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Quick Look: 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI on Everyman Drive

The Golf GTI epitomizes the idea of a hot hatch with snappy handling that makes twisting roads fun. A redesign this year improves power and refinement, making it one of the best all-around hatchbacks on the road. The Volkswagen Golf GTI is a 5-seater vehicle that comes in 3 trim levels. The most popular style is the 2.0T SE DSG, which starts at $36,090 and comes with a 2.0L I4 Turbo engine and Front Wheel Drive. This Golf GTI is estimated to deliver 25 MPG in the city and 34 MPG on the highway.

Pros

  • Spirited acceleration
  • Responsive handling
  • Good cargo space

Cons

  • Tight rear seats
  • No all-wheel drive

Volkswagen offers the Golf GTI in three trim levels: S, SE, and Autobahn. The SE is the most popular model, but we recommend the base S trim. We’ll explain why.

S

The base S trim starts at $30,540 (including a $995 destination fee). Standard features include a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, six-speed manual transmission, front-wheel drive, 18-inch wheels, limited-slip front differential, a sport-tuned suspension, LED headlights and daytime running lights, fog lights, heated power-adjustable side mirrors, red brake calipers, automatic climate control, a heated leather-wrapped sport steering wheel, heated manually adjustable front seats, cloth seating surfaces, an 8.25-inch infotainment touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a seven-speaker audio system, and wireless charging. Safety equipment includes forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitor, lane-keeping assist, and rear cross-traffic alert. A seven-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters is optional. This is our recommended trim as it offers the same engine as the pricier models along with plenty of standard features at an attainable price.

SE

Priced from $35,290, the SE adds adaptive front lighting, LED fog lights with low-speed cornering lights, an integrated light bar in the front grille, a power-operated tilt-and-slide panoramic sunroof, keyless access, a 10-inch infotainment touchscreen, navigation, a nine-speaker premium Harman Kardon audio system, and dynamic road sign display. Additional options include leather seats, a 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, ventilated front seats, and an 18-inch black alloy wheel package.

Autobahn

The top trim is priced from $38,990. It includes a standard multi-mode adaptive suspension, 19-inch wheels, tri-zone climate control, leather seating surfaces, a 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support, ventilated front seats, heated rear outboard seats, a head-up display, parking assist, and headlight assist.

The Volkswagen Golf GTI is a performance hatchback that targets driving enthusiasts. It delivers strong acceleration and handling that’s as engaging on the morning commute as on winding back roads. It has an attractive interior with quality details throughout. The top Autobahn trim delivers a true premium experience. Despite this little hatch’s compact dimensions, it has a good amount of cargo room, making it a versatile choice. Although there’s seating for five, the rear seats aren’t particularly spacious; adult passengers won’t be happy there for long.

Competitors include the Subaru WRX, a sporty hatchback with standard all-wheel drive so it’s plenty capable when winter weather arrives. The Hyundai Veloster delivers more power than the GTI at a lower price across its lineup. The Honda Civic is available as a sedan or a hatchback that includes the performance-focused Type R, which boasts impressive horsepower.

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