- We like...Looks, poise, drive
- We don't...Wheels horribly easy to 'kerb'
The sixth GTi in 34 years and it's terrific to drive, to look at and to own. Click here to learn why we like it so muchIt just gets better. The Golf GTi’s 34-year history has had its peaks and dips but this, the sixth and newest of the line is simply... terrific.
First up, it looks right, and that’s no small thing when there’s so much history involved and owners expect so much. What’s done is quite understated. To our eyes, the current Golf is the bonniest and also the most aggressive yet, so the base car is a good place from which to start. There’s a spoiler, a front diffuser and the subtlest of body skirts to mark it apart from other Golfs, but it’s enough. And those ‘chopper blade’ alloys look great, though we fear that they'll also be way too easy to scrape against the kerb when parking.
Inside, there are ‘trad’ checked seats, and the same class and sobriety you find in all. VW manages to ‘do’ cabins better than anyone else at the money and it’s all great.
For this car, VW has pegged back the exhaust emissions to move it a band cheaper for road tax and boosted fuel economy so that it’ll push close to 40mpg overall. All this despite coaxing a further 10bhp from its 2.0-litre petrol turbo. It’s a civilised motor this, smooth and able to push hard from low revs and giving a nice exhaust gurgle as the revs build.
Slipping it through the gears is a treat because the shift is so quick, easy and intuitive, while wheel and pedals combine to give you a car you’ll quickly drive as if by your senses, rather than any conscious movement. It’s a little belter but it feels grown-up, too – it’s hushed at motorway speeds and, despite its skinny-sided tyres, there’s enough squidge in the springs and dampers for it to stay remarkably comfortable. You can pick your ride from ‘Comfort’ or ‘Sport’ settings but, truth be told, it ds everything just fine if left in the first of these two. There’s a wonderful sureness and accuracy to the way it’ll thread through a bend but there’s none of the nervousness that other ‘sporty’ cars can display.
And, like every Golf, it’s as practical as can be. There’s enough space for five grown-ups at once plus a sensible-sized, squarish boot, which you can enlarge by dropping the rear seats. The cabin has places for pens, phones and sunglasses, while there’s a neat hook-up for your iPod in the storage between the front seats.
The car’s fine as it is but you can easily add thousands to the order price by adding satellite navigation, leather seats or an up-spec stereo. Talking of price, it costs a lot – enough to see you thinking instead of something with BMW’s blue and white propeller on the nose. Good value? Well, let’s say first that VW’s new, handsome and very want-able Scirocco is £1000 cheaper.
It’s a close run thing, and since the Scirocco seats just four we’d take the Golf without a moment’s regret if we regularly needed to travel five-up. Otherwise, we’d go for the Scirocco. But it would be a really close-run thing. And a wonderful decision to find yourself faced with.
To read the motors.co.uk review of the Volkswagen Scirocco - and watch the video - click here
To view and buy new and second-hand Golf GTis on motors.co.uk, click here
- Engines2.0 petrol turbo
- 0-60 mph6.9secs
- Insurance groups17
Motors.co.uk value verdict: