Honestly, I wasn’t quite prepared to drive off with this car. I was dressed up and sporting four inch wedgie sandals to later meet a girlfriend for lunch. I thought nothing of it and jumped in the GTI. Needless to say, my foot wasn’t able to detect the feeling of the clutch and I killed the engine while accelerating at a newly changed green light. Seconds later, I was up and running but Jersey Shore, who was behind me at the light, wasn’t happy and mouthed words that I didn’t care to read. I’m just glad she wasn’t behind me the first time I learned to drive a stick. Geesh.
My lunch date ended up cancelling and I sped (not exaggerating either) home to retrieve more appropriate foot attire and momma got her confidence back. I purposely found every reason to drive this car and got all my menial errands, that I had been putting off for weeks, completed in an afternoon. The day went by quickly and it was time to pick up the kids from school.
My daughter saw me pull up and started jumping up and down with excitement. GTI must run through our veins. My son didn’t appear as happy because he thought the car was small and he’d be crammed in the back with his knees pinned around his ears. To his surprise, the backseat has a misleading amount of room and both pony legged kids fit comfortably. My son was relieved.
He then climbed into the front seat. Right away he pointed out the arm rest and how nice it was to have the window controls at an angle. Each of us nestled in the “sport comfort seat” and began checking out the gadgets. The temperature gauge knobs are adequate but the knob on the far right, which indicates where the air blows out, was impossible to read from the driver’s angle. The plaid cloth heated front seats are cozy and handsome although the cloth is a bit scratchy on bare legs.
The eight speaker touchscreen audio system is solid and includes an in-dash CD payer, AM/FM radio, iPod interface, and SIRIUS Satellite Radio with 3-month trial subscription. The center arm rest houses the iPod cord and plug. Bluetooth interface with hands-free calling system comes standard and was simple to set up with our droid phone. I wish this feature was standard on all vehicles as it makes it a safer experience. The Autobahn Package includes the standard features plus a Dynaudio stero, keyless entry with remote start, navigation system, and leather seats.
GTI is a blast to drive, so much so, that I tuned out my bickering kids. My son must have felt ignored and then wanted to know if I thought it was a lot of work having to shift all the time. I tried to explain the fun factor to him. Your hands grip the leather steering wheel, your right food pushes down on the aluminum pedal while your ears are listening for the moment to shift gears which then glide smoothly into place. He looked perplexed. Some things just have to be experienced.
My fun ends when the hubs wants to take it for a spin. He adjusts the height of the seat and his 6 foot 3 inch frame fits in easily. According to the VW sales rep, taller folks really like this car because of the seat adjustment and headroom. Same goes for the not-so-tall. GTI has been designed to make you feel like the car was built just for you. The flat-bottom steering wheel not only is a cool looking feature but allows a little more space for larger builds. GTI is a driver’s car meaning that as a passenger I get to watch the hubs have all the fun. Green with envy.
Driving the GTI is a stress relief and won’t break you at the bank either even though it takes premium gas. Fuel economy for the manual GTI is an EPA-estimated 21/31 mpg city/highway and 24/32 mpg for the DSG transmission. We drive both city and highway and got about 28 mpg during optimal weather. Save more change with VW’s no-charge scheduled Carefree Maintenance Program for 3-year/36,000-mile, whichever occurs first.
This hatchback has hauling capabilities too with 15 cubic feet of trunk space. Fold down the 60/40 split backseat and grow the cargo area to 40 cubic feet. Keep your goods in place with the two tie-down loops (one in each corner) or grocery bag hooks.
Keeping your family safe, GTI standard safety features include anti-lock brakes, traction control and electronic stability system, front seat side impact and side curtain airbags, LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren), and child seat anchor points. Also included is VW’s Intelligent Crash Response System (ICRS). The ICRS activates in an event when the airbags are deployed and turns off the fuel pump, turns on the hazard lights, and unlocks all the doors.
I especially like VW’s thoughtfulness of adding pinch protection on their power windows. When my baby girl was about three years old, I rolled her window up not realizing her head was stuck between the glass and frame. I had no idea what happened until she started screaming. Thankfully she wasn’t seriously hurt but it did leave lines of red welts on her forehead. I was the test subject this time and it was nerve racking having the window roll up to my hand. It looked like it was going to get pinched but as soon as it touched my fingers the window rolled back down. Whew!
Driving GTI makes me feel a bit mischievous. The safety features, well done cabin features and fuel economy makes it smart. Mischievously smart. Has a nice ring to it. Wonder what the 21 to 28 year men will think if the GTI becomes the new mommy-mobile.
2-Door with Convenience and Sunroof $25,945
2-Door with Sunroof and Navigation $27,495
2-Door Autobahn $29,935
4-Door with Convenience and Sunroof $26,545
4-Door with Sunroof and Navigation $28,095
4-Door Autobahn $30,535
3-year/36,000-mile (whichever occurs first) no-charge scheduled Carefree Maintenance™ Program
3-year/36,000-mile (whichever occurs first) Roadside Assistance 1)
3-year/36,000-mile (whichever occurs first) New Vehicle Limited Warranty
5-year/60,000-mile (whichever occurs first) Powertrain Limited Warranty
12-year/unlimited mileage Limited Warranty Against Corrosion Perforation
One week test vehicle from Inver Grove Heights VW in Inver Grove Heights, MN. Total MSRP $26,545