Sunday, February 10, 2013

2007 Volkswagen GTI 4 door

2007 Volkswagen GTI - A true wolf in sheep's clothing in the 4-door variant
The vehicle in question is a long standing champion of the sport compact market. This last week I test drove a 2007 Volkswagen GTI 4 door. What can be said about the GTI? My first impression walking up to the vehicle is its relatively understated styling. It doesn't have any strong distinguishing features to separate itself from the Golf or Rabbit. The subtle differences that do hint at the performance are mature and an ode to the cars past with the red line trim surrounding the blacked out grill. The vehicle I was testing had winter rims and tires which added to the less conspicuous look. I understand the unique OEM rims to be impressive eye candy that further distinguishes the model as a standout in the VW line.

The Overall shape of the GTI has clearly grown since its earlier generations. The added size makes the "Mark V" GTI the first generation available in a 4-door variant. The space inside is tremendous to anyone who is familiar with any VW made in the 1980's. Once I stepped into the driver seat and peered around I was genuinely impressed with the amount of retro flannel fabric. Not only was the space impressive but the nod to past generations of GTI continues with the pattern on the seats. I can imagine how this becomes a dividing thing amongst any prospective buyers but I tend to be in favor of most "love it or hate it" design touches. The same is true of the seats. I love that VW has taken an out-dated pattern and made it cool again, at least for those of us that "get it". The feel in the drivers seat before the key is even turned on this car is that of a well built solid car that isn't about flashiness. The interior is simple, well laid out and wreaks of build quality. I will point out this car was clearly detailed by a professional and owned by a retired man. I've yet to see such a clean daily driver that's 5+ years old. Even this lightly used (87,000kms) VW hardly displays any signs of its age inside as all the controls and touch points have an affirming click, smooth and positive. The same adjectives can be used to describe the shifter feel. The wheel is another great piece. It's comfortable but the flat bottom and thumb indents are nice touches that inspire a sporty feel. Turn the key and the motor springs to life like any other. No hint of performance from the powertrain at idle but engage 1st and get the turbo spooled up: Then you'll see the other side of the GTI coin. Boost starts to build from the 2.0 Turbo early. The intake noise is rewarding from 2000rpm up and the 200hp is awesome. I was surprised to feel barely any noticeable torque steer in the lower gears. It takes corners well and is really responsive without the brake dive or body roll typical of any other 4 door hatchback.
I know! I was impressed with the cleanliness of the freshly detailed interior too.
I would argue the mark V GTI is one of the best FWD cars built in the 2005-2009 era. It is logical, convenient, efficient, fast, sporty and notably reliable. If you're looking for a true all rounder that really can impress in any given category with no real short comings it is one of your best options. It isn't flashy, it isn't obnoxious but it has a cult like following for a reason. It's just a smart decision, plain and simple. So long as a persons priorities don't require anything too specific I would recommend it to any friend and have made myself a promise to one day own one.