2017 Volkswagen GTI Review
Reviews

2017 Volkswagen GTI Review

September 3, 2017
1281 views
Handling
7
Speed
7
Build
8
Cost
10
8
very good
An capable sports car that delivers tremendous value.

For 2017, the Volkswagen Golf GTI adds a new Sport trim with the Performance package as standard. Autobahn and SE trims now come standard with the Performance package while the two-door variant is now exclusive only to the S grade. The Driver Assistance package now comes with Light Assist and has been made available across all Golf GTI trim levels. Range-topping Autobahn models receive more standard features such as HID headlights, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and blind spot warning as standard.

The 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI is one of two high performance variants of the Golf lineup and slots below the more powerful all-wheel drive Golf R.

Overview

Under the hood is a 2.0-liter turbo-four that makes 210 to 220 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual is the standard transmission while a six-speed twin-clutch automatic is optional. Should you want even more power than the GTI, Volkswagen also offers the all-wheel-drive Golf R, which uses a 2.0-liter turbo-four tuned for 292 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. The Golf R is also offered with a six-speed manual or twin-clutch automatic.

Golf GTI fuel economy (for the 2016 model year) is EPA-rated at 25/34 mpg city/highway with the manual and 25/33 mpg with the automatic. The more powerful Golf R is rated at 22/31 mpg with the manual and 23/30 mpg with the automatic. Thanks to the hatchback body style, the Golf GTI is also practical with plenty of room for four passengers. Should you need to haul gear, the GTI has 22.8 cubic feet of space behind the split folding rear seats that can be expanded to 52.7 cubic feet.

Volkswagen added its Discover Media infotainment system with a 6.5-inch touchscreen across the Golf lineup with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. Navigation is available only on the range-topping Autobahn trim for the Golf GTI and on the Golf R’s DCC w/Nav grade.

Safety

Like the standard Golf hatchback, the Golf GTI received a five-star overall crash safety score from NHTSA (out of a possible five stars). In the IIHS’ testing, the Golf GTI received the Top Safety Pick+ award after scoring a Good on all crash tests and an Advanced rating on the collision prevention and mitigation test after it minimized the impact of a 12-mph collision by 10 mph (Good is the highest possible score and Superior is the highest rating in the collision prevention and mitigation test). The Golf GTI comes with active safety features such as forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control as standard or as part of the Driver Assistance package.

What We Think

The Volkswagen Golf GTI continues to offer an excellent blend of driving enjoyment and practicality wrapped in a package that feels more expensive than it actually is. We gave the Golf GTI the win in a four-car comparison test that also included the previous generation Honda Civic Si, Mini Hardtop Cooper S and Subaru Impreza WRX because of its combination of speed, agility, refinement and affordability. However, we did note in a 2015 First Test that the optional dual-clutch automatic is no longer quicker than the manual and while the electronic nannies are less intrusive, they’re still non-defeatable in the Golf GTI.

Stepping up to the Golf R takes the Golf GTI formula and amplifies it a bit by giving it all-wheel drive, more power, and even better handling without sacrificing refinement. In a 2015 Golf R First Test, we noted that the Golf is even more potent with plenty of power on tap and handling chops that rival serious sports cars like the Ford Mustang GT. Braking performance, however, wasn’t as good as expected with the car taking 108 feet to stop from 60 mph, which is longer than the less powerful GTI. In a comparison test against the Subaru WRX STI, the Golf R took the win thanks mainly because it offers world class performance alongside exceptional levels of refinement.

Cool Fact

The Golf GTI originally debuted in 1975.

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