Enthusiasts like nothing more than to crucify modern interpretations of their favorite performance models for failing to live up to some imagined ethos. Even the Volkswagen GTI has suffered its fair share of slings and arrows for growing in size and curb weight. Chris Harris recently spent some time with the all-new MK VII GTI to find out if growing up means giving up on what makes the machine so special.

Judging by his comments, Harris certainly doesn't think so. Yes, the new GTI is considerably more comfortable than its predecessors, but that's hardly a bad thing. The multitude of driving modes actually seem to add depth to the car rather than simply try to force one tool to do many jobs, and Harris even finds the machine's electronic power steering tolerable. As a result, Harris goes so far as to call the Volkswagen GTI "one of the best cars to actually own." How's that for high praise? You can watch the video for yourself by scrolling below.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 62 Comments
      D E S I G N
      • 1 Year Ago
      this guy is awesome, all his reviews are clear concise and to the point, with no bullshit music in the background. excellent.
      Hello, Brian
      • 1 Year Ago
      Can't wait to drive one for myself. No matter what the haters say, the GTI is a fantastic choice for people who own one car. It's not a track car, but it does everything well. You can put it on the highway for 8 hours and not get beaten up, you can take it on back roads and actually have fun with it, and it is practical for hauling 4-5 people or larger objects. With that being said, how is it that BMw can sell a 135i M for so little in the UK? Under $45K VAT included? Wow!
      stp
      • 1 Year Ago
      "They look like Gollum!!" - nearly did a for-reals coffee spit take when I heard that.
      J
      • 1 Year Ago
      We have a '12 GTI. There are some things I dislike about the car (build quality in spots, some of the control layouts could be better), but as an overall daily driver, it does everything reasonably well enough to be a car one can be happy with.
        BG
        • 1 Year Ago
        @J
        I agree. My wife has a '09 GTI with manual trans., and it is a lot of fun as a daily driver. People still tell her how much they like her GTI.
        ElvisOnVelvet
        • 1 Year Ago
        @J
        I also have a MK6 GTI no problems yet, still loving it. Swiss Army Knife of a car.
      G_Rock
      • 1 Year Ago
      This car makes a lot more sense in the States than it does in the UK. Here the price gap between any new 135i and the GTI (similarly equipped) is probably around $15k. A lot more attractive of an option. Now if you bring used 135s into the equation...
        D E S I G N
        • 1 Year Ago
        @G_Rock
        i think the only thing that the 135 can be compared to is a rotting banana, because that's exactly what that f'n fugly thing looks like, I wouldn't be caught dead or alive in that thing, someone at bmw is sabotaging their design, they used to have such beautiful cars and now they're all ugly and disfigured.
      bamar8r
      • 1 Year Ago
      "probably weights a little bit less"... WTF? Try 135i weights 400lbs MORE!
      ravenosa
      • 1 Year Ago
      Still FWD. Still a tarted-up Wabbit. Other than the Civic Si, I can't think of a "hot hatch" I'd want any less...
        jonnybimmer
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ravenosa
        FWD?? Oh how horrible! You would have thought after 40 years of making them, this year they'd decide to do the right thing and ditch the FWD layout, just like all of the other real hot hatches out there, because driving FWD cars is horrible, you just understeer everywhere. /S
      550PlusX5
      • 1 Year Ago
      Just get a miata and call it a day.
      cgm9999
      • 1 Year Ago
      I've said it before and I'll say it again. The GTI is special for two reasons: 1.) It does everything well, and nothing poorly (performance, fuel efficiency, cost to own, practicality, fun-to-drive, build quality, refinement, etc.); 2.) For the perceived weaknesses it does have (not enough performance is often claimed, but not necessarily true), the aftermarket has addressed. Thus, you have a car that does everything well and if you need it needs a bit more spice, there's an affordable and available answer for you. Need more speed? Get a tune/intercooler/exhaust/bigger turbo. Want it harder edged? Get one of the many suspension and brake kits available. The list goes on. Moral of story? You can easily and affordably add power and performance to a GTI, but no amount of money can transform the interior of an Si/ST/SE-R/MS3 into the GTI's. From that perspective, the GTI is a hell of a car. P.S. I owned a 2008 GTI w/DSG and an APR tune all the way to 140k miles. Doing regular maintenance, I only had two issues: a popping subframe that was remedied with a recall, and a cracked PCV valve that was covered under warranty. With regular maintenance (which isn't near as expensive as some people crow about), my GTI never left me stranded.
        RGT881
        • 1 Year Ago
        @cgm9999
        Werd I got an MKV and it does everything so well, size, comfort, fuel mileage, reliability, performance, luxury. Now back to watching Alf re-runs.
      navypond
      • 1 Year Ago
      Reliability problems... no thanks...
        Hello, Brian
        • 1 Year Ago
        @navypond
        Seriously, oh wise soothsayer? The car isn't even for sale here yet.
      Number23
      • 1 Year Ago
      VW's atrocious long term reliability keeps me away from any of their products, as nice as they may seem on a test drive.
        Christopher Anderson
        @Number23
        My 03 GTI has 183,000 hard-worn miles and I've had three failures in the 60,000 miles I've had it (two coolant fittings and an alternator). If you stay up with the maintenance, they will outlast anything in the road.
        Lachmund
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Number23
        there are two possible reasons: fairytales or the owners' stupidity
        Jeremiah White
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Number23
        I'm driving a 2000 golf 2.slow with over 200k miles on it. The stereo is the only thing to die a catastrophic death so far. Maintenance is paramount.
          J
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jeremiah White
          My Mk1 1975 Scirocco lasted 250,000 miles My 1977 Datsun 280z lasted 150,000 miles before the transmission started eating me out of house and home My Mk2 1987 GTI lasted 624,000 miles. My Mk3 1997 2.0 slow Jetta is still my daily driver @ 425,000 miles and going strong My Mk4 2003 Wolfsburg Jetta 1.8t is at 225,000 and and going strong My Wife's B5.5 2003 Passat GLS 1.8T is at 175,000 and going strong Perhaps as a car owner, NightFlight is more of a lemon than his former Jetta GLX VR6.
      Fazzster
      • 1 Year Ago
      The reliability argument is a thing of the past. I traded my CC with 90k miles for a 2013 GTI and was very reliable. I have owned a 1st gen Mazdaspeed3 and a pair of WRXs. I can tell you folks, power is not everything. The GTI really is the best balanced hot hatch out there. You cannot match the quality and craftsmanship (especially the interior) in any of the Japanese of American competition, period. I like pointing out the door hinges as a quick example of how the Germans built a car. Sold blocks of steel, not cheap stamped steel mounts. I am looking forward to the MkVII but not thrilled about it being assembled in Mexico. I am glad I snatched up the last of the German built GTIs for North America.
        1STH
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Fazzster
        this is autoblog commenters you are talking to.....not exactly in tuned with what 'quality' means...most people here just use HP:weight:price ratios to justify any automobile-----in other words, the dumbest mean for comparing cars.
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