Volkswagen GTI Best Buy

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 a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automated-manual transmission. The SE and Autobahn have a standard Performance Package which includes a limited-slip differential and larger brakes. An adaptive suspension is a performance option. The 2018 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 category, it more than makes up for in terms of sprightly handling, surprising practicality, and a 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)