Fleet News

Volkswagen Golf GTI

Volkswagen

Review

AT ú16,570 on-the-road for the five-door model, the Volkswagen Golf GTI is more than ú1,600 cheaper than the ú18,190 Golf GTI Turbo five-door, and there is a host of pros and cons which confuse what can be considered the better buy. What's more, that price looks good value against other members of the hot hatch league: the more powerful Astra SRi 2.0 (though three-door only) costs ú16,000 with air con, for example, while a similarly equipped three-door Golf GTi is ú16,345.

Power-freaks and connoisseurs of the GTI badge will say only the 150bhp 1.8T version is a real GTI. But the normally-aspirated 1.8 GTI, with its 125bhp 20-valve engine, is cheaper, sits four insurance groups lower at 10 compared with the Turbo's 14, and has a very similar specification. Though not so outwardly sporting - it does without the Turbo's good-looking 16in alloy wheels, lowered suspension, Recaro seats and subtle trim modifications - it's otherwise visually the same.

The Golf already holds the title of Europe's most popular car with more than 18 million sales over 22 years and the new Golf looks set to continue the tradition. At the end of its life, the previous Golf GTI took some 25% of total sales, a pointer to the strength of the GTI brand - and that was without a diesel, though the Continent has had sporting diesels for some time.

With the latest range, Volkswagen's renowned 110bhp turbodiesel is available in GTI spec as the GT TDI, and it sits alongside the two petrol engines to give the GTI its widest UK range to date. Question is, is the standard 1.8 a poor excuse for a GTI or is it the bargain of the bunch?

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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