if many of the switches and controls throughout the cabin were directly inherited from sister-brand Audi's vehicles." -- Business Week
  • "Interior décor is especially impressive with quality fabrics, nicely textured plastics, and many soft-touch surfaces." -- Consumer Guide
  • "At night, controls are illuminated in Volkswagen's now-familiar blue and red scheme. In back, passengers get their own heating, ventilation and air conditioning vents, while a 60/40 split folding seatback extends the car's hatchback functionality. Did we mention the fantastic heated sport bucket seats? They are arguably the best in this class." -- Kelley Blue Book

Front Seats

Despite TechnoRide's quips about the lack of space in the front row, most reviewers regard the front row in context with the size of the car and praise the seats' comfort and support. The fabric features a plaid pattern inset, which while striking in appearance, it also pays homage to Volkswagen seat fabric designs from decades back.

  • "The GTI's emphasis on the driver is evident. Front bucket seats are thick and well-shaped to cradle bodies." -- MSN
  • "The plaid front buckets are two of the best seats in the industry, with supportive side bolstering and comfortably firm cushions." -- Motor Trend
  • "The GTI-specific sport seats are nicely shaped and well-bolstered. The standard cloth upholstery's retro plaid print is something of an acquired taste, but any driving enthusiast will appreciate the flat-bottomed steering wheel." -- Edmunds
  • "Larger drivers may want to try out the sport seats before taking the GTI home. This is not Shaq's car." -- TechnoRide

Rear Seats

As long as there are only two rear passengers and not three, reviewers say the GTI can offer adequate space for short trips.

  • "Putting three adults in the back of this small pocket rocket would be a cruel and unusual experience in flesh pressing." -- Sacramento Bee
  • "Access to the rear seat is far easier in the four-door GTI, of course, but even the two-door proves capable of periodic people-hauling duty, thanks to adequate backseat space and relatively painless entry and exit." -- Edmunds
  • "Good headroom, plus adult-size legroom in front seats aren't pushed all the way back. Entry and exit demand dexterity in 2-door models." -- Consumer Guide

Interior Features

The GTI's option list might be short, but writers applaud the number of features offered as standard. In addition, the GTI earns kudos for the gauges' practical placement and high quality.

  • "It's subtly styled and traditionally laid out, which suits us just fine. Scattered metallic trim pieces dress things up a bit." -- Edmunds
  • "The gauges are unobstructed and clearly marked, but some testers find legibility hindered by the blue/purple dashboard lighting. Most switchgear is handy and intuitive." -- Consumer Guide

Stereo and Entertainment

The GTI's base audio system, an AM/FM with MP3 capability and a six-disc CD changer in the dash, is considered confusing and outdated to most. 

  • "The audio display is monochrome LCD that looks like a 10-year-old laptop display (before color arrived). And because it's small, when you choose one command, such as volume, something else, such as the station presets, is hidden." -- TechnoRide
  • "The stereo sounds good, though its control panel is fussy and annoying." -- The New York Times

Navigation

The speed, graphics and controls of the GTI's navigation system were a sore spot with many reviewers. Luckily, there are numerous portable options that are easy to use with great accuracy.

  • "Overall, the German brands' GPS-based navigation systems are less useful than others, with more cumbersome controls and typically less street labeling on the maps. The GTI's shows some progress, but it still uses keys alongside the display rather than a touch-screen." -- Cars.com
  • "The navigation system suffers from an extremely slow processor, and we found it frequently frustrating to use. It takes a while to draw its maps and, much worse, doesn't show an accurate position of the car during speeds more than 30 mph. This latter issue is due to the graphics not keeping up with the position of the car, and often led us to miss a turn on our route." -- CNET
  • "The navigation system...takes study to program and absorbs too many audio functions." -- Consumer Guide

Cargo

With 15.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind the seats in the two-door and 14.7 cubic feet for the four door, the 2009 GTI has more cargo space than many of its competitors.

  • "It can hold a nuclear family and enough luggage for that annual vacation. Its hatchback configuration, combined with fold-down rear seats, even gives it an edge for those trips to the home improvement center." -- The Family Car
  • "Behind the rear seat, the GTI can hold a respectable 15 cubic feet of cargo, and folding said seat down yields a downright capacious 46 cubes." -- Edmunds
  • "Hatchback versatility with lots of useful cargo room and a low load floor." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Cargo can be secured via four tie-down hooks. There's also a cargo cover to hide your gear; the cover can be removed when carrying taller objects." -- New Car Test Drive

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