2005 Volkswagen GTI (556)


Ok, so after I drove the Jaguar XJR I knew I’d have to return to the real world. But thanks to VW I got to have a fun week driving the very agile Volkswagen GTI. I like speed so the Turbo was great and I even got to pass a lot more gas stations than with the Jag that got a whopping 21 mpg on a good day.

Contrasted to the Jag’s Supercharged engine the GTI employs a Turbocharger for boost. Well some folks will be annoyed with the head snapping when the turbo kicks in. Of course the annoyance would be worse f you didn’t have the extra boost. Have you noticed there are always tradeoffs in life? It’s a constant balancing act to give and take. And one of those trade offs is that when it comes to $3.00 plus a gallon of gas size, luxury, simplicity of this GTI allows you to stop less frequently to fill up the gas tank.

When you put transportation into perspective and you consider you can buy FOUR GTI’s for the price of admission for the Jag I tested last week, you have to ask yourself – “is the luxury really worth the difference in cost?”

The added fuel economy reminds me that I tend to drive more in a fuel-efficient car. You may say that I’m spending just as much therefore, but you know what? I also get to go more places, see more things and visit with more people when I’m not as concerned about spending so much on fuel. I guess that comes from remembering when I paid $.20 (that’s 20 cents) for a gallon of gas when I was a teen.

The contrast is obviously very great between the two cars I refer to here, so it’s easy to reflect on the relative value. Surely I got to and from my destinations in the same time with the GTI, and although the comfort level is noticeable, I don’t believe it is worth the $60,000 more. That is, unless you light your cigars with $100 bills.

General Info:

Parts – US/ Canadian 1%, Germany 36%, Brazil 30% Engine – Hungary, Transmission –     Argentina.

Assembly – Curitiba, Brazil

Class:  – Compact

Cars:  –  Golf, GTI, Jetta, Beetle, Passat, Phaeton, R-32 and Touareg.

Handling & Performance:

This is a fun car to drive. It is fast because of the turbo that keeps you in the front of the race. Zippy. If you like rides at Magic Mountain or other favorite theme park, you’ll appreciate the easy snappy response of driving a Turbocharged car of this size.


Clean lines and not hard to like because it is pretty conventional.

Fit and Finish:

Good. Most current V-Dubs have made components bulky to the feel and touch. Early models were much more flimsy and delicate. I’ve owned at least 3 VW’s and the 1963 Carmen Ghia we bought new was a neat car but they were extremely simple cars then. Those were the no frills days.


Competitively priced especially considering the generous standard equipment package.


Well appointed for the car and compared to the competition.

Consumer Recommendation:

All competitors in this class are very close. All are great transportation cars sensibly priced. The Honda Civic and Nissan Sentra top my list but this VW is a close third.

The Competition:

VW GTI $20-22,000, Subaru Impreza $18-32,000, Ford Mustang $19-31,000, Honda Civic $13-22,000, Chevrolet Cobalt $14-21,000, Saturn ION $11-21,000, Nissan Sentra $13-18,000, Mazda 3 $14-19,000, Mazda RX-8 $25-32,000, Acura TSX $27-29,000, Hyundai Tiburon $16-20,000.

Good News:

Decent fuel economy, well-equipped, nice quality / durable components, and you will be pleased with the comfort of this little car.

Bad News:

Turbo can be annoying when it kicks in. Seats are difficult to adjust, in my opinion.

Standard Equipment:

1.8 liter 180 hp turbocharged 4 cylinder engine, 5-speed manual transmission, front wheel drive, ABS disc brake system, electronic differential lock, power steering, torsion beam rear sport suspension, dual front and side airbags, child anchors, daytime running lights, air conditioning, cruise control, power windows and locks, remote keyless entry, power heated mirrors, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, front and rear intermittent wipers, adjustable sport seats with easy rear entry, split folding rear seats, remote fuel and hatch releases, radio with in dash CD and Cassette players, leather wrapped steering wheel and anti theft alarm system.

Gas Stats:

24 City and 31 Highway MPG


MSRP $19,510.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2014 – An Automotive Love Affair.

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