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2018 Volkswagen GTI

Volkswagen GTI OEM Exterior Primary Photo
OEM Interior Primary
OEM Exterior
OEM Exterior
OEM Interior
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Expert Rating
Unavailable

Our expert ratings are based on seven comprehensive criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value.

You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.

: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.

: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.

: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.

: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.

Select a Trim
Select a Trim
2018 2.0T S 4dr Hatchback
most popular
Price:   -  From $26,415
2018 2.0T SE 4dr Hatchback Price:   -  From $30,470
2018 2.0T Autobahn 4dr Hatchback Price:   -  From $35,070

Overview

Still the quintessential hot hatchback, the 2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI is back with a mild but tasteful update. The GTI continues to be a car for all people: it’s a workhorse for the grocery runs and a go-kart for the S-bends. With a base model costing well under $30,000, it’s also something of a bargain. The GTI may not be the quickest hot hatch out there, but it’s likely the most polished.

What's New for 2018

The most mouth-watering change for the 2018 GTI is under the hood, where the 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder gains 10 horsepower to bring its total to 220 (as long as you use premium fuel). Enthusiasts will also appreciate the limited-slip differential and the stronger brakes, both standard on the upgraded SE and Autobahn trims. The GTI finally catches up to the competition by adding large infotainment screens on every model. Safety technology continues to become more accessible on all trims, and the upper trims can now add LED headlights. The 2017 model’s “Sport” trim has been erased in favor of the current three-trim lineup. Of particular interest to buyers, all GTIs will now be covered by VW’s six-year or 72,000-mile limited warranty.

Volkswagen GTI

Choosing Your Volkswagen GTI

No matter which GTI you pick, you’ll be getting a capable car. The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine is the same on all trim levels – producing 220 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque – as are the six-speed manual or dual-clutch automatic transmission, which is an $1,100 option. At best, the GTI should hit 60 in around six seconds. LED running lights, a leather steering wheel, a rear-view camera, and automatic post-collision braking are also standard on all models.

With the Sport model gone, the GTI lineup new features three trim levels: S, SE, and Autobahn.

Volkswagen GTI

S

The cheapest, most minimalist version of the GTI will set you back at least $27,265 (including desination fee) for the manual-trans model. The S trim has halogen headlights instead of LED, and features cloth seat surfaces with classic the GTI's traditional plaid inserts. Cruise control and ambient LED lighting are still included, as are heated front seats. The sound system is a basic eight-speaker unit, and the infotainment screen is the smallest of the bunch at 6.5 inches.

Other than those basics, there aren’t a lot of bells and whistles on the S trim, and what you see is what you get – buyers can’t add any optional extras. That may seem like a tough lot, but it helps keep the cost of the GTI S a whopping $4,055 cheaper than the next cheapest trim.

Volkswagen GTI

SE

That trim would be the SE, which adds quite a few luxury features for a starting cost of $31,320. Standard on this trim are a tilt-and-slide sunroof, the new LED headlights, and an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen that comes with a limited subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio (and a CD player, for the old-fasioned).

For drivers who feel that turning keys is for plebeians, the SE features keyless access and push-button start. The safety features get a boost as well, with the SE adding blind-spot monitoring, rear traffic alerts, collision warnings, and automatic emergency braking.

The only optional extra is leather seats. Not only is it a $695 option, but it means missing out on the GTI's iconic plaid chairs, and that's just sad.

Volkswagen GTI

Autobahn

The flagship trim for the GTI starts at $35,920, which is starting to encroach on luxury-brand territory. To compete, the Autobahn trim adds the most luxurious features available on a Golf. These include a power-adjusted driver’s seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and automatic dual-zone climate control.

A premium Fender sound system replaces VW’s setup, and the eight-inch touchscreen now features navigation along with goodies like weather alerts and traffic updates. Adaptive cruise control is now standard, along with all the safety features of the SE trim. Just like the base model, there are no optional extras – what you see is what you get.

CarsDirect Tip

Every GTI is fun to drive and offers a good amount of standard equipment. If you're looking for a taste of luxury, the SE and Autobahn are probably your best options. Whichever model you choose, the Driver Assistance package will ensure your safety on the road and is reasonably priced for what you get.

Get your price on a Volkswagen GTI »

author image
Automotive Editor
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Expert Review

Expert Rating
Unavailable

Our expert ratings are based on seven comprehensive criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value.

You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.

: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.

: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.

: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.

: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.

author image
Automotive Editor

The recipe is simple: take the all-around goodness of a modern hatchback and add power and chassis upgrades. But the ability to make the go-fast parts work – and work together – without compromising that all-around goodness is another matter altogether. Volkswagen's success at blending sometimes-conflicting goals sets the GTI apart: as other manufacturers struggle to balance speed and comfort and utility, VW's hot hatch continues to be the benchmark for combining driver gratification and everyday usability.

Best Value

The GTI is available in three trim levels – S, SE, and Autobahn – and the aggressive price jumps between each are as noteworthy as the content changes. (Aside from the choice of color and transmission and the availability of leather seats on the SE, there are no significant standalone options for the GTI.)

The Autobahn is loaded with enough features to make its upscale Audi cousins take notice, but it is not a serious value consideration. The performance and quality-of-life enhancements on the SE – upgraded brakes and differential, sunroof, push-button start, automatic emergency braking – are compelling, but for cash-conscious buyers the base GTI S brings all the speed and capability at a substantial discount compared to its sisters.

With the bottom line in mind, our recommended configuration for a GTI is as follows:

  • Model: 2018 Volkswagen GTI S
  • Engine: 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder
  • Output: 220 hp / 258 lb-ft
  • Transmission:Six-speed manual
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
  • MPG: 25 City/33 Hwy
  • Options: N/A
  • Base Price:$27,265 (including $850 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price:$27,265

Performance

Volkswagen GTI

The GTI is a master class in traditional Eurosport tuning. It's not a numbers car – acceleration is quick but not scary, and lateral grip is good without threatening your internal organs. Instead, the GTI's performance strengths are intangibles like response and controllability. The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder delivers plenty of immediate, refined power. Handling is nimble and balanced, aided by precise and well-weighted steering. Both driveline and suspension calibrations maximize on-road effectiveness: everything is intuitive and smooth, very usable, and when you turn it up, intensely fun.

Most GTI-inclined buyers will instinctively opt for the six-speed manual gearbox (and yes, so would we) but Volkswagen's automated six-speed dual-clutch transmission is one of the best self-shifters on the market and pairs very well with the turbo engine - the finger-snap shifts keep the boost up and the power flowing smoothly.

The tradeoffs for this civilized speed are minimal. Fuel economy is pleasantly high, and ride comfort tilts firm but is never harsh. The GTI's identity as a hot hatch contains its own limitations, though; all that pragmatic usefulness means that the boxy Volkswagen is never going to be as pure a driving experience as something like a Mazda Miata or the Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86 twins.

Style

If you appreciate the less-is-more aesthetic of midcentury furniture or the designs of Dieter Rams and Jony Ive, the GTI's styling inside and out will be just your cup of rational expression of kinetic ability; others may find it a bit bland, as VW is content to leave ambitious stylistic statements to other carmakers.

The interior is standard modern Volkswagen - logical design, high-quality materials in restrained colors, a begrudging dash of brightwork - although the plaid seat fabric on the S and SE and the trademark golf-ball shift knob provide some welcome cheer (and is iconic in itself). Switches feel substantial, seats are comfortable and supportive, and the infotainment system is excellent in general and notably easier to use than the overcomplicated systems in some rival cars.

The exterior differences between the GTI and the standard Golf are minor to the point of often requiring a double-take: some discreet trim-color changes, slightly more pronounced vents and tailpipes, and different wheels. Those alterations are applied to a design that is handsome and civilized but lacks the dramatic appeal of a Mazda3 or the creativity of a Hyundai Veloster.

The Best and Worst Things

The GTI isn't an ill-mannered hot rod or a brittle tuner car – it's simply a Golf with a bigger and more enjoyable dynamic envelope, which by any measure is a good thing made better. There are literally no downsides to opting for a GTI over the Golf save the moderately higher upfront cost. Even the fuel economy numbers are practically the same.

Identifying the worst thing about the GTI means identifying something bad - or even just not good - about the GTI. We suppose that if the styling doesn't excite you then we understand, and having the moonroof and computer-controlled differential as standalone options would be nice.

Right For? Wrong For?

Volkswagen GTI

Do you take driving seriously, have a life that includes carrying a few kids or the results of the occasional Costco trip, and not want to spend all the money in the world? Get a GTI. It does literally everything a modern vehicle should do short of hauling a soccer team or fording a stream, does it efficiently, and does it with enough speed and verve to put a smile on even the most staid face.

Do you need to carry five people on a regular basis? The back seat is nice for two, not so much for three. Does your ego require a flamboyant chariot? This is not a car you buy to attract attention (and yes, some will see this as a benefit instead). Do you believe that driving should be a joyless grind through a world gone wrong? The GTI's strengths will be lost on you; also, we recommend therapy.

The Bottom Line

If there really is such a thing, the GTI makes a serious claim to being the best all-around car on the market. Nothing else on sale today reconciles so many strong yet disparate attributes – speed, comfort, utility, quality, safety, economy – as well as the GTI. It is a car that firmly rejects the idea that an all-rounder must be a cluster of reduced expectations. We recommend it without reservation.

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Specs & Features

Highlights
Overall Crash Safety Rating
Engine - Cylinders/Horsepower/Torque
2.0L I-4 / 220 HP / 258 ft.lbs.
Transmission
Standard: 6-spd man w/OD
Available: 6-spd Tiptronic auto-shift man w/OD
Drive Type
Front-wheel
Fuel Economy - City/Highway/Combined
25 / 33 / 29 Mpg
Passenger Capacity
5
Bumper to Bumper Warranty
72 Months / 72,000 Miles
Mechanical Specs
Engine - Cylinders/Horsepower/Torque
2.0L I-4 / 220 HP / 258 ft.lbs.
Drive Type
Front-wheel
Fuel Economy - City/Hwy/Combined
25 / 33 / 29 Mpg
Brakes
4-wheel Disc
Front Suspension
Strut
Rear Suspension
Independent Multi-link
Spare Tire And Wheel
Compact Steel
Fuel Tank
13.2 Gal.
Recommended Fuel Type
Premium Unleaded
Average Cost To Fill Tank
$50
Dimensions & Capabilities
Maximum Cargo Volume
53.7 Cu.ft.
Passenger Volume
93 Cu.ft.
Exterior Length
168.0 "
Exterior Width
70.8 "
Exterior Height
57.8 "
Front Headroom
38.4 "
Rear Headroom
38.1 "
Front Legroom
41.2 "
Rear Legroom
35.6 "
Front Shoulder Room
55.9 "
Rear Shoulder Room
53.9 "
Front Hip Room
Rear Hip Room
Curb Weight
3,062 Lbs. / 3,128 Lbs.
Wheel Base
104 "
Turning Radius
17.9 '
Exterior Features
Door Count
4 Doors
Wheels
18.0 " Machined W/painted Accents Aluminum
Paint
Clearcoat Monotone
Exterior Mirrors
Dual Power Remote Heated
Bumpers
Body-colored
Grille Moldings
Black
Rear Spoiler
Lip
Exhaust
Stainless Steel With Chrome Tailpipe Finish
Interior Features
Seating
Passenger Capacity
5
Seat Trim
Premium Cloth
Front Seat Type
Sport Bucket
Heated Front Seats
Driver And Front Passenger Heated-cushion, Heated-seatback
Front Driver Seat Direction Controls
6-way (2-way Power)
Front Passenger Seat Direction Controls
6-way (2-way Power)
Front Armrests
6-way (2-way Power)
Rear Armrests
Center With Pass-thru
Rear Seats
60-40 Bench
Radio & Infotainment
Radio
Am/fm, Seek-scan
Speakers
8
Radio Steering Wheel Controls
Apple Car Play
Android Auto
Bluetooth w/ Hands-Free Connectivity
Convenience Features
Steering Wheel Type
Telescopic Tilt Style
Climate Control
Climatic
Cruise Control
With Steering Wheel Controls
Sun Roof
Rearview Mirror
Day-night / Auto-dimming Day-night
One Touch Open Window
Front And Rear
Tinted Windows
Light
Vanity Mirrors
Dual Illuminated
Remote Keyless Entry
Keyfob (all Doors)
Power Outlets
3
Safety Features
Overall Crash Safety Rating
Overall Front Crash Safety Rating
Overall Side Crash Safety Rating
Rollover Crash Safety Rating
Front Impact Airbags
Driver And Passenger
Driver Side Impact Airbags
Seat Mounted
Knee Airbag
Passenger Side Impact Airbag
Seat Mounted
Rear Side Airbag
Seatbelt Pretensioners
Front
Anti-Lock Brakes
4-wheel Anti-lock Brakes (abs)
Forward Collision Warning
Blind Spot Sensor
Lane Departure Warning
Autonomous Cruise Control
Pedestrian Detection
Driver Attention Alert
Daytime Running Lights
Auto High Beams
Adaptive Headlights
Parking Sensors
Security Systems
Security System
Panic Alarm
Ignition Disable
Immobilizer Iii
Warranty
Bumper To Bumper Months Miles
72 Months / 72,000 Miles
Major Components Months
72 Months / 72,000 Miles
Included Maintenance Months
Roadside Assistance Months
36 Months / 36,000 Miles
Corrosion Perforation
84 Months / 100,000 Miles
Accessories Months

Used 2018 Volkswagen GTI for Sale

5 vehicles found within 100 miles of your area
Volkswagen
2.0T SE 4-Door
Color: White
Price

$19,855

Mileage

75,948 mi

Map location icon

DCH Subaru of Riverside (57 mi)

Phone: (951) 329-9283
Volkswagen
2.0T Autobahn 4-Door
Color: Silver
Price

$20,288

Mileage

66,222 mi

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California Motors Direct (34 mi)

Phone: (714) 515-6100
Volkswagen
2.0T S 4dr Hatchback
Color: White
Price

$20,999

Mileage

68,153 mi

Map location icon

Fontana Motors Direct (55 mi)

Phone: (909) 895-4370
Volkswagen
C
Color: Gray
Price

$24,197

Mileage

22,451 mi

Map location icon

Hyundai of Escondido (94 mi)

Phone: (442) 777-5924
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