Pros: Good power; available manual transmission; pleasingly sporty handling
Cons: Dashboard controls are mostly touch-sensitive buttons instead of actual switches; some interior materials seem low budget
CG Says: Volkswagen’s sporty GTI version of the Golf subcompact is redesigned for 2022, with new styling, additional features, and a bit more power. Volkswagen has discontinued regular versions of the Golf in the U.S., leaving only the performance-oriented GTI and the even hotter R model. The Golf R is covered in a separate review.
The GTI’s sole engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that makes 241 horsepower, an increase of 13 hp over the previous-generation model. The engine pairs with either a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. All GTIs have front-wheel drive—the Golf R has standard all-wheel drive.
The all-new interior gets new technology features, including a 10.3-inch digital gauge cluster, 10.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, and touch-sensitive “virtual” buttons on the steering wheel and dash. The seats are upholstered with a plaid cloth designed to recall the look of Volkswagen Golf GTIs from years past; leather upholstery is also available. Standard infotainment features include Wi-Fi and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity. Also standard are safety-tech features such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and blind-spot monitoring.
The Volkswagen Golf GTI has long been praised for its ability to blend everyday practicality with pleasingly sporty performance, and the new GTI continues that tradition well. Although the GTI lacks the R version’s all-wheel drive and additional power, it offers plenty of thrills nonetheless. And the GTI also costs substantially less than the R, putting it more in line with similar “hot hatch” rivals. Together, these virtues make the Golf GTI a fine choice for buyers seeking practical transportation with some added spice.
|Body Style(s)||4-door hatchback|
|Drive Wheels||front-wheel drive|
|Nation of Manufacture||Germany|
|Base Prices||S: $30,540
turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder
|EPA City Range (mpg)
|EPA Hwy Range (mpg)