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Feels Expensive Because It Is - 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI Long-Term Road Test Posts: 10,112
edited March 2015 in Volkswagen
imageFeels Expensive Because It Is - 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI Long-Term Road Test

We heap a lot of praise on our 2015 Volkswagen GTI for its expensive feel. Turns out, that's because it's expensive.

Read the full story here


  • fordson1fordson1 Posts: 1,512
    So many reviews say this same thing...get a base or midrange GTI rather than a loaded one. Well, I have a loaded one and all those reviews are wrong...and the reason they're wrong is the basic sophistication, refinement, build quality and materials quality are such that the GTI makes a very convincing small luxury car.

    The Mazda3 is a very, very good hatchback, but some of the lux details seem a little cheap, like the HU display, that after seeming a bit Rube Goldberg at first impression, went on the fritz later. Also it came with really cheap OEM tires, it's a pretty loud car on the highway, had several squeaks and rattles, even after a trip to the dealer, and the infotainment system has some really modest origins. The brakes faded in performance testing and eventually the rotors warped, which is a strong indication that they are probably slightly undersized.

    While the 3 has a competent, pleasant-to-use drivetrain and fine road manners with a sporting feel, its go-stop-turn performance envelope is not in the same class as the GTI's - ELEVEN MPH slower in the slalom - hello?

    And now another commenter will say that the 3 and the GTI should not even be compared to one another.

    My point exactly.
  • DebunkerDebunker Posts: 49
    I have a 2015 GTI S stick, the base car. It's pretty convincing as a small luxury car even in this most basic form. Having had several Audis, I think the GTI compares quite favorably with either the A3 or A4. Maybe the A4's longer wheelbase makes for a bit more serene ride, but that's about it. And the GTI is a heck of a lot better performer than either of the Audis. Not even close. In fact, I'd say that if you can't afford a Boxter, get a GTI.
  • bc1960bc1960 Pittsburgh, PAPosts: 171
    Well, a Golf TSI SEL runs over $28K even if you don't get the HIDs and driver assistance package, and it doesn't have the leather, the 2.0T, the 18" wheel/tire package, and the suspension and brake upgrades, to name the most obvious improvements. The TDI SEL $29-30K, while losing IRS. Whereas the A3 is more expensive in generally comparable spec, whether you get the less powerful FWD or the GTI engine with quattro. In this context it's possible to persuade yourself that the GTI is a bargain. I agree the Mazda3 is not presently targeting the same market, but it's still the one I would (actually, did) choose despite its flaws because of the price/value and ability to be configured the way I wanted, which the Golf and GTI could not (which I have explained to VW several times, since they keep emailing me questionnaires after somehow discovering I bought a "competing" make/model).
  • throwbackthrowback Posts: 445
    Two ways to view this car I think. Ed you make a good case, however compare this car to the Audi A3. I like the look of the A3, but what are you getting from a more expensive FWD A3 than you get with this car? In that comparison I think the VW is a relative bargain, and I am willing to bet a fully loaded GTi will retain it's value better than a FWD lightly optioned A3.
  • bankerdannybankerdanny Posts: 1,021
    The problem with your comparison is that the GTI does not compete with the Mazda3, the Golf 1.8T does.

    When you compare apples-to-apples, the Golf competes quite strongly and I would bet, based on my experience with the previous VW 1.8T engine in my MkIV Jetta, that the VW engine is much better to live with than either version of the SkyActive engine.
  • sharpendsharpend Posts: 177
    edited March 2015
    Therefore. A Honda Fit is $11,000 cheaper than that Mazda3. Why would anyone buy a Mazda3?
  • christoplechristople United StatesPosts: 27
    $31 grand gets you a loaded WRX at MSRP. I think I would spend my money on the AWD at that point

    "Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that"

  • fordson1fordson1 Posts: 1,512

    $31 grand gets you a loaded WRX at MSRP. I think I would spend my money on the AWD at that point

    The WRX is an example of the other extreme - an Impreza is a $20,000 car that looks, rides, sounds, feels like a $17,000 car...and you make that into a WRX for 31k and it's like riding around in a very fast shopping cart. I have a friend whose kid has a two-year-old WRX and it's the only car I know of with helical gears in the tranny and diffs...that sounds like it's got all straight-cut gears. They think that the air between the door skins and the door cards is sound insulation.

  • " I think I would have to agree with Erin that this car would be even more impressive if it was optioned in a way that brought the price down significantly."

    If only some of your readers would voice that we think it would be good to buy something other than the most loaded version of a car sometime. Oh, wait, we do, every time.

    On my last car purchase I was set with getting a more base model and then I made the mistake of driving the top model. After that the base model just looked cheap inside. I fall for the same thing at the new car shows; they put the top model car out there and have price information about the 'starting price' next to it. Once I build one the way their demo looked it is 10,000 over what I was thinking.
  • DebunkerDebunker Posts: 49
    zimtheinvader, that's what's so special about the base Golf or GTI. Neither one feels the least bit cheap or the victim of cost-cutting. The essential quality is always there. It's rather a question of which additions you feel you want, such as a sunroof or the DSG, etc.
  • isn't the whole point of a long-tern test to see how different options hold up, and work, over time? I'm ok with fully loaded cars because this way you can truly see what options are worth getting and which are going to turn into money-pits. Mercedes ABC, anyone?
  • Had a Mark 6 as base as can be, replaced with Mark 6 Autobahn and just added Mark 7 SE. Having driven all 3 extensively, I'll agree that the essential drive qualities of the lower range GTI are equivalent to the top level. But the top level is also, to me and my wife, much nicer to live with. Just like it is in a luxury car, you don't have to have it, but it's nice to have. Backup camera is nice. Leather seats are nice. Xenons are more than nice. And the Performance Pack's limited slip diff is way more than nice. I'd be happy in a base GTI but I'm definitely happier in the upper level variant.
  • surge9surge9 Posts: 2
    I've owned VWs for decades and sure other brands have great cars, but when it comes to handling and ride, VW beats Mazada, Subaru and the rest. Traded in Passat with 85k on it 3 years ago for VW GTI autobann with 20k on it, and every time I get in it I'm amazed at how much performance VW packed into the car for what I only paid around 20k for. Buying a slightly used GTI is best car deal out there. HUGE value, for truly great car.

    My only hesitancy around VW is that after about 85k, my past cars have started to develop costly problems, and my experience with cars like Subaru is while they lack the comfort and driveability of a VW, they last practically forever with minimal maintenance, though I've had good luck with Audi.
  • I'm looking at a loaded GTI for one reason - Audi's American dealer network won't sell me an A3 hatch with a manual and high performance 2 liter Turbo. Dear Audi - bring an A3 hatch here for $33K - the world will beat a path to your door.
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