The GTI is one of the foremost cars in the hot hatchback segment. Its strongest rival is the Honda Civic Si.
Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:CNET Networks
The GTI has some serious performance styling, notably its honeycomb grille and air intakes. The grille gets a red pinstripe that looks good on both white or black GTIs.
Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:CNET Networks
This year, the GTI is available in two- or four-door versions. The four-door GTI adds 62 pounds over the two-door version.
Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:CNET Networks
Hot hatches, with their boxy rear ends, have a distinctive styling all their own, and a hint of practicality.
Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:CNET Networks
Configured as shown, the GTI has no more cargo space than the average compact sedan. But take out the rear cover and fold down the seats, and the cargo area becomes much more substantial.
Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:CNET Networks
Although the GTI uses quality switchgear and materials, the luxury only feels skin deep.
Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:CNET Networks
We were unimpressed with the navigation system, which uses a slow processor and takes too much time to draw its maps.
Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:CNET Networks
With the navigation option present, the CD changer gets mounted in the center console. The console-mounted changer, as opposed to the in-dash unit, can't play MP3 CDs.
Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:CNET Networks
You can operate the disc changer with the buttons lining the LCD.
Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:CNET Networks
The radio preset list mimics the layout of the CD screen.
Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:CNET Networks
We were very happy with the audio quality of the stereo system.
Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:CNET Networks
The Direct Shift Gearbox really makes the GTI stand out. Its sport mode is surprisingly aggressive.
Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:CNET Networks
The GTI's steering wheel gets a sporty flat area at the bottom. The paddle shifters on the spokes allow lightning-fast gear shifts.
Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:CNET Networks
One detail Volkswagen got from its Audi make is the useful LED display in the middle of the instrument cluster. It can show trip computer data, navigation, or stereo information.
Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:CNET Networks
The turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder engine in the GTI makes a delightful growl.
Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:CNET Networks
Up Next

Six generations of the Ford Mustang (pictures)