2010 Volkswagen Golf GTI Road Test Review

Alexandra Straub - CAP staff
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The all-new 2010 Volkswagen Golf GTI is what I like to call a little ball of fire. I gave it that name because of its fiery Tornado Red exterior colour, its newly-styled aerodynamically rounded shape, its hot-to-trot personality, and also because of the explosive engine under its hood; VW's 16-valve, DOHC, 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. Make no mistake. This GTI is ready to haul asphalt whenever put to the challenge. And thanks to the optional 6-speed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) automatic transmission, with Tiptronic shifter, Sport mode and steering column-mounted paddles, it has the capability. The 0-100km/h acceleration time in the GTI with the dual clutch transmission is just 6.9 seconds. That's not too bad for my little ball of fire! Burn, baby, burn!

The GTI also has handling capabilities that further add to its fireball persona. As demonstrated to me by my editor, this sport-tuned suspension is quite phenomenal. When pushed into sharp corners at higher speeds the GTI has no problem saying, "Go ahead… make my day!" In fact, this three-door has the rigidity to hold itself upright amazingly well, without even breaking a sweat, and its optional 225/40 R18 H all-season tires with 18" alloy wheels ($975) gripped the road very confidently. There is minimal body roll and it feels solid the whole way through even the tightest of corners. When demonstrating its handling capabilities to my passengers I heard a lot of nervous laughter in the cabin, and sensed death-grips on the door handles. The end result, although, was not so squeamish. Everybody seemed to have a good time and commented that they didn't know the GTI was that capable. After everyone was out of the car, my closing remarks were, "Kids, don't try this at home." It's amazing how an old joke can still get a laugh when you get their adrenaline piqued.

Aside from my little fireball's amazing driving dynamics, it's the finishing touches and attention to detail that make this vehicle so favourable. It's not uncommon to find a vehicle with a powerful engine, decent suspension and racy good looks, but it is less common to find one that looks and feels so good on the inside, too. The soft-touch materials and overall fit and finish rival that of luxury brands like Audi, BMW, and even Mercedes-Benz. No matter where I put my hand, the plastics were pleasant to the touch. Even the seat belt buckle had a velvety finish to it. Also, all the pillars in the GTI were wrapped with a high-quality woven fabric, which not only makes it look good, but helps keep the cabin noise down. The red stitching on the 3-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob created a nice contrast and looked very cool. My example's interior also came with the Leather Package ($2,600), therefore no matter where I sat it felt smooth against my backside.

Of course, sitting in the driver's seat is where I belong, and what I like most! And when taking command, I loved the feel of the multifunction steering wheel along with the sport bucket seats. Not to mention there are heated seats so I could stay warm on the cold winter days. The touch screen from the optional Tech Package ($1,900) was relatively easy to use, but got a little fussy sometimes when I was controlling my iPod from the Media Device Interface (MDI.) It also required me to look away from the road a little more than I would have liked. Then again, the additional fussing was worth it because the quality of the stereo system was pretty awesome thanks to the premium Dynaudio, 300-watt digital sound package (this is a feature that's part of the Tech Package).

Although the doors of my 3-door GTI open quite wide and the front seats slide forward automatically, it still proves to be chore for taller or larger-than-average individuals to get in and out of the rear seats. It's not easy, but once in back there's generous headroom and decent legroom to compensate.

Fuel economy in my little fireball wasn't too bad. It uses an estimated 8.7L/100km in the city and 6.3L/100km on the highway. For a performance machine that's pretty impressive, but remember that the GTI takes premium fuel so it costs just a little extra to keep running in peak condition.

So, pump prices aside, how much will a 2010 VW Golf GTI cost you initially? Well, the base price with the optional 6-speed automatic is $30,075. When adding the 18" alloy wheels, plus the Tech and Leather Package, the price swiftly jumps to $37,005 (a number that includes the $1,365 freight and PDI charge). Just by looking at these numbers I feel somewhat deterred, but with all things considered, especially its meticulously detailed interior, well-endowed powertrain, and dashing good looks, $30k doesn't sound that bad. Yes, it has a premium price tag, but you get a premium kind of German-engineered performance car for that money, making it feel like a steal of a deal after all.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Hatchback, Volkswagen, VW, Golf, GTI, $30,000 - $39,999,

Organizations: Volkswagen, GTI

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