The Volkswagen GTI is a fun car, but it doesn’t quite match up to the competition. Regardless, the turbocharged engine allows for good performance and decent fuel economy. The design may be a bit lackluster on the outside, but the interior takes some chances. The lack of options and features may be discouraging to some buyers, especially considering the price point. It isn’t a horrible hatchback, but the competitors often offer better value.
New For 2013
Volkswagen has already pulled the cover off the seventh-generation Golf , but we’re not ready to pass along the details—yet. You see, the new car goes on sale in Europe a full year before it arrives in America, so we have until early 2014 before these Golfs show up in dealerships. The current Golf remains a great buy, just don’t be disappointed when you’re driving ?the old model? within a couple months of your purchase.
The 2013 Volkswagen GTI is available as both two-door and four-door body styles. As an attractive hatchback, the GTI features sleek design without overstatement. Much like their other vehicles, Volkswagen designed the GTI with the idea that flashy, outlandish designs won’t last the test of time like conservative designs will. The GTI comes in four trims. The base GTI features 18-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors and washer nozzles, rear roof spoiler, and foglights.
Options for the base model include a Convenience and Sunroof package, which includes more stylish 18-inch wheels and a sunroof. Also optional is a Sunroof and Navigation package, which adds adaptive xenon headlamps and LED running lights to the exterior. The GTI Autobahn includes the above exterior items plus upgraded 18-inch wheels and keyless ignition.
There are only six exterior paint options, which includes Tornado Red, Shadow Blue Metallic, and Carbon Steel Gray. Overall, the exterior design is pretty dull, but the fixed liftgate allows for easy storage, and the design at least isn’t ugly.
Interior & Cargo
The interior of the 2013 Volkswagen GTI is way above par in terms of quality within the segment. The seating receives plaid fabrics, and the trim receives very tasteful trim. While this won’t please everyone, it does at least set the GTI apart from other cars, unlike the exterior design. The cargo space is a bit limited within the cabin itself, and the trunk holds 15.2 cubic feet, which is about average. Folding down the seats give 46 cubic feet of storage.
The base GTI features cruise control, a trip computer, heated front sport seats, and air conditioning. The rear seating offers a split bench that also has a through passage for easy access to the trunk even when people are seated in the back. The Sunroof and Navigation package adds a touchscreen navigation system, and the Convenience package adds steering wheel controls, a touchscreen interface for the stereo, and an in-dash CD changer. The standard audio system is an eight-speaker AM/FM/CD radio with auxiliary input. It also comes standard with XM Satellite radio, but this requires a subscription after three months. The GTI Autobahn receives the upgraded audio system, which is an eight-speaker, Dynaudio brand radio with memory card slot and iPod integration.
Other interior options are very limited. Overall, the design is a bit daring with the plaid seating, but the controls are easy to locate and use. The instrument cluster isn’t overboard, and the general comfort is good for all passengers. The two-door hatchback is surprisingly easy to get in and out of, even for the rear seat passengers.
Safety for the 2013 Volkswagen GTI includes standard anti-lock brakes, braking assist technology, and electronic brake force distribution. Additionally, traction control and stability control are standard fare. The airbags include front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, front head airbags, and rear head airbags. The passenger seat features a sensor that disables the airbag in the event that a passenger is not present during deployment.
Other safety features include turn signal mirrors, foglights for the Autobahn, and whiplash protection design implementing in the front seat headrests. Tire pressure monitoring alerts the driver if tires are improperly inflated as well.
During crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Volkswagen GTI received a perfect score of “”Good,”” which included testing roof strength, side impact, and frontal impact. Braking is a little slow, but otherwise, the Volkswagen GTI is an extremely safe car for the road.
The Volkswagen GTI comes standard with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces an impressive 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. This engine also comes with a variant with lower emissions to meet requirements in California and other states. The standard transmission is a six-speed, manual transmission. However, this can be replaced with a six-speed, dual-clutch, automated manual transmission, which works with manual or automatic gearshifts.
The manual transmission can accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in about 7.3 seconds, which is just a little bit slower than the major competitors. The automated manual transmission has not been tested for acceleration, but results are expected to be a bit slower. Fuel economy is estimated at 21/31 mpg city/highway for the manual transmission, and the automated manual transmission receives slightly better fuel economy at an estimated 24/33 mpg city/highway.
The ride is quiet, and while the engine isn’t the best in class, it does provide plenty of power with decent fuel economy, The great suspension does a good job of absorbing any road bumps and shocks, but the cornering ability of the GTI isn’t as impressive as the competitor. Overall, it may be better to wait for the new Volkswagen Golf in 2014.
Key Competitors For The 2013 Volkswagen GTI
- Ford Focus
- Honda Civic
- Hyundai Elantra
- Subaru Impreza