Consumer Reports Says 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI Is Second Best Sports Car Under $40,000, But Still Doesn’t Recommend It

If you’re looking for affordable sports cars, you probably can’t go wrong with the Volkswagen Golf GTI. The Golf GTI is renowned for its performance, and with a starting MSRP under $30,000, it won’t break your budget. Still, despite being rated among the best in its class by Consumer Reports, the site doesn’t recommend it, which is more of a red flag for potential buyers.

What Consumer Reports liked about the Volkswagen Golf GTI

Volkswagen Golf GTI 2022 | Volkswagen of America, Inc. Newspress Limited

Consumer Reports reviewers praised the power and performance of the 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI — even more so than the last-generation model. They noted its more powerful engine: a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder generating 240 horsepower that improves on the previous model’s 13 horsepower. They also praised its transmission choices: a standard six-speed manual or an optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, which, mated to the engine, produced sharp handling and snappy acceleration (60 mph in 6 ,4 seconds). As a result, the Golf GTI scored 85 out of 100 in its road test.

Performance, style and comfort ratings are likely behind the Golf GTI’s owner satisfaction score of 4 out of 5. Although this score was not broken down into the usual driving experience categories , comfort, value and style, reviewers liked the Golf GTI’s exterior and its retro plaid upholstery trim inside. They also rated seat comfort and rear seat headroom as pluses.

However, the Golf GTI only got an overall score of 67 out of 100, thanks to an expected reliability score of 2/5. Unfortunately, while the latest version of this affordable sedan offers superior performance, it also has some serious issues.

Where the Volkswagen Golf GTI was found missing

The predicted low reliability score of the Volkswagen Golf GTI was mainly due to serious problems with previous models. For example, the 2015 to 2017 model years had significant engine issues, and a few minor issues were found in the 2019 version. ‘electrical equipment. Ratings aren’t available for the 2020 or 2021 editions, but you can also easily find complaints online about the same areas for those model years.

Despite being a hatchback, the Golf GTI’s trunk space is relatively small and its in-floor storage bins can’t handle much. Still, the main driver of the Golf GTI’s overall low score was the confusing infotainment system and climate controls. Even the most mundane infotainment system tasks usually require a minimum of two steps. Also, the touch controls don’t turn on automatically in low light, and the buttons react slowly when pressed.

Reviewers also noted that it’s too easy to make accidental changes via the steering wheel controls. The climate controls are just as tedious and confusing as those of the infotainment system. Beyond the controls, reviewers also criticized the placement of the center dash vents as being too low and the placement of the defroster buttons (near the headlight controls) as “disconcerting”.

Which sports car does Consumer Reports recommend instead?

Instead of the Volkswagen Golf GTI, Consumer Reports recommends the 2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata. With an overall score of 85 out of 100, the MX-5 Miata outperformed the Golf GTI in most categories. Although it got lower marks for its road test (80/100), it got perfect scores in predicted reliability and owner satisfaction.

With an MSRP also starting at less than $30,000, the MX-5 Miata offers impressive performance that rivals the Golf GTI. While its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine generates just 181 horsepower, the car itself weighs just 2,300 pounds. As a result, Consumer Reports reviewers noted that the MX-5 Miata could get more performance from this engine. It’s also nearly as quick as the GTI, with a 0-60 acceleration speed of 6.7 seconds.

Where the MX-5 Miata fails is as a daily driver. It is narrow for a two-seater, has a small trunk and is poorly insulated from the road, tires and wind noise. It’s not exceptionally comfortable either, with sparsely padded seats and few adjusters. However, if you think of the MX-5 as a daily driver, you’re missing the point.

The MX-5 Miata outperforms its competitors as a sports car. In contrast, the Golf GTI is both a hatchback and a sports car. So if you’re looking for a pure sports car, you’re better off with the MX-5 Miata.

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Michael C. Ford