You Really Should Buy a Volkswagen Golf GTI

There are plenty of great cars in the world. There are great cars that do everything well, and the cost reflects like the Lamborghini Urus. Some vehicles do a few things well enough to make it worth the more spartan appointments like a base-trim pick-up truck or economy cars like the Chevy Silverado or Honda Fit. These examples either require a lot of money or sacrifice. The Volkswagen Golf GTI has managed to live in the liminal space between cost and sacrifice.

A very abridged backstory of the Golf GTI

The GTI hasn’t always been the whole package. There was once a time when Volkswagen was dedicated to a simple, conservative, pocketbook-friendly approach to car building. In 1976 Volkswagen launched the Golf GTI as a thimble-sized two-door hatch, with a 110-hp motor, all rolling down the road on what looks like lawnmower tires. Comfort, grace, and style were not words that one would associate with the early Golf GTI or really any early Volkswagen. 

1981 Volkswagen Golf Gti Mk1, 2000
1981 Volkswagen Golf Gti Mk1, 2000 | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

Although the Golf GTI is not exactly fancy or well equipped for the majority of its iterations. They were known for being a fun and visceral driving experience for those looking for an inexpensive and straightforward, rip around. This was the case for quite some time until the Mk5 Volkswagen Golf GTI emerged. According to Car and Driver, in 2003, the Golf GTI began to transform from a bare-bones hot hatch to a tech-equipped car that offers some semblance of comfort and even luxury. 

Car and Driver said that the following (Mk6) model gets more than just a facelift. Major overhauls of the model were made, like interior, power, and tech. This trend continues in kind with every following model by getting better equipped with tech, lighter, more agile, more options, and power.

The current Golf GTI

It hardly matters which newer Golf GTI you spring for; they tend to be beloved by reviewers and owners. Car and Driver outline the greatness of the 2021 Golf GTI by reminding us that the Golf GTI has continued to win the 10Best award, which it has done multiple times in the past. The 2021 Golf GTI really doesn’t change much from the 2020 version at all, which isn’t a problem. 

The 228-hp four-cylinder is an agreed-upon all-time great. It’s peppy and fast without being too much or uncontrollable. VW has remained faithful to its motoring enthusiast base by continuing to offer the Golf GTI in manual, a six-speed at that! If a driver so chooses, of course, an automatic dual-clutch gearbox is an option. 

Car and Driver keeps the praise fest going by reporting expectedly tight and responsive steering, a friendly clutch, and 2 mpg higher than the EPA reported fuel efficiency average at 36 mpg. But wait, there’s more. The interior is well equipped with tech, 12-way adjustable seats, roomy seating (for a hot hatch), Bluetooth, and Apple CarPlay. 

The Golf GTI continues to get great safety and crash ratings and one of the best “bumper-to-bumper” warranties at six years or 72,000 miles. It’s not only fast, fuel-efficient, fun, and well-equipped, but it is also a responsible car that will make you feel like an adult while ripping around town like a teenager. I wouldn’t call these cheap, but from $30,000 for the base up to $38,000 top-trim Autobahn. The Golf GTI offers an unrivaled bang for the buck. 

Das Auto is right

Volkswagen Golf GTIs have always been fun, exciting cars to drive. For the last decade, the GTI has been working on and finally achieved its final form – comfortable, fast, fun, reasonable, responsible, safe, reliable, good looking, and an incredible all-around deal for the money. 

A VW Golf I GTI pictured in the Automechanika exhibition grounds. More than 3 million so-called classic cars are registered in Germany, three times as many as ten years ago.
Volkswagen Golf GTI | Silas Stein/picture alliance via Getty Images

What’s the Best Year for the Volkswagen Golf GTI?

I don’t care which Volkswagen Golf GTI you want, just go get one. Its been a tough year. I bet you deserve it.