VOLKSWAGEN BOOSTS HORSEPOWER
TO 228 FOR ITS ‘HOT HATCH’ GOLF GTI
Using Teutonic terms, the GTI is a “hot hatch” offering a bit more in the way of horsepower over the 2018 GTI and a lot more than the 147 horsepower the standard Golf delivers.
The 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine in the 2019 is rated at 228 horsepower, 8 more than the 2018 GTI though torque numbers remain the same at 258 pound-feet starting at 1500 rpm. Those power numbers are achieved using premium fuel, but you can use regular unleaded if you aren’t seeking that peak performance.
A 6-speed manual transmission is standard with a 6-speed automatic as optional for an extra $1,100. Fuel economy is pretty much the same with either transmission with the manual rated at 24 miles-per-gallon city, 32 highway and the automatic 25/31. Combined mpg is the same for either at 27.
The 2019 GTI comes in four trim levels including a limited edition Rabbit Edition that slots in between the S and SE. Sitting at the top of the line is the Autobahn trim on which this review is based.
It is easily the most expensive of the bunch with a starting MSRP of $37,990 including the $895 destination and delivery charge with the automatic transmission. The base S model with the automatic starts at $29,590, which puts it at the high end of the segment (remember, subtract $1,100 for the manual tranny).
Additional features you get as standard in the Autobahn over the other trims include a 12-way power sport driver’s seat with lumbar support, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, Fender premium audio, 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, VW’s Car-Net system for enhanced connectivity, active blind spot monitor, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, park distance control, and park steering assistant.
Leather seating surfaces and Sirius/XM satellite radio are standard on both the Autobahn and SE trims. S and Rabbit models get cloth seats with “Clark” plaid inserts (Google it).
Special safety features like forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking and rear traffic alert come on the upper three trims and are optional on the base S trim.
The interior is nicely done with techno features easy enough to operate. Both the radio and climate control systems are operated with knobs doing the volume and tuning on the former and temperature and blower on the latter. Of course, there are duplicate controls for the radio on the steering wheel.
The GTI is pretty roomy for a compact with 41.2 inches of legroom up front, 35.6 in the back, and cargo capacity of 22.8 cubic feet. The ride is solid but not overly stiff under normal conditions, and, like most smaller cars, it gives the illusion of higher speed when whipping through the streets and roads.
Little wonder that, according to research by J.D. Power, more than half of GTI buyers identify themselves as “performance” buyers. And they are not kids either. J.D. Power describes the average GTI buy as a male, with a median age of 46 years and median yearly household income of nearly $114,000.
What I liked about the 2019 Golf GTI 2.0T Autobahn: Technology is user friendly, though the navigation system map was not updated so I didn’t get a chance to test it, but audio and climate control were fine. You can turn off the automatic stop/start function with the push of a button. Performance was pretty lively. Red accents on the exterior are a nice touch. The interior is roomy for its class.
What I didn't like about the 2019 Golf GTI 2.0T Autobahn: The price tag is pretty steep for a compact hatchback.
Would I buy the 2019 Golf GTI 2.0T Autobahn? I no longer fit in this demographic, but if I did a lot of driving on crowded urban with scant parking, I would consider it for sure. It’s a good vehicle for daily commutes.