If you are looking at the market for a hot hatch you are probably down to a shortlist of cars including the VW Golf GTI, Ford Focus ST, Honda Civic Type R, Hyundai i30N, or the Mazda3. I’m here to tell you why you should just grab a Volkswagen GTI instead.
It should be noted that the VW Golf GTI comes from a pedigree and a heritage that none of the other competitors can even imagine. You are talking about 8 generations of ultimate hot hatch performance, that’s what the Golf GTI is all about. It’s been on numerous top 10 lists for the past few decades and it’s a fun car that can easily be a daily. That’s what makes the GTI so great, it really balances fun car, daily driver, and affordability all in one great hatchback.
The Golf GTI is a high-performance hot hatch powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged direct-injection engine (TSI) producing 241 horsepower and 273lb feet of torque. You can mate the engine to either a 6 speed manual transmission or a dual-clutch automatic transmission. From there the options are broken down into trim levels including the S (base), SE, and Autobahn. The sweet spot seems to be the SE trim, which is the mid-level and includes standard LED headlights, leather interior, blind-spot monitoring, and a panoramic sunroof. I would recommend sticking with the Golf GTI in the SE trim level and the 6 speed manual transmission.
The 2.0-litre turbocharged engine mated to the 6-speed manual transmission can best be described in one word, fun. Seriously, it’s a great amount of power that is instantly on tap making the acceleration really enjoyable. The car handles excellent as it is nimble and responsive, taking the corners in stride. The GTI reacts to any steering changes quickly and accurately just as you’d want regardless of whether you are putting the petal to the metal or cruising to work.
Then there is the fuel economy and comfort. The GTI provides good numbers for fuel economy considering the performance capabilities of this car. It is rated for 24 mpg city and 32 mpg highway with the automatic transmission while the manual transmission gets 23 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. The interior inside is well designed and straight to the point which is nice. You aren’t going to spend a ton of time trying to figure out where things or how to activate features. You can fit four people into the GTI and have them ride in comfort for a reasonable amount of time. The rear seats do also fold down and there are in-cabin storage cubbies in case you are transporting more than usual.
So then let’s talk about the price point. The Golf GTI starts at $28,695 (or $35,995 for our Canadian friends) which easily puts it at the same price or less compared to the competitors. If you go for the SE trim level, you are looking at $32,665. Right now VW is also offering low interests, as low as 0% financing depending on the term length you are looking for. This is not bad at all for a hot hatch that is capable of 0-60 in 5.9 seconds and the quarter mile in 15.3 seconds. When you combine the price with the performance and capabilities of the GTI, it is a no brainer for anyone interested in a hot hatch in current market conditions.