2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Pros: Outstanding balance between invigorating performance and day-to-day practicality; impressive refinement; cargo versatility of hatchback body style; decent fuel economy

Cons: Top-end models get rather pricey; automated-manual transmission’s behavior feels odd to some drivers; rear roof pillars are a bit thick, blocking the view to the corners

CG Says: The 2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI gains LED daytime running lights and taillights. There are also new, larger touchscreens. The base S model gains 10 horsepower for a total of 220 hp—the same as the other GTI models. The midline SE trim adds standard adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, and autonomous emergency braking. SE and Autobahn trims gain upgraded brakes from the Golf R. The Volkswagen Golf GTI is the sporty “hot-hatch” performance version of VW’s Golf lineup. It comes standard with a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. All models are front-wheel drive and offer a choice of 6-speed manual or 6-speed automated-manual transmission. All models but S, have a standard Performance Package which includes a limited-slip differential and larger brakes. An adaptive suspension is a performance option. The Golf GTI is an impressive car that upholds this time-honored nameplate’s status as a benchmark among performance-focused sporty hatchbacks. What the GTI might lack in outright horsepower compared to others in the Sporty/Performance Car class, it more than makes up for in terms of sprightly handling, surprising practicality, and an amazingly high level of refinement. It’s simply one of the best vehicles in its class.

The Facts
Class Sporty/Performance Car
Body Style(s) 4-door hatchback
Passenger Count 5
Drive Wheels front-wheel drive
Manufacturer Volkswagen
Nation of Manufacture Germany
Base Prices S: $27,265
SE: $31,320
Autobahn: $32,920

Base Engine
turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder
Std. Transmission
6-speed manual
Avail. Transmission
6-speed automated-manual
EPA City Range (mpg)
EPA Hwy Range (mpg)

2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI
NHTSA Ratings
Overall - 5

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Crash - 4
Side Crash - 5
Rollover - 4

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