Car writers and hatchback aficionados have long extolled the many virtues of Volkswagen’s original GTI – its nimble chassis, willing powerplant, and generous helpings of practicality and value all conspired to make it a pleasure to live with on a daily basis. It formed the basis for the entire hot hatch genre, and numerous copycats owe VW a debt of gratitude for popularizing the segment. I learned of the GTI’s virtues first hand as a highschooler, when my father counted a 1998 Mk3 VR6 among our family’s stable. Ever since that car, though (and many would argue the heavy VR6 wasn’t all that representative of the original GTI ethos), the marque has had a bit of an uneven history. Depending on who you ask, nearly every generation save the original has had its share of detractors, though the “marks” ending in odd numbers do seem to be the most universally beloved. This Mk7 version should be in fairly good standing, then, right? Yep – this one’s definitely a winner.
Tag - gti
Volkswagen is introducing a more powerful Golf GTI Clubsport in celebration of the GTI’s 40th birthday, and continues the...Read More
Astute readers may recall that back in August, Volkswagen invited me to fly to Virginia to drive a smattering of their new and refreshed 2015 Jetta, Golf and GTI models. Well, one of those Jettas must have been really enamored with me, because it followed me back to Florida and showed up on my doorstep. Will a week with the Jetta do anything to dull the luster I saw in it over those Virginia hills? Read on to find out.
When Volkswagen offered to fly me up to drive a full smattering of their 2015 model lineup around Northern Virginia’s rolling hills and the quaint towns they are dotted with, they were ostensibly asking me to really focus on just two of those 2015 models – the fully electric e-Golf, and the refreshed Jetta. Still, though it already had its official launch and has been on sale for a few months now, I was also eager to sample the current GTI. Here’s a recap of what I drove, put in order from “really, really liked it” to “liked it”. There wasn’t a dud in the bunch, honestly, though I admit to steering clear of models like the Passat and Tiguan, which I’d already spent time in recently, and others that weren’t significantly changed for the 2015 model year.
When Volkswagen introduced the current North American market, US-built Passat in 2011, it was a move seen as either heresy or necessity, depending on which side of the VW enthusiast fence you sat on. After all, if the company wasn’t going to trade on its “Continental manufacturing for the mainstream” appeal, what was the point? At least, that was the counterargument to VW’s claim that a midsize sedan designed specifically for the North American market would finally allow them to compete on price, size and content with competitors from Asia and the US. Despite being three model years in, we haven’t yet covered the “NMS” Passat on these pages. No time like the present…
VW’s first major foray into the US’s highly competitive (and highly important) small SUV marketplace was with the Tiguan back in 2008. The SE model pictured here is now six model years old, but largely unchanged. Has the Tiguan blossomed for the brand, or been left to wither on the vine?
As I write this, what appears to be a black-construction-paper-interpretation of an origami tadpole sits in my driveway. Nissan calls it a crossover, but I’m inclined to disagree. It might be a dystopian interpretation of the future of the car, but I’d still call it a car nonetheless. The Juke is deceiving. I first saw one in England when I was living there, and having only seen it in pictures up until that point, I was somewhat shocked when I saw it in the metal. It’s small, this thing. It looks big in pictures, but it hardly casts a bigger shadow than a Golf or Impreza hatchback. It gives the impression of being tall by virtue of how short and narrow it is; at 164 inches, it’s shorter than a VW GTI by two inches and narrower by a couple tenths. Being only 4 inches taller than the GTI, it’s clear the design is meant to play visual tricks on passers-by.