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The Volkswagen Golf GTI is arguably the hottest of hot hatches. Though it’s uncommon for one car to define a segment, the GTI has solidified VW’s position among hatchbacks for the past 40 years. The new Golf GTI continues to earn accolades for its snappy acceleration, sharp handling, and liftback practicality. Still, seeing the 2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI in Good Housekeeping’s “Best New Family Cars” roundup is surprising. But here’s why this VW is a family car for cool parents.

Why is the 2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI the ideal family car for cool parents?

2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI family car
Volkswagen Golf GTI | Volkswagen

Combining the functionality of a compact five-passenger hatchback with the thrilling ride of a sports car, the 2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI is the perfect pick for small families that value performance. According to Good Housekeeping, Volkswagen popularized the “hot hatch” concept four decades ago with the first GTI. Now in its eighth generation, the GTI remains a favorite among enthusiasts who want to feel connected to the road.

Parents will also appreciate the Golf’s excellent safety ratings and maneuverability, making it easy to navigate traffic. In addition, the 2023 GTI boasts plenty of advanced driver-assistance systems. Parents will appreciate the automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, blind-spot warning, and rear traffic alert. The car also offers adaptive cruise control with emergency assist, automatically stopping the vehicle and turning on the hazard lights when it senses no driver activity.

For parents who don’t want to give up the joy of driving, the 2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI also offers a manual transmission option. Furthermore, Good Housekeeping explains that in addition to its practical sportiness and modern tech, the GTI boasts vintage plaid upholstery, making it the cool parents’ car. 

The 2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI’s performance specs, cargo space, and price impress too

Rear hatch of the Golf GTI with seats folded flat
2023 VW Golf GTI open cargo area | Volkswagen

Though the 2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI is a surprising winner among family cars, its performance chops are well known. Its peppy engine delivers 241 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. Car and Driver reviewers praise the 2.0-liter engine for its 13-hp upgrade from the previous version. The 2023 model also has an updated suspension, a well-tuned chassis, and an electronically controlled limited-slip differential. This little car can move from 0 to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds and stop quickly too.

In addition, VW revamped the 2023 model to provide more passenger space and cargo room. Families get seating for five and almost 20 cubic feet of cargo space — excellent for a compact car. Pairing the GTI’s performance credentials with a 30 mpg combined makes this VW hatch a superb pick for cool parents.

With a starting price of $30,530, the 2023 Golf GTI also provides plenty of value. It boasts a large 10-inch infotainment touchscreen, several charging ports, wireless charging, and Apple Carplay and Android Auto integration. And families who want to crank their music will appreciate the available Harman Kardon premium sound system.

Other vehicles on Good Housekeeping’s 2023 ‘Best New Family Cars’ list

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2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI 40th Anniversary Edition: Price, Features, and Value

Alongside the 2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI, Good Housekeeping lists 24 other vehicle categories. Among electric cars, the BMW i4 took the top spot, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 ranked best in the electric crossover category, and the Ford F-150 Lightning was the best electric pickup truck. The Toyota Prius dominated hybrid cars, the Subaru Outback outranked all other station wagons, and the Ram 1500 topped the pickup truck category.

The 2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI is an athletic, peppy, practical family car that can maneuver easily and serve as a sensible daily driver. However, cool parents who don’t want to give up the joy of driving will appreciate the available manual transmission and retro upholstery.