The humble Volkswagen Golf has been around since 1974 and is currently in its 8th generation-not bad I must say. It’s small, practical, cheap, and pretty reliable if you treat it right. Now take this little economy car, strap a turbo to it, and you get the GTI; this little pocket rocket is bound to make you smile.
Thanks to our friend, Lorenzo (@thespeedyguidy) we have been able to live with a very special GTI for the last week, and the car has been very impressive to say the least. Definitely not what we expected.
The Looks and Interior
Judging by the looks, the GTI just looks like a tastefully modified VW Golf. Now, that’s not a bad thing; the 7th Generation Golf is rather handsome for what it is, but it’s not very eye catching if you know what I mean.
Interior wise though, things start to get good. Keep in mind that this is a Volkswagen, not a Rolls Royce, but if you option leather seats-which our car had-the interior is a very nice place to be. The seats are comfortable for long road trips, yet they still manage to hold you very tight when you decide to do some spirited driving.
Keep in mind, the car is German so everything is pretty easy to find and operate. However, I do have one gripe with the interior, the infotainment in particular. Now I don’t know if this is because there is a flaw or because Lorenzo’s car just didn’t like me, but the bluetooth audio decided to mute my music every time I got a notification on my phone, and didn’t raise the volume back up. That got really annoying really fast. Also, I couldn’t really figure out how to switch off the car’s hillstart assist which is not a deal breaker by any means, but it took some getting used to.
I’ll say it right now, if you want a fun, cheap, practical daily driver, the GTI is easily one of your Top 5 best choices, probably Top 3 if you’re looking for a new car. It’s spacious, comfortable, and very easy to drive. Lorenzo is a man of taste so he got his car with the 6 speed manual, and I know what it’s like to daily a manual in LA traffic so trust me when I say this is the lightest clutch you’ll ever operate. The car is so easy to drive and with that hill assist, traffic jams are a breeze. It’s also got plenty of space to take friends, pets, groceries, you name it; this is a great daily driver. Plus, it’s only a 4 cylinder so you can get great gas mileage, 24 city/34 highway.
How It Drives
This is where the fun begins. For those that don’t know, the GTI is powered by a turbocharged 2.0 liter 4 cylinder engine that pushes out 217 hp and 258 lbs/ft of torque; Lorenzo’s car has the performance package which boosts power up to 227 hp (torque stays the same). I know, it really doesn’t sound like much, but the key word here is, “turbo.” I said the GTI was fun, not fast, but when that turbo spools up, I found myself grinning from ear to ear. It’s so funny because under normal load, it’s just like any boring old 4 cylinder but when you get on the throttle, this thing flies. The turbo lag is so atrociously bad that you can’t help but laugh and do it again. This thing picks up speed too once that turbo gets going (I’m smiling right now just thinking about it).
For what it is, the driving feel is not bad at all. Sure the engine revs drop too slow to shift fast and the driving feel is nothing compared to say a Porsche, but for a FWD hatchback, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Again, I would like to thank Lorenzo for lending us his car to review. Lorenzo has been there for us since the very beginning and we can’t thank him enough for this opportunity. We really owe him one. Aside from being a great guy and passionate enthusiast, Lorenzo also has an Instagram page (@thespeedyguidy) and a YouTube channel where he uploads amazing car reviews (The Speedy Guidy). I would definitely recommend checking it out. He also has a cool podcast (@comininclutchshow).
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