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8.4

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.5
Performance: 8.9
Interior: 8.5
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.7
Safety: 9.3
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2017 Volkswagen GTI Review

The 2017 Volkswagen GTI finishes in the top half of our compact car rankings. It offers exciting performance and a comfortable interior, but many competitors have higher safety and predicted reliability ratings.  

Pros & Cons

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

2017 Volkswagen GTI Overview

Is the 2017 Volkswagen GTI a Good Used Car?

The Volkswagen Golf GTI is a good used car. It’s a great choice for anyone who wants a fun-to-drive compact car that offers everyday utility. The GTI has plenty of cargo space, comfortable seats, and good fuel economy. While its infotainment features are straightforward and user-friendly, most rivals have larger displays with sharper graphics.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve researched 32 Volkswagen GTI reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability scores and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of automotive industry experience combined. While we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To ensure our reviews remain impartial, we refuse expensive gifts and trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2017 Volkswagen GTI?

Prices for the 2017 GTI range from about $19,000 to around $27,000, with the average price landing around $23,000. This data comes from more than a couple hundred listings for the 2017 GTI on our site. Actual prices fluctuate depending on the vehicle's features, mileage, condition, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2017 Volkswagen GTI Cost to Own?

The 2017 GTI’s gas, insurance, repair, and maintenance cost estimates are on par with most others in the class. You can expect to pay around $23,100 over five years for these expenses. The 2017 Subaru WRX’s five-year cost estimates are higher by about $5,100, while the 2017 Ford Focus’ costs are about $2,100 lower.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New GTI?

For 2018, Volkswagen refreshed the GTI’s interior and exterior styling, and the trim lineup consolidated from four to three. All 2018 Volkswagen GTI models produce 220 horsepower, in contrast to the 2017 model that has either 210 or 220 horsepower. Although you can likely save thousands of dollars by going with a used 2017 GTI, the new model comes with VW’s newly introduced six-year/72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper new car warranty.

Read about the new Volkswagen GTI »

Anyone shopping for a sporty new compact car would be wise to consider the 2018 Mazda3 (available in sedan and hatchback body styles). The Mazda3 boasts impressive performance for a compact car, with incredibly athletic handling. You may want to skip the base 155-horsepower engine and go with the 184-horsepower option. The Mazda3 retails for about $18,000, which is lower than the range of prices for a used 2017 GTI. The top Mazda3 Grand Touring trim costs a little over $23,000, which comes very close to the average price of a 2017 GTI. You can probably get more for your money with a new Mazda3 than with a used GTI.

See the Best New Car Deals »

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Which Model Year of the Volkswagen GTI Is Best?

The seventh-generation Volkswagen GTI debuted for the 2015 model year. There have been noteworthy changes to both the 2016 and 2017 models. The 2016 GTI received an upgraded infotainment system with a larger touch screen. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay became available for the first time, and a rearview camera joined the standard features list. If these changes aren't important to you, save your money and buy a 2015 GTI instead. Focus on 2015 and 2016 models if you’re looking for a two-door GTI coupe, since the 2017 only came as a four-door model.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 GTI »

How Reliable Is the 2017 Volkswagen GTI?

The 2017 Volkswagen GTI has a predicted reliability rating of three out of five from J.D. Power, which is average.

Read more about GTI reliability »

2017 Volkswagen GTI Recalls

At the time of this writing, the 2017 GTI has one open recall that involves defective air bags and seatbelt pretensioners. Make sure a Volkswagen dealer has taken care of this before buying a used 2017 GTI.

See more information on Volkswagen GTI safety recalls »

Which Used Volkswagen GTI Model Is Right for Me?

The 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI is available in four trims: S, Sport, SE, and Autobahn. The SE trim is likely your best bet. It comes with leather seats, a sunroof, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and a Fender audio system. It also features a performance package that comes in the Sport model, adding upgraded brakes and a limited-slip differential. The range-topping Autobahn model adds dual-zone automatic climate control and navigation, along with driver assistance features like blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.

See 2017 Volkswagen GTI trims and specs »

Certified Pre-Owned Volkswagen GTI Warranty

Though it may cost a bit more, a certified pre-owned GTI may suit you better. However, Volkswagen’s CPO program is not as robust as some other nonluxury brands. Volkswagen CPO warranties vary depending on model. See your VW dealer for information. CPO vehicles must pass a 100-plus point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Volkswagen warranty page carefully.

See the best CPO programs »

Read more about the Volkswagen certified pre-owned program »

How Safe Is the GTI?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2017 Volkswagen GTI five out of five stars overall, with four stars in the individual frontal crash and rollover tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the GTI its 2017 Top Safety Pick award, also giving it the highest rating of Good in all five individual crash tests.

A rearview camera is the only driver assistance feature that comes standard in the 2017 GTI. However, a host of other advanced safety technologies are available, including front and rear parking sensors, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and automatic parking assist.

See GTI safety scores »

2017 Volkswagen GTI Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2017 Volkswagen GTI or 2017 Subaru WRX?

The 2017 Subaru WRX has one of the highest performance scores among compact cars. It boasts standard all-wheel drive, and it’s available with either a 268- or 305-horsepower turbocharged engine. Both power plants deliver forceful muscle, though enthusiasts will probably want to look for the stronger engine found in the WRX STI model. The STI also features a sport-tuned suspension for increased athleticism. The WRX offers more rear-seat legroom, which is a little subpar in the GTI. However, the GTI has a richer cabin and much more cargo space than the WRX. Your choice between these two performance-oriented compact cars may come down to how much you're willing to spend. The WRX costs thousands more on average than the GTI, and the WRX’s estimated five-year costs are about $5,000 higher.

Which Is Better: 2017 Volkswagen GTI or 2017 Ford Focus ST?

The 2017 Ford Focus is available in ST and RS trims, which are performance versions of the Focus hatchback. The ST has a 252-horsepower turbocharged engine and is only available with a manual transmission. It has responsive and well-weighted steering, with a somewhat firm ride. Though the GTI has less horsepower, its performance is a little more dynamic overall. Cargo space is comparable between these two, but back-seat passengers will probably feel more cramped in the Focus than in the GTI. Both cars offer impressive interior quality and similar infotainment features. Overall, the GTI is a better choice for most shoppers because of its more well-rounded handling and roomier second row.

Compare the GTI, WRX, and Focus »

2017 GTI Performance

How Does the 2017 Volkswagen GTI Drive?

The 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI has a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that is one of the most powerful in the class, and it should make you smile every time you hit the gas pedal. The engine works nicely with either its standard manual gearbox or the available dual-clutch automatic transmission. Shifts are smooth, and you won't feel like you're losing power with either transmission. The standard output is 210 horsepower, while upper-trim GTIs boast a modified engine that puts out an additional 10 horsepower and includes other performance upgrades.

The front-wheel-drive Golf GTI is one of the sportiest vehicles in the compact car class. Its trademark sharp handling and precise steering ensure a fun experience behind the wheel. The GTI is most at home handling tight turns on winding roads, but it also feels engaging around gradual curves on a long cruise.

Standard performance features include an adjustable suspension that allows you to increase your comfort on bumpy roads or engage in sportier driving. All models above the base trim include a limited-slip differential that helps transfer traction among the wheels and makes driving on curvy roads more exciting. You’ll also get upgraded performance brakes.

Does the 2017 Volkswagen GTI Get Good Gas Mileage?

The 2017 GTI gets its best fuel economy with the standard six-speed manual transmission: 24 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. The automatic transmission reduces highway mileage to 32 mpg. Those numbers are about average for the class, but they’re excellent for a performance-focused car.

Read more about GTI performance »

2017 GTI Interior

How Many People Does the 2017 GTI Seat?

The 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI is a four-door hatchback that seats five. The front seats are spacious and comfortable even on long trips. Rear passengers will have enough space to sit upright, but their legs may feel a little cramped. Heated front seats, cloth upholstery, and front sport seats all come standard. Leather seats and a 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat are available.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2017 Volkswagen GTI?

The GTI has two complete LATCH child-seat attachments. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Golf’s LATCH system the highest rating of Good for its ease of use. The lower anchors are easy to access. The tether anchors for the outer two seats are located halfway down the seatbacks, while the middle tether anchor is positioned behind the headrest.

2017 Volkswagen GTI Features

Standard features in the 2017 GTI include a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an eight-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, satellite radio, HD Radio, a USB port, a rearview camera, and a touch-screen infotainment system. Available features include a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, proximity key entry, push button start, a Fender premium audio system, and navigation.

The GTI’s infotainment system favors functionality over form. It responds quickly, and the menus are easy to navigate. The display screen is small, measuring only 6.5 inches, and its graphics are lackluster. However, it features Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration. These systems allow you to access music, apps, contacts, or navigation from your smartphone.

See 2017 Volkswagen GTI specs »

Read more about GTI interior »

2017 Volkswagen GTI Dimensions

Volkswagen GTI Cargo Space

The Volkswagen GTI has 22.8 cubic feet with the rear seats up, expanding to 52.7 cubic feet with them folded. Those numbers are excellent for the class. The hatch’s wide opening and low cargo floor make loading bulky items easy.

2017 GTI Length and Weight

The 2017 VW GTI is 14 feet long. The GTI with the manual transmission has a curb weight of 3,082 pounds, and automatic models weigh 3,126 pounds.

Where Was the 2017 Volkswagen GTI Built?

Volkswagen built the 2017 GTI in Mexico.

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