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2016 Volkswagen GTI Review

The 2016 Volkswagen GTI delivers exciting driving dynamics and great cargo space. However, an average reliability rating and a relatively high cost of ownership score keep this compact car in the middle of its competitive class.

Pros & Cons

  • Strong acceleration
  • Athletic handling
  • Comfortable seats
  • Good cargo capacity
  • Small infotainment touch screen

New for 2016

  • Redesigned infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Rearview camera now standard and more driver assistance features available

Rankings & Awards

The 2016 Volkswagen GTI's #5 ranking is based on its score within the 2016 Compact Cars category. It was a finalist for our 2016 Best Sports Car for the Money award. Currently the Volkswagen GTI has a score of 8.4 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 29 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 9.5
Performance: 8.8
Interior: 8.3
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.9
Safety: 9.3
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 Volkswagen GTI Overview

Is the 2016 Volkswagen GTI a Good Used Car?

The 2016 Volkswagen GTI combines lively acceleration, agile handling, and comfortable seats in a fun-to-drive package. Its cargo space is among the best of compact hatchbacks, and there's enough room for adults in the back seat. The car’s not perfect, however. Its infotainment screen could be larger, and its reliability rating – while good – can’t compete with many higher ranked rivals’ scores.

Why You Can Trust Us

We do not base our used car rankings and reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we collect information like safety and reliability reports, total cost of ownership estimates, and the views of the automotive press. We analyzed 29 professional evaluations for this 2016 Volkswagen GTI review to help you make an informed buying decision.

Our experienced team of writers, editors, and analysts has been ranking and reviewing the best cars, trucks, crossovers, and SUVs since 2007. We remain unbiased by refusing pricey gifts and trips from auto manufacturers and employing an independent agency to manage the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2016 Volkswagen GTI?

Based on the more than 175 listings for this vehicle on our site, you can expect to pay between $16,900 and $25,900 for a used 2016 Volkswagen GTI. The average list price is $21,000. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

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How Much Does the 2016 Volkswagen GTI Cost to Own?

Estimated five-year costs for gas, insurance, maintenance, and repairs for the 2016 GTI are about $23,600. That’s high for the compact car class. Five-year costs for the 2016 Honda Civic, for example, are just $19,900. The 2016 Kia Soul’s expenses come out to about $19,400.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New GTI?

The 2018 Volkswagen GTI has a starting price of $26,415 – over $5,000 more than the 2016 GTI’s average price of $21,000. The 2018 GTI does get a new car warranty and a touch more horsepower, but most shoppers will do better buying the 2016 and pocketing the extra money.

Read about the new Volkswagen GTI »

If you’re committed to buying a new car, there are many you can buy for about the same price as a 2016 GTI. The 2018 Mazda3 hatchback starts at $19,345, while the 2018 Honda Civic hatchback starts at $20,150. Both vehicles are highly ranked. Other hatchbacks to consider are the 2018 Kia Soul, the 2018 Kia Rio, and the 2018 Honda Fit.

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How Reliable Is the 2016 Volkswagen GTI?

The 2016 GTI has a reliability score of three out of five from J.D. Power. That’s average for the industry as a whole. Competitors like the 2016 Honda Civic, 2016 Kia Soul, and 2016 Scion tC have higher reliability scores.

Read more about GTI reliability »

2016 Volkswagen GTI Recalls

As of this writing, the 2016 Volkswagen GTI has three open recalls. The first concerns a suction pump that may fail and cause a fire. The others address a fuel rail that may detach and leak, and an equipment fracture that may cause the power brakes to fail. If these recalls affect the 2016 GTI model you are considering, make sure the issues are resolved before you buy.

See more information on Volkswagen GTI safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the Volkswagen GTI Is Best?

The 2016 GTI marks the second year of a generation that launched in 2015. The 2013 and 2014 models earn good overall scores and will cost less than newer models, but shoppers should start their search with the 2015 GTI. As the first of a new generation, it has a different look inside and out. However, if you’re a fan of technology, go with the 2016 model. It adds a rearview camera, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto as standard features. 2016 was also the last year that VW produced the GTI coupe. The 2017 model sees no changes, so you’re better off sticking with one of the older models to save money.

Compare the 2014, 2015, and 2016 GTI »

Which Used Volkswagen GTI Model Is Right for Me?

The 2016 GTI is available in two- and four-door hatchback body styles and comes in three trims: S, SE, and Autobahn. The S trim includes Bluetooth, a rearview camera, a touch-screen infotainment system, 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels, satellite radio, cloth sport seats, heated front seats, and a driving mode selection feature. The SE adds keyless access with push-button start, automatic headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and leather seating surfaces. The Autobahn trim, available only in the four-door model, includes a navigation system, a 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, and automatic air conditioning. The SE strikes a nice balance between comfort and safety.

See 2016 Volkswagen GTI trims and specs »

What Does Volkswagen's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Volkswagen offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles seven years old or less and with fewer than 75,000 miles. You receive the balance of the new-car warranty when you purchase a CPO model, and depending on your car’s model year, you get a limited comprehensive warranty that takes effect once the new-car warranty has expired. For 2018 and newer VWs, the limited comprehensive warranty is good for one year or 12,000 miles. The length of the warranty increases to two years or 24,000 miles for 2017-and-older gas, hybrid, and electric vehicles. Finally, 2016 and older TDI vehicles get a two-year/unlimited miles warranty.

VW CPO vehicles must pass a 100-plus-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing, a Carfax vehicle history report, a three-month SiriusXM All-Access satellite radio trial subscription, and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Volkswagen warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Volkswagen’s CPO program is the least robust of all auto manufacturers.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the GTI?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Volkswagen GTI a 2016 Top Safety Pick+. It gave the GTI a top rating of Good in all but the small front overlap passenger-side crash test, in which it earned the second-highest score of Acceptable. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the GTI four out of five stars in the frontal and rollover crash tests, and five stars in the side crash test.

Standard active safety features include a rearview camera and post-collision braking, which applies the brakes when a collision is detected to reduce the chance of additional damage. Available safety features include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear traffic alert, park distance control, parking steering assistant, and lane departure warning.

See GTI safety scores »

2016 Volkswagen GTI Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Volkswagen GTI or 2016 Mazda3?

Though the 2016 Mazda3 and GTI are both fun-to-drive cars with superb handling, the Mazda3 is the better choice. The Mazda3 has a higher-quality interior and a user-friendly infotainment system. It's also among the class leaders in fuel economy.

Which Is Better: 2016 Volkswagen GTI or 2016 Honda Fit?

The 2016 Honda Fit provides a pleasing ride. The Fit's interior is plush, and the seats are comfortable, with ample rear-seat legroom even for adult passengers. The versatile folding abilities of the rear seats are convenient for hauling cargo. The Fit is a more practical to car to own, but the GTI is more fun to drive.

Which Is Better: 2016 Volkswagen GTI or 2016 Volkswagen Golf?

The 2016 Volkswagen GTI is essentially a trim of the 2016 Volkswagen Golf. Both have athletic handling, but there’s much more power under the GTI’s hood (210 horsepower for the GTI versus 170 for the Golf). For exhilarating driving, select the GTI. Otherwise, pick the Golf.

Compare the GTI, Mazda3, and Fit »

2016 GTI Performance

How Does the 2016 Volkswagen GTI Drive?

The 2016 Volkswagen GTI produces responsive acceleration and isn’t shy when drivers want to go fast. It’s nimble and fun to drive, handling winding roads with no problems.

The front-wheel-drive GTI features a turbocharged 210-horsepower four-cylinder engine. An available performance package brings the horsepower total to 220. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a six-speed automatic is available. The car has an adjustable suspension with multiple driving modes that can be tuned to match road conditions.

Does the 2016 Volkswagen GTI Get Good Gas Mileage?

The GTI gets an EPA-estimated 25/34 mpg city/highway with the manual transmission and 25/33 with the automatic. Both are below average for the class.

Read more about GTI performance »

2016 GTI Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 GTI Seat?

The five-seat Golf GTI comes standard with cloth upholstery and heated front seats. Leather upholstery and a power-adjustable driver’s seat are available. Front- and rear-seat passengers will find plenty of room, though legroom in the back is a little tight when you push the front seats back. The seats are comfortable, even on extended trips.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Volkswagen GTI?

For installing child safety seats, the GTI has a complete set of LATCH connectors on the outboard rear seats and an upper-tether anchor on the middle seat.

2016 Volkswagen GTI Features

Standard features in the 2016 GTI include Bluetooth, satellite radio, an eight-speaker stereo, and an easy-to-use infotainment system with voice recognition, smartphone app integration, and a 6.5-inch touch screen, which some might find too small. Available features include dual-zone automatic climate control, navigation, an eight-speaker Fender audio system, and an upgraded infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink.

See 2016 Volkswagen GTI specs »

Read more about GTI interior »

2016 Volkswagen GTI Dimensions

Volkswagen GTI Cargo Space

The 2016 GTI offers 22.8 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up and 52.7 cubic feet with them folded. Both numbers are among the best in the class. The GTI comes standard with an adjustable cargo floor. The cargo opening is wide and makes loading items easy.

2016 GTI Length and Weight

The 2016 GTI measures 14 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 2,972 pounds (two-door model with a manual transmission) to 3,086 pounds (four-door model with an automatic). The GTI’s gross vehicle weight rating ranges from 4,189 to 4,255 pounds.

Where Was the 2016 Volkswagen GTI Built?

The 2016 Volkswagen GTI was built in Mexico.


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