12 MONTH CAR REVIEWS: 2010 Volkswagen GTI - Four Seasons Update - September 2010

October 6, 2010
2010 Volkswagen GTI Front
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Months in Fleet: Nine
Miles to date: 24,017
2010 Volkswagen GTI Front Three Quarters
Based on our past updates and our Automobile of the Year award, you might think everyone at the magazine loves the Volkswagen GTI. Not so. We have a persistent dissenter in technical editor Don Sherman. Here's a sampling of his terse complaints:
"Ride is horrible. Even on seemingly smooth stretches of I-94, hippity-hop generates strident backseat complaints. The boxy shape is sexless. Big, heavy doors are annoying. Fuel consumption seems high. Also: Radio speakers sound scratchy at times."
You get the picture. Even Sherman though, admits affection for the Volkswagen's steering and powertrain. "It excels in the fun-to-drive category."
Back to our regularly scheduled program of GTI affection, senior editor Joe Lorio had some to pile on after picking it up at the airport.
"It's been a while since I've been in our little VW, and I was struck by some of the quality interior details. The steering wheel would be at home in an R8 (but for the GTI lettering, of course). The shift knob is similarly expensive-looking. There's real padding on the door armrests and center armrest, and the door pockets are felt lined. The seats have serious lateral support, and I love the plaid upholstery (the design at least, more so than the material)."
Like many editors, Lorio isn't sure he appreciates having a complex touch screen in a car that doesn't have navigation. "I find that conventional buttons and dials demand less concentration to use." Still, he notes, the interior remains exceptional for a $27,255 car with more than 24,000 miles on the odometer.
As the weather here descends from sunny and warm to grim and gray, we're also once again appreciating the intelligence of the GTI's traction and stability control. "Traction control decreases engine power just enough to avoid wheel spin in the wet, but not so much that it kills all forward momentum," notes Lorio. Associate editor Eric Tingwall likewise chimes in with praise for the safety nannies: "The system comes in earlier than in many other cars, but it's also much more restrained in the amount of power that it cuts. It feels predictive, rather than reactive. As a result, there's never the sensation that you're accelerating slower than is physically possible. Like the finely calibrated launch control systems on a Porsche 911 or a Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, the electronics on the Volkswagen GTI reassure you that they are making the car faster, not slower."
2010 Volkswagen GTI
2010 Volkswagen GTI Front
Base price (with dest.): $23,990
Price as tested: $27,255
Overview
Body Style: 3-door hatchback
Accommodation: 5-passenger
Construction: Unitized construction, bolt-on front fenders
Powertrain
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)
Chassis
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
Measurements
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
Options
Power Sunroof -- $1000
18-inch wheels -- $890
Bi-Xenon headlamps -- $700
Dynaudio advanced sound -- $476
Bluetooth connectivity -- $199

Long-Term 2010 Volkswagen GTI Reviews to Date:

FALL 2010
2010 Volkswagen GTI - Four Seasons Update - September 2010
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