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.
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.
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.
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