- Class-leading power and acceleration from new VR6.
- Lots of interior space.
- High build quality.
- Trendy 17-inch alloy wheels.
- Decent ride quality.
- Expensive for a hatchback.
- Styling beginning to look dated.
- Sporty suspension does not suppress body roll adequately.
- Large tires causes noisy ride.
- Hides its performance intentions a little too well.
Press Coverage :
Air conditioning, keyless entry/anti-theft system, cruise control, premium stereo (with both cassette and CD players), tilt/telescopic steering wheel, and power windows, locks and mirrors are all standard features on the GTI. Consumers will be impressed by the hatchback's structural rigidity, which not only provides a solid, quiet body with precise gaps between the doors and body panels, but an overall feel of quality. Performance hardware includes 17-inch alloys, four-wheel disc brakes and a sport suspension with front and rear stabilizer bars.
A plethora of safety features is also present. In addition to dual front and side airbags, the GTI comes with a side curtain airbag, which helps to protect the heads of both front and rear passengers in a severe side-impact collision. Active safety (that allows one to avoid an accident) is up to snuff as well, with antilock brakes employing electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) and traction control both standard.
All GTIs ride on front MacPherson struts and a rear independent torsion-beam axle; the suspension is of course tuned for sport but without sacrificing day-to-day livability. Separate shock and coil-spring mounts reduce intrusion into the luggage compartment and cut road noise.
Ownership peace of mind comes from VW's improved four-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, up from two years/24,000 miles. In addition, Volkswagen offers a fully transferable limited powertrain warranty that covers five years or 60,000 miles. Four-year/50,000-mile 24-hour roadside assistance is also provided.
Whether swayed by the value or performance of the GTI, drivers will be racing to start their engines.
The GTI's suspension, although tight and designated as "sport," was so much more forgiving than the TT's. We felt we were floating along the pavement as opposed to being jolted and jarred with the TT's intensely stiff set-up. This is the reason why auto reviewers often find exotic sports cars difficult to live with on a day-to-day basis. We agree.
The state thruway was a pleasure to travel, if a bit boring. The GTI's host of standard features like automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers (helpful in a torrential downpour), eight-speaker stereo system, trip computer, and supportive leather seats made the trip extremely comfortable. We set the cruise at 75 mph, on the higher side of the speed of traffic, and lost count the number of times we saw cars pulled over - the highway was strewn with speed-enforcing state troopers. Thankfully, we didn't experience this trip delay.
The EPA says we should have gotten 28 miles per gallon on our trip. We averaged 27 mpg and on one tank achieved a four-cylinder-like 30 mpg. Volkswagen is to be commended for such a powerful yet fuel-efficient engine.
1999-2002 Volkswagen GTI VR6
2,792 cc / 174 hp / 181 lb-ft / 3011 lbs / 0-60 mph 7.2 sec.