2009 Volkswagen GTI User Reviews
2.0T Sedan PZEV shown
- $13,525 - $13,821
- No trim specified for this review
- Hatchback versatility, great highway ride, nice interior
- Loose steering, center of gravity feels high, underwhelming power with DSG
Caveat: I test drove this car today in DSG form, but don't own it. I drive a Mazda 3 5-door auto, so that's my yardstick. That said, if you offered me an even trade today I wouldn't take it.
My test drive revealed to me certain characteristics I'm looking for in a sporty car that have nothing to do with the size of its engine. My Mazda 3 has tight steering with precise feedback that responds to the slightest movement left or right. This makes the car feel like it's right in the palm of my hands. The tradeoff is a somewhat rough highway ride that demands constant vigilance and correction. The 2009 GTI requires more rotations of the wheel to make a turn and offers less resistance. This makes it easier to drive on the highway, but sacrifices that immediate communication that makes zipping around town such a joy in my 3.
Now I haven't checked any data sheets, but the GTI ride felt higher off the ground than the 3. Being further from the road itself makes you feel less connected, as any SUV driver should attest. When I drive my Mazda it feels lower to the ground; acceleration feels like I'm crawling across the pavement and the front tires are my hands. Perhaps I didn't make the right seat adjustments on my GTI tester to make it low enough, I don't know. But my overall impression was one of insulation. Again, great if your gearing up for a long trip on the interstate, but thoroughly uninspiring around town.
I've also driven an Audi TT 2.0T recently and boy did it put a smile on my face. Compared to the GTI the steering was tighter, the ride was lower, and the engine felt more responsive. That could have been due to a more aggressive throttle tip-in, shared with my Mazda. Quicker tip-in seems like an artificial gimmick added to make it feel sportier, but it works. Then again, maybe I'm just used to it. The point is, my 3 puts a smile on my face. The Audi TT put a big smile on my face when I drove it. The GTI was nice, but underwhelming. I had expected so much more.
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