2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI S : Review
What is it about small quirky wagon-like 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI that has reviewers declaring it the best thing since sliced bread? Can a hatchback with four doors really be that good? Sure, if you value driving performance over everything else.
The 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI S is virtually unchanged over the years in its exterior size and styling. Its simplistic front-end grille does feature a rather sportish looking spoiler, yet the sides and rear are pretty devoid of style. Inside our test model used a two-tone color scheme with cloth seats, a rather 2005 looking infotainment system and so-so amount of room for four adults.
Pushing in the clutch and turning on the ignition brings the 2.0L turbo-charged four-cylinder engine with a 10 HP bump for our new to 2017 “Sport” trim to life. It doesn’t rumble, doesn’t shake the car and doesn’t really ooze cool.
Move the stick to first and let go off the clutch and the mystery of why it is a perennial favorite of reviewers becomes clear – it is wicked good.
Ok. Fair enough. I’m not a huge fan of the” hot hatch” segment, but I get it. Whipping the car through corners, slamming on the brakes and then accelerating as fast as I can, it is easy to see the wow factor. The Golf GTI throws you back in your seat, corners like it is on rails with help from a limited-slip differential and stops on a dime utilizing performance brakes.
The Golf GTI is simply this – fun to drive. It is like a toned-down version of a sports car with a price point people can afford. Literally anybody can afford to buy it and it will haul college students, young adults, kids, dogs and anything else you can think of with a rather spacious trunk and easy access to the roof after adding a roof rack. You can load it for a weekend getaway, race around town for fun or hit cruise for a long road trip while it sips gas at a remarkably good 24/32/27 EPA rated city/highway/combined.
Then, when you get bored, you can modify the heck out of it. Trust us a simple Google search reveals numerous aftermarket parts, tuners, fans clubs and magazines.
One of the first things we would do is modify the radio and speakers with better units. The truth as good as the driving performance is, our S model failed completely on the technology aspect. VW’s infotainment system is pedestrian at best and the speakers sound like a 1980s boom box. Toss them out and buy all new. Your ears and sanity will thank you.
Besides that, there really isn’t much else to do for the average driver. The off-the-line torque is good to throw you back in your seat and the 18” wheels provide a good amount of grip. If you are looking for more fun, swap out the wheels and get a tune. The smile you will undoubtedly get permanent fastened to your face will be the reward.
While there are faster, more spacious and more luxurious models out there, the Volkswagen Golf GTI is really hard to beat. It is clear why other car reviewers praise it and you had better include us in the bunch. It is really worth a spin.