$9,241 - $12,355

2012 Volkswagen GTI Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2012 Volkswagen GTI was new.


Interior: 9.1

Volkswagen prioritizes comfort and good construction, and reviewers say the 2012 GTI’s cabin shows VW at its best because it is so well-made. One test driver even says it has a level of refinement they see from Audi, which is owned by the Volkswagen group.

  • "Interior decor is especially impressive with quality fabrics, nicely textured plastics, and many soft-touch surfaces." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Among sporty hatchbacks, we rank the 2012 GTI's interior at the top. Retro plaid seat fabric aside, the cabin reflects a serious and mature design, with hints of Audi's upscale trim and switchgear throughout." -- Edmunds
  • “Just when I thought the GTI interior couldn't look any better, VW just went and trumped itself." -- Car and Driver


The 2012 VW GTI has driver and passenger accommodations that stand out in the class. The seat fabric features a striking plaid pattern that pays homage to Volkswagen fabric designs from previous decades. The GTI’s rear seat is one of the most spacious in its class, with plenty of legroom for adults as long as the front seats aren’t pushed too far back. If you plan to haul rear passengers frequently, reviewers suggest the four-door option because the extra doors make entry and exit easier. Up front, space for the driver and front passenger is also impressive, with plenty of leg- and headroom, even with the optional sunroof. Rear visibility may be an issue, however, because the roof pillars are wide.

Heated front seats are standard, but you’ll have to upgrade to higher trims for a power driver’s seat.

  • "Gaining access to the surprisingly roomy rear seats is naturally easier with the four-door GTI, but ingress and egress to the two-door's rear seat is relatively painless." --Edmunds
  • "(Front seats) Great legroom from ultra-long seat tracks. Headroom is generous even below the sunroof housing. Driving position is aided by a standard tilt and telescopic steering wheel. GTI's sport buckets help snug passengers during aggressive cornering. Wide roof pillars slightly hinder aft visibility. … (Rear seats) Good headroom, plus adult-size legroom if front seats aren't pushed all the way back." -- Consumer Guide
  • “This writer measures six feet four inches tall, and even with the driver's seat appropriately adjusted, there is ample room for rear-seat passengers for even long journeys." -- Car and Driver

Interior Features

The 2012 Volkswagen GTI includes standard Bluetooth, satellite radio, an auxiliary input jack, iPod connectivity and an eight-speaker stereo. A touch-screen Premium VIII sound system, a Dynaudio premium sound system, push-button start, navigation and a sunroof are optional.

Reviewers say two of the cabin’s faults are its media interface and climate controls. The touch screen works well when an iPod or MP3 player isn’t hooked up, but with one, the system is slow. Also, the climate controls are hard to use.

  • "The red stitching and black chrome trim tops off this cabin, which reminds me more of the inside of a $40,000 or even $50,000 car. Wow, this car makes you feel special and pictures just don't do it justice." -- Car and Driver
  • "The gauges are unobstructed and clearly marked. Most switchgear is handy and intuitive. The touchscreen interface for audio controls generally works well, but it can be slow to react to user input when an iPod or other digital-music player is connected." -- Consumer Guide
  • "If there were a shortcoming in the controls, it would have to be the climate dials that are difficult at best, to find your desired setting." -- Left Lane News


The GTI provides 15.2 cubic feet of cargo space in both the two- and four-door models. The rear seats fold, and increase cargo space to 46 cubic feet. If ample trunk space is a must, the Audi A3 offers 19.5 cubic feet with all seats in use and 39 cubic feet with the rear seats flat.

Test drivers add that the GTI’s few interior cubbies limit storage options in the cabin. The VW GTI has four cup holders, front door storage pockets, an open compartment in the center console, a sunglasses holder, a glovebox and pockets attached to the back of the front seats.

  • "Hatchback versatility with lots of useful cargo room and a low load floor." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Unfortunately, you also won't find many places to stash phones, wallets and sunglasses, since the GTI continues to suffer from a lack of useful storage spaces." -- Edmunds

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