Volkswagen GTI Autobahn
|Rating: 7 / 10|
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|The interior: The interior is much nicer than I expected. It has nice leather seats that are very comfortable. There seems to be just enough space inside, which is exactly what I'm looking for. The hatch space makes me visibly excited, since this is the first small car to actually look to be a contender for me. The hatch goes full height, down to the bumper, and is fairly deep (at least compared to other hatches and many CUVs). The back seats are bigger than the Focus ST and the Corolla hatch.|
The tech: Bluetooth, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, backup cam, upgraded sound system, navigation (Do people use this? My phone is always up to date, the car maps aren't), and 100 different safety features that people shouldn't need because they should be paying attention while they're driving. The infotainment is an ok size, and has a mix of real buttons and a touchscreen. It's got everything you need and more.
Driving: Fun. This car can move. The clutch has a great feel to it, a good amount of spring without being too heavy, and the shifter is smooth, but still feels like you're doing some work. Plus R is placed correctly (push shifter down, then up and to the left). The clutch feels a little bit sticky though, like it was almost scraping on the way out (I'm almost positive, looking back on it, that it was not the stock clutch).
The 2017 Autobahn package gets the performance package with a 220 horsepower turbocharged engine, 258 lb-ft of torque, larger brakes from the Gold R, and the limited slip differential (I didn't know it had the LSD at the time, or even what it was, but it's a huge plus when cornering hard or driving in the snow. Definitely look it up). Having that much torque available down low at 1500 rpm really let's you fly down back roads, when you're slowing and turning and accelerating a lot. And the car feels very grounded the whole time.
The value: This one has 37k miles on it and is listed at about $22k. It seems like a decent price, but I'm concerned about how much people beat might beat on these cars, since it's really difficult not to drive it hard. The Autobahn package also has a lot on it that I think is unnecessary, which drives the price up a bit. And while the gas tank says that it can tak 87 octane, the manual still recommends 91 or better. The fuel economy is in the high 20s to low 30s in mixed driving, so that's pretty decent.
Overall, this car is a lot of fun to drive. It's also one of the few cars that let's you row your own and still choose your trim level. Personally, I think the SE trim level is the sweet spot, with the leather seats, upgraded sound system, the performance and lighting packages, and the sunroof. If you're not into all the bells and whistles, the plaid cloth seats on the base (S) trim are pretty cool, but the performance and lighting packages are definitely worth the upgrade. It seems like the options change a little every year for the GTI, so this information is 2017 specific.
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