2010 Volkswagen GTI – Four Seasons Update – December 2010

Long-Term 2010 Volkswagen GTI Update: Winter 2011 ( 4 of 5 ) Miles to date: 0

a class="model-keyword-link" data-make="volkswagen" data-model="gti" data-module-id="Mod271" href="">2010 Volkswagen GTI

Months in fleet: Twelve
Miles: 33,336

Want to know a little secret? The Four Seasons test of our Volkswagen GTI is technically over. It ended nearly a month ago, actually. We’re hoping word of this doesn’t get out, because we’re still driving the heck out of the little gray hatchback. In fact, since the editors’ notebook closed on December 23 with a healthy 30,700 miles on the odometer, we’ve added another 2600 miles in trips to Cleveland, Maryland, and Chicago.

“As our year with the GTI comes to a close, I struggle to think of any other car near this price that I’d rather buy new,” says senior web editor Phil Floraday, who was responsible for many of the bonus miles.

And to think, we initially fretted that the humble hatchback wouldn’t be able to hold our attention for twelve months. In fact, the total, even without the post-test roadtrips, easily exceeds that of our previous two (and supercool) Automobile of the Year winners — the Nissan GT-R and the Audi R8. It helps that the GTI remains a confident highway cruiser, even though it’s currently wearing Bridgestone Blizzaks that are narrower and have a taller profile than the original-equipment summer tires.

The car’s high mileage and enduring popularity on long trips also tells an encouraging reliability story. Our Four Seasons 2007 GTI, which traveled only 21,371 miles in twelve months, made two unexpected trips to the service bay with a clunking subframe. This time around, our only unscheduled visit was to replace a cracked windshield — an issue that clearly wasn’t the car’s fault.

The Mark 6 GTI didn’t achieve perfect marks — the iPod connector never worked properly, the check-engine light flickered toward the end of our test due to a bad flap inside the air intake (with no effect on drivability), and the interior developed a few rattles. That last issue might have a lot to do with our car’s eighteen-inch wheels and the jarring ride they afforded. Floraday, among others, spent much of the year wondering if the big wheels’ aesthetic quality and benefit to handling merited the sacrifice in comfort. He had no remaining doubts by the end of our test:

“The combination of a short wheelbase, big wheels, and small, stiff sidewalls can make for pretty brutal ride quality over the roads I typically drive, so I’d probably see about downgrading to sixteen- or seventeen-inch wheels if I were to own a GTI.”

We hope the suspension wizards in Wolfsburg will someday fine-tune the hot hatch such that future drivers won’t be tempted to step down a wheel size, especially since the eighteens are now standard equipment.

Alas, Volkswagen knows we have no good reason to continue piling miles onto its $27,255 car. Any day now, one of the company’s minions will arrive at our office to retrieve the keys. That is, if the keys are in the office. Indeed, for all the compliments we’ve showered on the Volkswagen GTI and despite its few quirks, there’s perhaps no greater testament to our affections than the fact we just can’t stop driving it.

2010 Volkswagen GTI

Base price (with dest.): $23,990
Price as tested: $27,255

Body Style: 3-door hatchback
Accommodation: 5-passenger
Construction: Unitized construction, bolt-on front fenders

Engine: Turbocharged in-line 4-cylinder intercooled with direct injection
Displacement: 2.0 liters
Power: 200 hp @ 5100-6000 rpm
Torque: 207 lb-ft @ 1800-5000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Drive: Front-wheel
Fuel economy: 21/31/25 mpg (city/hwy/combined)

Steering: Rack-and-pinion, electro-mechanical power steering
Turns lock-to-lock: 3.0
Turning Circle: 35.8 ft
Suspension, Front: MacPherson strut with lower wishbones
Suspension, Rear: Four-link with separate spring/shock absorber arrangement
Brakes F/R: Power-assisted ventilated disc; ABS
Wheels: 18 x 7.5-inch alloy
Tires: Continental ContactSport 2
Tire Size: 225/40R18
Winter Tires: Bridgestone Blizzak LM-22
Tire Size: 215/45R18

Headroom F/R: 39.3/38.5 in
Legroom F/R: 41.2/35.5 in
Shoulder Room F/R: 54.7/54.6 in
Wheelbase: 101.5 in
Track F/R: 60.4/59.7 in
L x W x H: 165.8 x 70.0 x 57.8 in
Cargo Capacity: 42.4/54.8 cu ft (rear/with seats folded)
Weight: 3034 lb
Fuel Capacity: 14.5 gal
Est. Range: 363 miles
Fuel Grade: 93 octane

Standard Equipment
2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine
6-speed manual transmission
Electronic stabilizer program (ESP)
Anti-slip regulation (ASR)
Cross differential system (XDS)
Electronic differential lock (EDL)
Electronic brake force distribution (EBD)
Anti-lock brake system (ABS)
Cruise control
Leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel
Touchscreen AM/FM radio with in-dash 6 CD changer
iPod adapter
Sirius satellite radio

Power Sunroof — $1000
18-inch wheels — $890
Bi-Xenon headlamps — $700
Dynaudio advanced sound — $476
Bluetooth connectivity — $199

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