New Car Reviews

2010 Volkswagen GTI – Four Seasons Update – January 2010

Long-Term 2010 Volkswagen GTI Update: Winter 2010 Array Miles to date: 0

Miles: 4,768
Months in Fleet: One

If you thought our Volkswagen GTI’s status as Automobile of the Year would buy it even a month’s grace period from our nitpicking editors, you were gravely mistaken.

The first subject of scrutiny was the radio interface, which includes a touch screen but not an actual navigation system. Some appreciate the screen as a high-class touch in what is already an extremely upscale cabin, but others have questioned its functionality. “From a human interface perspective, I don’t see much value in a touch screen to replace easier-to-find physical buttons for presets, menus, or to change stations,” griped associate editor Eric Tingwall.

There was also a bit of a dustup regarding the rear hatch. When this humble writer tried to use it to haul some trash to the dumpster (a task he could have very easily accomplished by walking) he found the rear door would not open unless he held down on the key fob while pulling at the door’s edge. Other, smarter editors soon figured out that the Volkswagen emblem flips open and operates as a handle.

A more fundamental issue is the GTI’s occasionally choppy ride. “On a highway run down to Columbus, Ohio, the rear of the GTI worked itself into a tiresome oscillation over the expansion bumps,” Tingwall reported. It’s worth noting that our car is equipped with optional nineteen-inch “Detroit” wheels, and is currently wearing Bridgestone Blizzak winter tires. We hope that the GTI will settle down as the roads thaw.

Notwithstanding these relatively minor gripes, the GTI has in fact been a pleasure in its first weeks here. The traditional plaid cloth seats have charmed everyone who has sat in them, and several drivers have praised the smooth manual gearbox. We’re also still amazed with the new GTI’s level of refinement. Writes road test coordinator Michael Ofiara: “The car is amazing; so much more refined than my wife’s Mark 5 GTI. It’s going to be a fun year.” Even a nitpicker would have to agree with that sentiment.

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
Weight Dist. F/R: xx / xx%
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