Flash Drive

2017 VW Golf GTI

Model Tested: 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI SE

The 2017 VW Golf GTI is a driver’s car that begs to be driven spiritedly on winding country roads.

Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4, 220 horsepower 258 lb-ft torque

Transmission: 6-speed manual transmission, front-wheel-drive

EPA Rating: 24-mpg city/34-mpg highway/28-mpg combined

Base Price: $29,895

As Tested: $30,715


Outstanding driving fun with 6-speed manual

Impressive torque

Very responsive drivetrain

Pulls strong coming out of corners

The attractive hatchback design provides lots of spacious functionality.

Revs easily to redline

Crisp back road handling

Super smooth transmission and clutch

Great brakes

Very good fuel economy—our best was 30.3-mpg

Three engine modes: normal, sport, custom

Nice sounding dual exhaust

Traditional hand brake

Performance monitor includes lap timer and G-meter


Superb, leather-covered, extra thick, flat bottom steering wheel

18-inch alloy wheels and big, efficient brakes are part of the GTI package.

Wide range of tilt and telescopic adjustments

Big sunroof brightens interior

Super stretch-out front legroom

Had to move seat up to use clutch

Seat height pump for both front seats

Manual lumbar lever for front seats

Heated seats (3 temps)

Supportive seats with deep side bolsters

Very generous headroom

Tight backseat legroom unless front seats are up slightly

The thick, flat bottom leather steering wheel is one of the best around.

Very good rear seat shoe room

Tall floor hump


Efficient rain sensing wipers

Headlight washers

Oversized dead pedal

Big, non-locking glovebox

Very small console bin

Medium rear door bins

Sliding sunvisors

Good quality sound system

Ample rear cargo space; flat floor

The comfortable seats have ample side bolsters and manually adjustable lumbar support.

Split folding seats with slight slope

Wide hatchback opening

Minimal lift-over

Cargo loops

LED interior lights

WOW Factors:

Great fun to drive

Joyful 6-speed manual transmission

Superior steering wheel

Shift knob textured like a golf ball

Performance monitor

The excellent 6-speed manual transmission is topped by a fun golf ball textured shifter knob.


Could use more small item interior storage

Snug rear center seating position

Bottom Line:

The 2017 VW Golf GTI is proof that compact sedans don’t need to be boring or poorly constructed. The roomy, economical Golf GTI is a near perfect blend of fun and function. Its practicality is only outdone by its fun to drive factor.