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2010 Volkswagen GTI Review

MPG-o-Matic 2010 Volkswagen GTI Review Summary: The 2010 Volkswagen GTI is the latest incarnation of the “Original German Hot Hatch,” and it’s a winner in every way, as the Mark VI GTI delivers thrilling performance, solid fuel economy, excellent handling, and a wonderful cabin. Choosing a GTI over the extremely thrifty Golf TDI comes down to the trade-off between fuel-efficiency and performance.




The front-wheel-drive 2010 Volkswagen GTI is available in both three-door and five-door models. The GTI’s 2.0-liter turbocharged, direct injected and intercooled four-cylinder engine produces 200 horsepower (HP) and 207 foot pounds of torque. The inline four can be mated to a six-speed DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox) duel clutch automatic or six-speed manual transmission.

The official fuel economy estimates show the GTI’s DSG automatic to be the more thrifty choice of the two. The 2010 VW GTI is EPA rated at 24 city / 32 highway miles per gallon (MPG) when equipped with the automatic and 21 / 31 with the manual transmission.

We covered over 400 miles in our automatic-equipped United Gray Metallic review unit and easily surpassed the official mileage estimates, scoring an average of 36.1 MPG on the Interstate highway and 29.1 MPG combined in winter temperatures and mixed conditions.

Overall test period temperatures ranged from from the low-twenties through the mid-forties. Interstate highway testing temperatures hovered near forty degrees. The test vehicle was equipped with the standard GTI Denver 17-inch alloy wheels, clad with 225/45/R17 all-season tires, and was delivered with just over 4000 miles on the odometer.

(VW offers three different 18-inch wheel options: Topas, Karthoum Black, and Detroit … if you’re looking for a bit more rim to fill the wheel wells.)

Interstate Mileage Testing:

  • Cruise control set to 68 MPH, A/C off, heat on, driver seat heated, windows up: 35.4 MPG
  • Cruise control off, target speed 60-72 MPH, A/C off, heat on, driver seat heated, windows up: 36.8 MPG

The 2010 GTI’s 14.5 gallon fuel tank provides a reasonable amount of range when driven conscientiously. Premium unleaded gasoline is “recommended for maximum performance.”

The DSG automatic transmission doesn’t just provide higher fuel economy. It also delivers slightly better performance than the manual, with the automatic rated a tenth of a second faster in the sprint to sixty miles per hour (MPH). The GTI’s 0-60 MPH time is factory-rated at 6.7 seconds with the automatic and 6.8 seconds with the manual transmission.

The DSG transmission features Launch Control (not shown in the video review, due to production issues), which promises “the fastest and most precise way of getting your V-dub from 0 to 60.” While that is all well and good, we were able to squeak past the official numbers without using Launch Control.

The DSG’s Tiptronic mode allows full control over gear changes from both the slapstick and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

The GTI includes Volkswagen’s excellent Multi Function trip-computer nestled between the speedometer and tachometer. With trip meters, range to empty, average fuel consumption, and real-time MPG displays, you have all the tools you need to get the most out of every gallon of premium gas (with the exception of right-foot restraint, of course).

For fuel-efficiency’s sake, we always recommend driving with the real time MPG gauge active.

We tested the GTI immediately after testing a very similar Golf TDI. These nearly identical twins tackle the corners using differing approaches, the TDI with its low end grunt and the GTI with a more traditional rev-happy approach.

The interior of the GTI is distinctive, with clean design and upscale materials. The unique flat-bottom red-stitched three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel is exceptional, and features integrated controls for the data displays and audio system.

Our test unit was equipped with hands-free Bluetooth and Autobahn interior option, which includes a power sunroof. The heated Titan Black leather bucket seats provide plenty of adjustment (8-way) and keep you glued with deep bolsters that provide excellent lateral support. Lumbar support is manual. The seat heaters provide two levels of adjustment.

An eight-speaker touchscreen audio system with USB iPod support is standard. (An auxiliary audio input, is provided as well.) The USB interface and auxiliary input are located in the center console. Artists, Albums, and Playlists are accessible from the audio system’s touchscreen interface. The system also includes a six-CD changer, MP3 capability, and an SD-Memory Card reader, along with six free months of SIRIUS Satellite Radio. A Dynaudio speaker system is optional.

There are two twelve-volt outlets: one in the console and one in the cargo area.

The GTI’s rear seat is comfortable for two, with a surprising amount of headroom for a compact. Rear passenger ventilation is included in the center console.

The four-door GTI’s cargo area provides 14.7 cubic feet of storage with the 60/40 rear seats up and sufficient space for larger items with the seats folded down. (The two-door GTI provides 15.1 cubic feet of storage.) A rear seat center pass-through accommodates snowboards, as well as skis.

Worth noting:
Volkswagen provides a three-year/36,000 mile no-charge scheduled maintenance program and roadside assistance program.

All-in-all, the 2010 GTI hits the sweet spot, with thrilling performance, solid fuel economy, excellent handling, and a wonderful cabin. With the combination of the GTI and Golf TDI, Volkswagen has delivered a formidable one-two punch.

Parts Content Information
US/Canadian Parts Content: 1%
Major Sources of Foreign Parts Content: Germany – 75%
Final Assembly Point: Wolfsburg, Germany
Country of Origin:
Engine – Hungary
Transmission – Germany

Curb Weight: The four-door manual transmission-equipped 2010 VW GTI weighs in at 3,113 pounds, while the two-door weighs in at 3,034.

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1 comment so far ↓

#1 Jim on 04.14.10 at 10:26 am

Great review, guys. I’ve always been impressed by the GTI’s combination of power and on-paper efficiency, so it was nice to see that the EPA mileage numbers are actually conservative. Two hundred HP plus mid-30s on the highway is hard to argue with.

On a related topic, any chance you’ll be testing the new Hyundai Sonata anytime soon? The base model is rated about 200 HP and 35 MGP, and the turbo is supposed to get 34, even with about 270 horses. That almost sounds too good to be true, but I’d love to see some real-world testing.

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