$10,984 - $15,425

2013 Volkswagen GTI Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Volkswagen GTI was new.


Performance: 8.7

The automotive press thinks the 2013 Volkswagen GTI expertly balances being a comfortable commuting car and a sporty hatchback. With a strong engine, precise handling, smooth on-road performance and good fuel economy ratings, test drivers say the VW GTI makes a good companion for fun weekend excursions and trips to the office.

  • "If speed and handling are your true priorities, there are better choices. The Mazdaspeed 3 and Subaru WRX both outgun the GTI in a straight line, while a Mini Cooper S is more nimble in the corners. But overall, the VW GTI adds up to more than the sum of its performance numbers in a way that its competition cannot match. It will ease you through the work week, then put a grin on your face as you head out of town for the weekend." -- Edmunds (2012)
  • "So VW doesn't catch one of its two chief competitors, the MazdaSpeed3 in terms of torque or horsepower, and its handling isn't as Formula One-edgy as the other, the Honda Civic Si. Instead, it's a smoother, more refined, better balanced hot hatch that still maintains the feeling of a relatively lightweight, cheeky little car." -- Motor Trend (2010)

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 VW GTI has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 200 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission is optional. With the automated manual, the GTI averages 24/33 mpg city/highway, according to the EPA. That rating is good for a sporty hatchback.

Though the GTI’s horsepower rating isn’t the highest in the class, test drivers think the GTI is still fast. Of the two transmissions, several reviewers favor the manual transmission, which is smooth and precise. Test drivers also like the automated manual transmission, saying it works well, though one critic thinks it is jerky sometimes.

  • "Despite having ‘just’ 200 horsepower, GTI is plenty quick. All cars we've tested have shown minimal turbo lag. They've also included the automated-manual transmission. Most have behaved just fine, but others behaved erratically, with jerky upshifts and downshifts." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Either transmission choice performs admirably, with the DSG offering smooth shifts." -- Edmunds (2012)
  • "The standard box works great, with a precise linkage, reasonably short throws, and a light action. It is our transmission of choice." -- Car and Driver (2010)
  • "If your desire is a satisfying driver's car, then there is no question that the six-speed manual is the box to get. It's just more fun." -- Autoblog (2010)

Handling and Braking

Test drivers like that the Volkswagen GTI’s steering is accurate and responsive. Reviewers also say the GTI has a balanced ride quality that can handle twisty roads well without being too stiff. The brakes receive some more critical evaluations. One reviewer says that they are not as strong as what they expect from a German model.

  • "All GTIs have a firm sport suspension that occasionally thumps over sharp bumps. Some road surfaces can cause abrupt vertical body motions. Despite these issues, GTI rides pretty well for a performance-oriented car. GTI is among the best-handling front-wheel-drive cars. It has outstanding grip in fast turns with quick, precise steering. The brakes deliver worry-free stops, though one test example suffered from a touchy pedal." -- Consumer Guide
  • "On the flip side, the GTI gets high marks for comfort and ride quality compared to the competition. At highway speeds, the cabin is as quiet as any you'll find in a luxury car, while a compliant suspension smoothes over normal bumps in the road. All told, the … Volkswagen GTI strikes an impressive balance between performance and comfort that will satisfy most drivers." -- Edmunds (2012)
  • "The GTI also comes with the most precise electronic power steering in the business, with a lightness and feedback that belies its system. Conversely, the brakes felt okay, but not solid and powerful like most German brake systems. Fade came too easily in mountain road sprint exercises." -- Motor Trend (2010)

Find the Best Price

Enter your zip code to get local pricing.

Get Dealer Quotes

To get dealer quotes, enter your zip code.

Search Used Listings

To search used listings, enter your zip code.

Change Location

Enter your zip code to see listings near you.

Please enter a valid zipcode

Best Price Program

Interested in a New?

Use the U.S. News Best Price Program to find great deals and get upfront pricing on the.