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Pros & Cons

  • First-rate interior materials
  • Spacious rear seats
  • Responsive turbocharged engine
  • Great fuel economy
  • Some rivals have stronger engines

Rankings & Awards

The 2012 Volkswagen GTI's #7 ranking is based on its score within the 2012 Compact Cars category. It was the winner of our 2012 Best Upscale Small Cars for the Money award. Currently the Volkswagen GTI has a score of 8.5 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 32 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 9.2
Performance: 8.5
Interior: 9.1
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.9
Safety: 9.8
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2012 Volkswagen GTI Overview

Reviewers were impressed with the Volkswagen GTI’s turbocharged four-cylinder engine, saying that it’s quick to respond, with minimal turbo lag and a deep exhaust note. The 2012 GTI is available with a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automated manual. Some test drivers said the automated manual shifts harshly at times, though the manual earned praise for making the GTI more fun to drive. The 2012 VW GTI gets up to an EPA-estimated 24/33 mpg city/highway, which is quite good for the class. Though some critics wished the suspension was a little firmer, they agreed that the GTI has precise steering and a more comfortable, composed ride than many performance-oriented competitors.  

Critics agreed that the 2012 Volkswagen GTI has a straightforward interior design and high-end materials. The GTI won points for its roomy and supportive front seats, and critics said that even very tall passengers will be pleased with the ample head- and legroom in the back seat. Folding the GTI’s rear seats opens up 46 cubic feet of cargo space, which is very good compared with other vehicles’ cargo areas in the class. Standard features include Bluetooth, satellite radio, iPod connectivity and an eight-speaker audio system. An upgraded sound system, push-button start, navigation, leather upholstery and a sunroof are available.

Other Cars to Consider

Critics praised the 2012 Acura TSX for its controlled handling and comfortable, composed ride. The TSX also comes with more standard features than the GTI, including a moonroof and leather upholstery.

Auto writers recommended the 2012 Audi A3 because of its lively base engine, controlled handling and composed ride. The A3 is also available with all-wheel drive, and reviewers appreciated its tasteful cabin design and premium materials.

Compare the GTI, TSX and A3 »


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