Americans never embraced the "hot hatch" concept with the same vigor as Europeans, but that didn't stop Volkswagen from giving us our first taste of performance-tuned hatchbacks with the Rabbit-based GTI in 1983. Back then, automotive journalists lauded the 90-horsepower GTI for its eagerness and refined road manners.
With 200 horsepower on tap, the current GTI's turbocharged 2-liter engine more than doubles the original car's output. But the traits that made the original GTI so appealing remain. With prices that start under $25,000, VW's sporty hatchback is a good value for any driving enthusiast.