Compact Hatchback Battle Royal – Finding The Best In A Six-Model Slugfest
Here’s the scenario – you want a car, but it has to be the right car. It’s gotta be practical and comfortable, but it can’t be a complete snooze-fest behind the wheel either. You don’t want a crossover, and a sedan isn’t gonna cut it. What you want is a hatchback, something with a little zest and personality, but something that won’t break the bank. Thankfully, there are plenty of options out there, but which to choose? To help you decide, we’ve gathered six of the top contenders and put them head-to-head in the following comparison article. Let’s get ready to rumble.
To keep it all apples-to-apples, each of the entries in our comparison comes packaged in a five-door body style, gets standard FWD, and is instilled with at least a hint of sportiness. Each is also tagged with an MSRP around the $20,000 mark. With criteria like that, we decided to include the Ford Focus ST, Honda Civic Hatchback, Hyundai Elantra GT, Mazda 3 Hatchback, Mini Cooper Hardtop Four-Door, and Volkswagen Golf GTI.
While all six of these hatchbacks are solid choices in their own right, the question remains – which is the best? Read on for our take.
Continue reading for the full comparison.
The eighth-generation Golf is looking like it’s still a few years down the road, but when it’s finally released, customers will potentially be offered three different levels of power from the hotter GTI version.
That’s the word from the German publication Auto Bild, which recently released a report on the iconic people’s hatch.
Under the hood will probably be the same EA888 2.0-liter four-cylinder from the current 2016 Volkswagen Golf R, with power routed through either a six-speed manual or an optional seven-speed automatic gearbox. According to the Auto Bild report though, the powerplant will come in three levels of output for the GTI: 265 horsepower from the GTI Classic, 300 horsepower from the GTI Performance and 326 horsepower from the GTI Club Sport. VW has already confirmed production plans for the Golf R400, which is expected to come packing at least 400 horsepower and AWD.
Just for the sake of reference, the current model 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI produces 210 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, sprinting to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds and reaching a top speed of 155 mph.
Presently, it’s expected that a facelift for the current seventh generation should be unveiled sometime next year, after which the eighth-generation Golf will make its appearance in 2018. Once the base model is out, the new GTI will most likely see an introduction in 2019.
A preview of the next-gen Golf will reportedly come to CES in January as a “Gen E” electric concept.
Continue reading for the full story.
The Volkswagen Golf lineup is set for realignment at the top end of the performance spectrum, with new eighth-generation fast Golfs on the way, including a 300-horsepower Golf GTI, 350-horsepower Golf R and a new Golf RS variant with 400 horsepower. The next GTI will retain front-wheel-drive, while all-wheel-drive will be saved for the R and RS. We’ll likely get a preview of this new hierarchy when a production version of the 400-horsepower Golf R400, based on the current Golf, debuts later this year.
According to Automobile Magazine, the eighth-generation Golf is expected to arrive in 2019 and will be an evolution of the current car. It will be built on Volkswagen’s new MQB architecture (internally called MQB evo), with improvements focused primarily on drivetrain and electronics. The next Golf should be lighter too, with the new GTI weighing between 50 and 100 pounds less than current one.
The GTI’s new engine will be more or less the same EA888 2.0-liter four-cylinder from the current Golf R and mated to either a six-speed manual or optional dual-clutch automatic transmission. Other options will include bigger brakes, adaptive dampers and an electronic limited-slip differential (which it definitely needed to manage all that power going to the front wheels).
Continue reading for the full story.
A new one-off show car concept from Volkswagen has just dropped cover, and it boasts a sensational two-tone paint scheme, an ear-bleed-inducing 3,500-watt stereo system, and nearly 180 extra horsepower. It’s called the GTI Dark Shine, and it was put together over the course of nine months by a group of 17- to 25-year-olds taking part in a VW training program. Making its world debut at the 34th annual Worthersee enthusiast car show in southern Austria, the results speak for themselves.
"By working on the Worthersee GTI project, our apprentices learn about the complexity of automobile production," says Dr. Stefan Kreher, Head of Volkswagen Vocational Training. "The project offers especially talented young people an opportunity to learn from experienced colleagues from the entire company at an early stage."
The 13-member team worked with experts throughout the build, but planned and executed almost every step of the process on their own. An estimated 150,000 gearheads were in attendance at Worthersee, giving the young group a sizable audience to showcase their skills.
Read on to see what they did.
Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Golf GTI Dark Shine.
That happened quickly; the 2015 GTI Clubsport went from near-production concept to celebratory 40th anniversary model for the legendary GTI, and will see production starting in 2016.
The details are still not 100 percent clear on what the production GTI Clubsport will entail, but the fact that VW calls the concept “near-production” is a sign that what you see at Wörthersee is just about what the German automaker will deliver. This means that it’ll likely include a 195 kW (261-horsepower) 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine under its hood. This would make for a 51-horsepower bump over the base GTI.
On top of the extra juice, look for a revised chassis that includes wider wheels wrapped in sticky rubber, stiffer springs and dampers, thicker antiroll bars, and a lower ride height.
This special model should also include a body kit that not only gives the GTI a sexier look, but will also increase the downforce. This kit will likely include the pieces from the concept, including the revised front bumper, side sills, a roof-edge spoiler, and a rear diffuser.
I also expect to see a good bit of reworking on the inside to make it more track-focused; maybe some sportier seats, contrasting accents, a sportier steering wheel, and maybe some exclusive gauges.
There is no mention of whether the Golf GTI Clubsport will be offered in the U.S. or not, but stay tuned for more on that.
Continue reading for the full story.
With the Wörthersee gathering just around the corner, the Volkswagen Group is rolling out previews of all sorts of awesome concepts. Today, the German automaker is previewing a concept version of its GTI — dubbed the GTI Performance — that a group of 13 young apprentices developed for the show.
With the Wörthersee event not due to open its gates until May 14th, VW is only giving us a quick glimpse of the hatchback and its distinctive black-and-yellow paint. This leaves us with just a little taste of what these young folks have to offer, but it also leaves us wondering what else they have in store for us.
Luckily, we won’t have to wait much longer to find out how deep VW let these kids dive into the GTI.
Continue reading my preview of the GTI Performance concept to see what I think these apprentices will offer VW enthusiasts at Wörthersee.
Fresh off a redesign in 2015, the VW Golf GTI is primed to take on the midrange of the hot-hatch market while its Golf R sibling tackles the top of the class. With the VW Wörthersee gathering set to kick off on May 13th, the Germans have previewed a special “near-production concept” that it’s calling the GTI Clubsport.
Unfortunately, Volkswagen chose to tease us on its Facebook page with sketches of the exterior of the GTI Clubsport but no real details. This makes it tough to piece together exactly what this model is. My gut tells me that it’ll be a special package that will make the GTI a more track-ready machine, but it could also be just a styling kit.
A track-tuned package would be the perfect middle ground between the GTI and the Golf R, but Volkswagen may not want to risk getting so close to its halo hatchback.
The Wörthersee gathering is right around the corner, so we’ll find out soon enough.
Updated 05/13/2015: Volkswagen dropped the official images and details on the new Golf GTI Clubsport concept.
Continue reading my preview of the GTI Clubsport to learn more about what I think this model has to offer.
Volkswagen has unleashed a new GTI ripe for digital hot lapping, and it’s got over 500 horsepower, AWD traction, oodles of carbon fiber, and enough wing to shame a jet fighter. It’s called the GTI Supersport, and it’s part of the Gran Turismo Vision project. For those of you who may be unaware, Vision is an invitation to every major automaker to produce the ultimate sports car for the GT6 gaming environment. As you can imagine, such carte-blanche freedom has spawned some truly insane creations, and now, this VW will join the party.
PlayStation 3 owners can download the car now to give it a couch test drive. VW says “The designers and engineers picked up on the legendary GTI DNA from a visual and technical standpoint,” adding, “… the unmistakably charismatic looks of the new ‘GTI Supersport Vision Gran Turismo’ in the digital rear-view mirror are likely to make the other contenders more than a little nervous.”
It all sounds good. But is this Vision worth your precious gaming time? Read on to find out.
Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen GTI Supersport Vision Gran Turismo.
Motor Trend has released a video chronicling their search for the best driver’s car of 2014. It’s an epic, hour-long odyssey to find the ultimate ride in a stacked field of top performers, and it’s filled to the brim with gorgeous footage of the latest and greatest sports cars at the limit. Contenders for this year’s title include: the Alfa Romeo 4C, the BMW i8, the BMW M4, the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, the Ford Fiesta ST, the Jaguar F-Type R Coupe, the Nissan GT-R Nismo, the Porsche 911 Turbo S, the Subaru WRX STI, and the Volkswagen Golf GTI.
The review is broken into two parts, as each car is put through its paces on twisty bits of California Highway 198 and flung down the corkscrew at the world-famous Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Hosted by Motor Trend’s Carlos Lago and touring car champion Randy Pobst, the finer points of driving each on the road and track is thoroughly dissected and examined. This isn’t a numbers game; winners and losers are determined by traits like ride stability, steering feel, power delivery, balance, and driver engagement. It’s really all about that ultimate intangible for a car: how it makes the driver feel behind the wheel.
Did Motor Trend nail it? Miss the mark? Which car do you think deserves the win? We want to read your thoughts in the comments below.
Click past the jump to see a list of the participants.
It seems General Motors is not the only automaker busy recalling cars these days. German manufacturer Volkswagen has ordered U.S. and Canadian dealers to halt sales for about 800 units of its 2015 Golf and Golf GTI hatches, quoting front suspension issues. Sure, 800 cars is nothing compared to the millions of vehicles GM has to fix, but we’re talking about a brand-new and highly acclaimed model.
Although Volkswagen has sent notifications to stop 813 Golfs from leaving U.S. and Canadian dealer lots, 1,634 hatches affected by this problem have been already sold to North American customers. The stop-sale order sent to dealerships says the "front stabilizer links in the affected vehicles were installed with too little torque," which could cause them to come loose detach entirely, affecting the car’s steering, Automotive News reports.
According to Jalopnik, the German automaker plans to notify the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the defect, meaning owners will soon receive a recall notice. The affected hatches will have their faulty front stabilizer links replaced at no cost to the customers. Volkswagen is not aware of any crashes and injuries as of 07/08/2014.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI.
The Goodwood Festival of Speed is only 21 years old. That’s very young when compared to other automotive events; but make no mistake, this annual gathering has grown to become one of the most important racing happenings in the world. The festival attracts not only historic and modern race cars alike, but also a host of past and present drivers to hoon some of the coolest vehicles up the Goodwood hill.
The event is getting better and better with each edition, and 2014 is no exception. With nearly 10 debuts set to take place in West Sussex, England, and with iconic drivers such as Richard Petty, Al Unser, John Surtees and Emerson Fittipaldi having already confirmed their presence, this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed is shaping up to be one hell of a spectacle.
NASCAR’s "King" Petty will arrive to drive his legendary No. 43 Plymouth Belvedere through the course, while Unser will hoon the 1978 Penske Lola-Cosworth racer in which he won his third Indy 500. And that’s only a mere fraction of the action scheduled between June 26th and 29th.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Goodwood Festival Of Speed.
Stuff’s about to get real — in a digital sort of way — in the world of VW concept cars. At the upcoming Goodwood Festival of Speed that is set to run June 26th through 29th, Volkswagen will display the bad-ass GTI Roadster Concept for the first time on UK soil, but that is small potatoes to the next statement. At the 2014 Goodwood festivities, fans can also drive this phenomenal concept up the famous hillclimb course. Of course, this is all in the digital world of Gran Turismo 6 on a recreation of the Goodwood Hilclimb.
It would be so much cooler had Volkswagen actually offered the chance to drive the real car up the Goodwood hill, but I understand the reasoning behind keeping it all digital. Regardless, it will be a fun time, thanks to 503 PS (496 horsepower) and 560 Nm (413 pound-feet) of twist traveling from its biturbo, 3.0-liter, V-6 engine through a DSG transmission and out to all four wheels. Digital or reality, this topless VW is sure to be a hoot to take up the hill. I only wish I was in the UK to "drive" it.
Click past the jump to read more about this opportunity and the GTI Roadster Concept.
Gran Turismo’s Vision Gran Turismo series of concepts is slowly taking shape and another automaker has come out and released its creative work.
Joining in on the fun is Volkswagen with its Vision Gran Turismo Concept. And if we’re into picking among the best of what we’ve seen, it’s hard to go against what looks like a pretty sick roadster that actually bears resemblance to one of Volkswagen’s production models, specifically the Scirocco.
This is what the creative forces at Volkswagen thought of when they were asked to build a concept for the video game franchise. It’s not that the car looks good; it’s that it looks exceptionally good, one we hope Volkswagen decides to build as an actual production car in the future.
It retains most of the essential characteristics of the brand’s sports hatch and wraps it up in a sportier package, one that features a dramatically low windshield, a swooping front end, new headlights, and lest we forget, the sickest set of wheels we’ve seen among all the Vision Gran Turismo Concept cars that have come out.
Updated 05/23/2014: Volkswagen revealed the first details and specs on the Vision Gran Turismo Concept, just a few days before the car’s official debut on May 28th at the Worthersee Festival in Austria.
Updated 05/28/2014: Volkswagen unveiled a new video (above) revealing the new Vision Gran Turismo Concept in action and it surely looks fast! A new set of images were also dropped by the developers of the Gran Turismo game. Enjoy!
Updated 05/29/2014: Volkswagen unveiled the new Vision Gran Turismo Concept - or GTI Roadster - at the Worthersee Festival. Click past the jump to find out the new details.
Click past the jump to read more about the Volkswagen Vision Gran Turismo Concept
Volkswagen has unveiled all of the juicy bits for the 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI. Suffice to say, the MK VII Golf GTI has the refined power we all look for in a sports hatchback. The 2015 model not only has that in spades, thanks to a 2.0-liter, turbocharged, I-4 engine that packs 210 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, but it also has a lot of standard and optional features to choose from.
Even better, Volkswagen is set to offer a Performance Package for the Golf GTI later in the year. This package is expected to include larger brakes, a torque-sensing electronically-controlled limited-slip differential, and a 10 horsepower boost over the regular GTI, all for just $1,495. The Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) adaptive damping system will also be available later in the 2015 model year on the SE and Autobahn models with the Performance Package.
Needless to say, there’s a lot to be giddy about with the 2015 Golf GTI and we won’t blame you for feeling the same way.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI
Happy Thursday, everyone! It is time once again for your favorite automotive-centric internet radio show: the TopSpeed.com Podcast. This week Justin and Mark join me for another full show full of hijinks, burning petrol and the occasional silliness.
The Weekly Wheels segment features the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, the Mitsubishi Outlander and a special appearance from a classic Porsche.
Our news stories cover the prospect of a new GTI Club Sport, the upcoming 2015 Dodge Charger and a potential successor to the Mitsubishi 3000GT. Mark covers the 5 best pickups under $30k, and then we celebrate the coming of spring with talk of the M4 Convertible.
Thanks to you guys, we had a big Q&A segment that included our picks for worst car names ever, what cars we wish would hit U.S. shores and we discuss what cars we would wipe from the history of existence. Other fun questions include what we would cram a Ferrari V-12 engine into, odd stories from press drives and we discuss what it would take to make us leave this great job. It was quite the eclectic collection of questions.
Thanks for being so awesome, guys. Keep the questions coming.
We wrap up our show with Own, Drive, Burn in which we celebrated the warm weather some more with our choices between a Porsche Boxster, Mercedes-Benz SLK and a BMW Z4.
As an extra bonus to everyone listening, watching and actually reading this far down in the post, I am going to be giving a few of my own personal bits of cool auto stuff to some of you guys. I have a smaller version of the Aston Martin DB5 print that is hanging on my wall, and I have a calendar from the same photographer. To have a chance at winning just subscribe to the TopSpeed Podcast YouTube channel, and follow @TopSpeedPodcast on Twitter. That is it. In two weeks I will pick the two winners and send out your cool free stuff. If you want some extra chances to win, you can follow Justin (@TheCarJunky), Mark (@MarkMcNabb) and myself (@Moeferd) on Twitter as well. One entry for each follow.
As always, don’t forget to keep commenting, giving us suggestions and sending us your questions. You guys can reach us at the above Twitter locations, by commenting on this post or by email: Podcast@TopSpeed.com
Click "Play" below to hear the Topspeed.com Podcast 006. Make sure to catch all of the episodes on our new iTunes channel!
If you want to see our smiling faces, you can see the video version of the Podcast after the jump.
Hosts: Christian Moe, Justin Cupler, Mark McNabb
Weekly Wheels: Porsche 944, Mitsubishi Outlander, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
You may recall the Golf VI GTI Razor 6 that RevoZport revealed to the world back in 2010? As its name suggests it was based on the Golf GTI VI, and it was all about bumping the engine’s total output.
With Volkswagen revealing the seventh-generation Golf GTI, RevoZport came with a new tuning kit, this time called of course Razor 7.
For the first time, the GTI is offered with two different level of power. As standard, the GTI’s 2.0-liter, turbocharged engine delivers either 220, but you can bump that to 230 horsepower with the Performance model. We think that even VW can admit that those numbers aren’t necessarily overwhelming.
This is where RevoZport comes into focus. It updated the turbocharged engine with an ECU remap, a new induction system and a titanium exhaust that weight just 22 pounds — 50 percent less than the stock version. This increases the 2.0-liter engine’s total output to 290 horsepower, which is much better suited for a hot hatchback like the GTI.
Click past the jump to read more about the Volkswagen Golf GTI Razor 7 by RevoZport.
Chris Harris review another great car in the latest episode of Drive: the seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf GTI. He took the GTI out on a road in an attempt to see what improvements the seventh generation brings to the market.
The seventh-generation Golf GTI pull its power from a 2.0-liter turbocharged direct-injection engine that comes in two power levels. The standard version it delivers 220 horsepower and the same engine with the Performance pack it goes up to 230 horsepower. The standard version sprints from 0 to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds and the Performance package allows it to hit 60 mph in 6.4 seconds.
Check out the video to see what makes Harris say the Golf GTI is "one of the best cars to actually own." What the video and let us know if you agree with what Harris has to say on the seventh generation GTI.
Every year, German automaker Volkswagen goes to the Wörthersee festival in Reifnitz, Austria to show us a concept that blows us away.
It’s no different this year because after much hype and buzz, VW is ready to unleash the Design Vision GTI Concept.
In a word: wow.
In two words: production, please?
We can go on and on about what we think of the concept, but that space is provided after the jump. Here, it’s all about trying not to trip over ourselves in throwing as many superlatives as our brains can come up with.
In any case, Volkswagen designed the concept as a way to show us what the future of its GTI line could look like. It didn’t say that a production version of this car is on the horizon, which is a bummer, but if this does give us a hint of what we can expect for future GTI models, then Volkswagen did a masterful job of getting our attention.
Updated 05/10/2013: After the new Design Vision GTI Concept made its world debut at the Wörthersee meeting the other days, today it unveiled a first promo video that makes our imagination go wild: how will it be if VW will really create a GTI that can transform?
As promised, click past the jump to read more about the Volkswagen Design Vision GTI Concept
BBM is a well-known tuner of various Volkswagens and the GTI has once again become a favorite of import car tuners everywhere. This latest GTI mod offered by BBM serves up both styling and performance modifications that are sufficient enough to make any Vee-Dub owner smile.
The first thing you get is a carbon-fiber hood that saves a little weight and adds to the look of the GTI. The carbon-fiber treatment continues on the door step plates, rear diffuser, and mirror housings, completing the look. CFC Styling Station wrapped the rest of the body in a blue metallic foil and added a load of stickers to the front, left fender.
Looks aren’t all you get with this package. You also get a set of orange and aluminum 8 x 20-inch Corniche Challenge rims with sticky 235/30R20 tires mounted to them for a little extra grip. Also helping you keep it on the road is a complete suspension setup from KW Clubsport. Bringing this GTI to a stop is a set of Stopteck front brakes that feature 355 x 32 mm (23.97 x 1.26-inch) rotors and 4-piston monobloc calipers.
The twisties aren’t the only place you can have fun with this BBM-tuned GTI. It also boasts am ECU flash and a full-stainless-steel exhaust system with a racing catalytic converter. This pumps the GTIs turbocharged 4-banger from 210 horsepower to a whopping 275 horsepower and its torque from 206 pound-feet to a more respectable 280 pound-feet.
There is no build price listed for this kit, but we would anticipate it to run in the $5,000 range with all of that carbon fiber. It may even sneak into the $8,000 range, if the ECU modification is more than a simple flash.
We’ve already captured the seventh generation Volkswagen Golf during some of its testing a few months ago, but now we have finally been able to catch the GTI version during its turn on the Nurburgring.
The Volkswagen Golf GTI has been built on the company’s new MQB platform. Compared to the current GTI, the next generation will be longer and lower, but its design will pretty much remain the same. The prototype seen in these images are covered in camouflage, but through the gaps of the coverings we can see that it has received real front lights and door mounted mirrors (the current Golf GTI’s mirrors are mounted at the side window).
Under the hood, there is a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder that will deliver up to 260 HP - an increase of 60 HP over the current generation (if the current rumors turn out to be true).
Expect to see the new Volkswagen Golf GTI launched sometime in 2013, most likely at the Geneva Motor Show.