2010 Volkswagen GTI Review

Expert Reviews Volkswagen

By Francis Cebedo


  • Balance and poise are delivered in this package
  • Interior design and quality are top notch
  • Value. while it is not cheap, it delivers a lot of the money
  • Mileage is impressive when driven conservatively
  • Terrific DSG transmission. It is fuel efficient and responsive
  • Styling is thoroughly refined and modern yet it carries on the Golf lineage
  • Dynaudio stereo system is A+
  • Driveability and fun factor is sky high


  • Can be outgunned in a horsepower fight
  • Heavy, unattractive and dated wheels
  • Bluetooth needs voice dial
  • iPod integration needs to be quicker, especially when there is a big song library

Balance and harmony are coveted words in automobiles. The 2010 Volkswagen GTI achieves both with authority. This car makes no attempt to entice you with high performance specs or flashy spoilers and hood scoops. Rather, it will capture your driving soul with a unit that drives extremely well. It will take you to work and invite you to take the scenic mountain route on occasion. The GTI will give you great mileage, yet push you to the back of the seat when called upon. It will deliver great value for your dollar, yet spoil you with an interior that defies its price category.

Driving Impressions:

The VW GTI is a car you fall in love with every day you use it. It is a practical car. It is a driver’s car. It is many things for many occasions.

2010 Volkswagen GTI

It all starts with a Golf chassis that is solid and capable. The GTI is a performance-oriented version of the Volkswagen Golf and is available in two-door and four-door hatchback body styles. VW makes many modifications to the GTI to improve its performance and luxury. For power, it has a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that’s capable of 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and sends power to the front wheels. A dual-clutch automated manual transmission called DSG (direct shift gearbox) is available as well. The GTI pushes the Golf chassis quite far but still nowhere near the limit. 200 horsepower is really on the low end of the competition matrix and many may ignore this car and opt for the 250 to 300 hp rockets. But wait, the driving experience should win you back. It may not be fastest in a straight line, but this car will beat many more powerful cars on the track or on a twisty mountain road. It is easy to drive fast and it is safe and forgiving. The chassis can handle a lot more and it is a joy to drive this car at the limit.

0-60 time is around 6.8 seconds yet it achieves fuel economy numbers of up to 30 mpg. Because this car has an efficient turbocharged 2.0L engine, it has two faces. Keep it under the turbo boost and it will deliver impressive mileage figures. Keep it near the redline and this engine will thrill you and punish your mileage figures quite a bit. But isn’t that a fair compromise? Commute in peace and use less fossil fuels regularly. But we all need a little thrill once in a while so a few extra liters now is a small price to pay when one takes the scenic route home.

2010 Volkswagen GTI 8-way manually adjustable sport seats3-spoke leather wrapped steering wheel2010 VW GTI interior

The Volkswagen GTI differentiates itself from the competition with an upscale cabin and a high level of features that make the car almost seem like a luxury car. Standard equipment includes heated sport front seats, upscale tartan upholstery, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker audio system with a touchscreen head unit and iPod interface. Among the options are 18-inch wheels (with or without summer tires), sunroof, bi-xenon headlights, premium audio system, navigation system, and leather upholstery. There is also a package that adds the leather, sunroof and special seats. This truly feels like a much more expensive car without being fussy.

Among its buyers, the GTI earned strong praise for its well-rounded nature and is considered a class leader. Although it’s not the most powerful or the most aggressively tuned for high-speed handling, the GTI makes up for any such deficiencies with a comfortable ride, excellent fuel economy, loads of interior space, classy styling, a reasonable price and the high-quality cabin.

2010 Volkswagen GTI

It is worth mentioning that this 2.0L turbo engine is one of the easiest motors to upgrade for more power. With ECU (engine chip) upgrade for $600, the engine power can be raised to 250 hp and 294 lb/ft of torque. Too good to be true? Well, it may void your engine warranty and you’ll need to use super unleaded fuel all the time. But enthusiasts the world over have done this upgrade and have had spectacular results, especially with earlier versions of the engine. How? Basically, the engine has a conservative turbocharger boost and the chip raises the boost. Mileage is about the same on normal driving and it suffers a bit when tapping the upper reaches of 250 hp. There are several vendors available but APR seems to be one of the more popular ones. Info is here: http://www.goapr.com/products/ecu_upgrade_20tsi_trans.html

Though lacking in raw horsepower and the electronics integration is sub par, the VW GTI still gets 5 stars. It leads the hot hatchback category and delivers a driving experience that is the perfect balance of utility and performance.

RATING 4.75 5.0 4.5 5.0 4.75 4.75 4.75/A-

2010 Volkswagen Golf 2010 Volkswagen Golf Review – Utility and performance fitted into an economical package
Rating: 4.5 stars
By Francis Cebedo

“I love the sportiness and utility of these cars. And to top it off, I just like the way they look.”

2008 Volkswagen R32 2008 Volkswagen R32 Review – The mature hot-hatch
Rating: 4.5 stars
By Kurt Gensheimer

“Refinement is the name of the R32’s game. Get inside, wheel it around the block, take it on the highway, then drive it in sheets of wind-driven rain.”

2008 Volkswagen R32 or GTI? 2008 Volkswagen R32 and GTI Video Review
Rating: 4.5 stars
By Kurt Gensheimer

Which do you prefer? The R32 powered by a normally aspirated V6 or the GTI with a turbocharged I4? Watch the video to learn more about what each car has to offer.

Photo Galleries:
2010 VW GTI Photo Gallery | 2010 VW Golf | 2008 VW R32

VW of AmericaOfficial website for Volkswagen of America – www.vw.com

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  • Peter Anastopulos says:

    This car is gorgeous in every way .It’s really not a sports car but something more.Much like the WRX it offers utility with speed.This is the prime example why VW group bought Georgetto’s Guigaro’s design group after they finished this car.They designed this car for VW and it’s so timeless and understated. You would never imagine this car could be Japanese or Korean it’s just pure and not junkie.Woop’s Honda if you were not to cheap you could of hired Guigaro to remake your ugly,hideous line of cars.I really can’t wait to see the the large sedan there building in the US that I hear is all GG.

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