2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI Pros vs Cons. Should You Buy?
The Volkswagen Golf GTI remains one of the most practical performance cars on the market. Not only is this legendary “hot hatch” engaging to drive, but it’s also far more comfortable than a traditional sports coupe. A generous list of standard equipment makes the all-new model even more appealing. Here’s why car shoppers should consider buying a 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI.
What’s New for 2022?
The VW GOLF GTI has been fully redesigned for the 2022 model year. It brings an elevated level of performance and more technology. Sleeker, bolder exterior styling also helps separate the latest generation.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI – The Pros
1. Returns With a Noticeably Stronger Powertrain
Like its predecessor, the all-new 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI features a turbo four-cylinder engine. However, it now packs more ponies. VW tunes the latest Golf GTI to crank out a stimulating 241 horsepower and 271 lb-ft of torque. A standard electronic limited-slip differential helps prevent the tires from spinning when punching the throttle, thus promoting quicker straight-line acceleration. According to the latest road tests, this car is capable of hitting 60 mph in as quickly as 5.1 seconds.
2. Two Fine Transmissions to Choose From
In contrast to many of today’s other performance cars, the 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI continues to excite driving pursuits with a standard manual transmission. This six-speed manual gearbox is precise and easy to shift. Many drivers will love rowing through the gears on the open road. VW’s famous seven-speed, DSG automatic transmission is optional. Because the DSG transmission shifts so rapidly, it actually optimizes performance. Shift paddles enable drivers to have more fun while behind the wheel of the automatic Golf GTI.
3. Near-Perfect Balance of Ride Comfort and Handling
Some sports cars tend to have an overly stiff ride, which makes daily commuting less pleasing. Fortunately, this isn’t the case for the new Golf GTI. Volkswagen tuned the car’s chassis to deliver a rather plush ride. Drivers can also take advantage of the Golf GTI Autobahn’s adjustable suspension. Activating the suspension’s comfort setting enables travelers to experience more relaxation. On the other hand, selecting the sport mode firms up the suspension for greater control on twisty roads.
4. Offers an Efficient Performance
The 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI rivals the efficiency of a car that is far less powerful. This is great news for drivers who are often on the go. Expect the manual-equipped Golf GTI to return around 24 mpg town/34 mpg freeway. Choosing the automatic transmission enables drivers to conserve slightly more gas in the city. Fuel economy estimates for automatic-equipped trims stand at 25 mpg town/34 mpg freeway. Like most high-performance models, the Golf GTI does need premium gasoline.
5. Signature Styling Remains Intact
Volkswagen obviously updated the new Golf GTI’s exterior styling. However, this German hatchback retains its signature boxy shape. Longtime fans of the Golf GTI will immediately notice its more attention-grabbing front fascia. Sleeker LED headlights and X-shaped fog lights help it to stand out. Upper trims come equipped with an illuminated grille. Folks who desire a bit more flair can opt for the car’s 18-inch black alloy wheels. Several vibrant exterior colors are available, including a limited-edition Pomelo Yellow Metallic option.
6. A Flexible Interior With Lots of Space
A hatchback design gives the Golf GTI a huge advantage over a traditional sports car. Drivers can have fun without giving up any practicality. The Golf GTI’s boxy shape helps free up more interior space. Superb head -and legroom make the car a highly recommended option for taller drivers. Parents who must accommodate their youngsters will especially enjoy the Golf GTI’s four-door body style. Another highlight is the hatchback’s nearly 20 cubic feet of cargo space.
7. Affordable, Well-Equipped Entry-Level S Trim
Budget-minded sports car fans should strongly consider the entry-level Golf GTI S. It has an attractive starting MSRP of less than $30,000. This base model offers the same satisfying performance as the higher trim levels. Drivers also appreciate the S trim’s extensive list of standard equipment. Some of the nice amenities include rain-sensing wipers, heated front seats, and a modern touchscreen display. Keep in mind that VW also provides a 50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, which is longer than average for the class.
8. A Safe Performance Car
Although the new 2022 Volkswagen Golf puts a big focus on performance, drivers will find its safety profile to be just as impressive. Parents who have a new driver at home will appreciate VW’s Car-Net app, which can provide boundary and curfew alerts. Advanced driving aids are also on the Golf GTI’s list of standard equipment. While blind-spot monitoring warns drivers to watch out for hidden vehicles, automatic emergency braking can intervene to prevent drivers from rear-ending another motorist.
9. Offers More Technology Than Ever
When comparing the new Golf GTI to the previous model, VW fans will instantly notice the new generation’s more high-tech interior. Digital sport gauges now come standard throughout the lineup. While most people will be perfectly content with the standard 8.0-inch touch display, a larger 10.0-inch infotainment screen with navigation is optional. Drivers who regularly use the internet will want the car’s available Wi-Fi hotspot. Other high-tech niceties include a powerful-sounding Harman Kardon premium stereo system, wireless phone charging, and a head-up display.
10. Especially Luxurious Autobahn Trim
Drivers seeking pure luxury will especially love the Golf GTI’s Autobahn trim. Leather seating surfaces give its cabin a more elegant feel. A 12-way power driver’s seat with memory helps elevates comfort. Other perks found on the Autobahn trim include ventilated front seats, rear-seat heating, tri-zone automatic climate control, and a self-parking system.
Reasons Not to Buy a 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI – The Cons
1. Standard Golf No Longer Sold In America
For 2022, VW decided not to offer the standard Golf model on the U.S. market. This is sad news for drivers who need a more affordable alternative to the high-performance Golf GTI. The previous standard Golf had a low MSRP of less than $24,000. It also boasted a higher fuel economy rating of 29 mpg town/39 mpg freeway. Furthermore, cheaper regular gasoline was the recommended fuel type.
2. Infotainment System Could Be More User-Friendly
Volkswagen’s latest infotainment system has been applauded for its responsiveness. However, it is not as rewarding to use as some of today’s other interfaces. Test drivers will notice that there are not any station or volume knobs, which would make it easier to adjust the stereo system. Although VW equips the steering wheel with touch-sensitive controls, they don’t perform as well during real-world driving. Some automotive reviewers have described them as being a bit finicky.
3. All-Wheel Drive Not Offered
Every new 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI features a front-wheel-drive setup. This will be a non-issue for most buyers. However, the availability of an AWD system would make the Golf GTI more suitable for fans living in America’s snow-prone states. Folks who consider an all-wheel-drive system to be a necessity can upgrade to the racier Golf R. Although the Golf R does come standard with an AWD system, its prices are significantly steeper.
4. Understatement Styling Is Not for Everyone
There are many people who love the Golf GTI’s understated exterior styling. Meanwhile, others will want a car that has a bolder look. The Golf GTI does not grab your attention like some other performance cars in this class. Rivals, such as the new Toyota GR 86, have more of a wow factor.
5. Some Interior Materials Feel Cheap
For the most part, the new VW Golf GTI has a high-quality cabin. Nevertheless, some of its interior materials are not quite up to par. This is especially true for the lower trim levels. According to some critics, cheap-feeling plastics put the Golf GTI at a slight disadvantage against certain rivals.
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How It Stacks Up to the Competition:
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI vs 2022 Hyundai Veloster N
A great powertrain warranty and sharp driving dynamics make the new Hyundai Veloster N a great choice. However, it does not provide as much interior space as the new Golf GTI. Upscale features, such as ventilated front seats and a self-parking system, are also not offered on the Veloster N.
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI vs 2022 Mazda3
The Mazda3 receives top marks for its upscale interior and powerful turbo engine. However, its backseat is not as accommodating. This could be an issue for drivers who often travel with other adults.
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI vs 2022 Subaru WRX
Big improvements were made to the redesigned 2022 Subaru WRX. However, it does not feel as luxurious as the new Golf GTI. Drivers can also expect the Golf GTI to deliver better overall fuel economy.
The 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI remains a great sports car for the everyday grind. Not only does this boxy hatchback provide superior cargo space, but it’s also roomy enough to accommodate a family. Of course, a stronger powertrain makes the new model even more appealing to serious driving enthusiasts.
While there’s much to like about the latest Golf GTI, be aware of its low points before buying one. VW's infotainment system does not provide many traditional controls. All-wheel drive is also not on the car’s list of optional equipment.