<strong>Months in Fleet: 10
Miles to date: 25,360 miles
Based on our experience, it appears that Volkswagens have come a long way from the not-so-distant past, when they suffered from a reputation for being unreliable. In fact, our 2010 GTI, together with our departed 2009 Jetta TDI, have given us twenty-two months and more than 50,000 miles of practically trouble-free motoring. (Our 2007 GTI, however, was a different story.) "The GTI seems to be holding up well after more than 24,000 miles," notes senior editor Joe Lorio.
Having said all that, there are still times when the GTI does live up to (or down to) the European-car stereotype of being expensive to service. True, factory scheduled maintenance is now free, but that of course does not include items like a new windshield, for which we just paid $532.57. For context, we recently had the partially heated front glass on our Four Seasons Subaru Outback replaced for about $400. The dealership also charged us $52.80 to install new wipers. We know, we know. We could have done it ourselves for cheaper. But more than fifty bucks for wipers?
Of course, the GTI also reminds us of its European breeding every time we climb behind the wheel, take in the finely constructed cabin, go for a brisk ride, and realize once again how vastly superior it is compared to most compact cars.
"It only takes one night in our GTI to remember that downsizing doesn't mean sacrificing," writes senior web editor Phil Floriday. "With emissions and fuel economy regulations becoming more draconian, enthusiasts are going to have to seek their fun in smaller packages, and that's where the GTI shines."
Even some of the pricier aspects of our Volkswagen have proved their worth. Take, for instance, the $700 Xenon headlamps. Initially, some were skeptical of adding such a costly option to what is, after all, a tarted-up Golf, but now they're just one more reason why the GTI is more of a complete package than most of its competitors.
"These HID headlamps are simply fantastic," says copy editor Rusty Blackwell. "Their illuminating abilities are very impressive, making the HID option well worth the premium."
Quibbles and complaints? Always. Blackwell noticed that the digital speedometer reads a few miles per hour lower than the analog needle, leading him to worry that he has "been driving the GTI slower than necessary all this time." A skinny passenger griped that the seat bolsters aren't supportive enough, and another editor wondered why Bluetooth pairing works only via buttons near the sunroof controls, and not through the very expensive-looking, but mostly useless, LCD touch screen. Pretty tame concerns, we'll happily admit. The GTI has two months left in what's proving to be a very successful year in our care. We'll be sure to let you know, however, if it trips up during the home stretch.
2010 Volkswagen GTI
Base price (with dest.): $23,990
Price as tested: $27,255
Body Style: 3-door hatchback
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
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
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)
Leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel
Touchscreen AM/FM radio with in-dash 6 CD changer
Sirius satellite radio
Power Sunroof -- $1000
18-inch wheels -- $890
Bi-Xenon headlamps -- $700
Dynaudio advanced sound -- $476
Bluetooth connectivity -- $199