In Review

Volkswagen Golf GTI 2017: Reviews and prices

Iconic hot hatch adds more power and subtle tweaked styling - and it's a hit with reviewers

Volkswagen's updated version of its seventh generation Golf GTI has been given the thumbs-up from critics.

The revamped hot hatch features a handful of subtle styling changes to the headlights and front bumper, while VW has also tweaked the tail light cluster and sharpened the design of the reflectors at the bottom of the rear bumper.

Under the bonnet is the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine from the outgoing model, but it's had a power boost of 10bhp for a total output of 227. An optional performance pack increases this to 242bhp and boasts a zero to 62mph time of 4.6secs.

The updated engine means the Golf "barely feels like it's breaking a sweat" under power, says Autocar. It is "more than fast enough" to enjoy on country roads and is noticeably more consistent than its "highly strung" rivals.

The GTI is defined by its ability to generate substantial "point-to-point pace" and engage drivers from an engine that isn't as powerful as its rivals from Honda or BMW, adds the magazine.

As well as the engine update, there's also a new 9.7ins touchscreen infotainment system that comes as standard and gesture controls can be installed as an optional extra.

However, it doesn't have any buttons, says AutoExpress, so drivers "frustratingly no longer get the shortcut keys either side of the screen". The site also argues that while the system may look "slick", at £1,325, it "isn't cheap".

Nevertheless, inside, the Golf GTI "remains comfortable" and "a pleasant place to spend time". The same applies when you're out on the road, with a ride comfort "comparable to that of a Mercedes S-Class".

Autocar says that while competitors resort to "ever-firmer" suspension and added horsepower, the Golf "sticks with the same sweet dynamic compromise" Volkswagen has refined for four decades.

"Four tall adults will have more than enough headroom", says What Car?, although the backrest for the middle seat "isn't as comfy" and there's a small rise on the floor that limits legroom. 

At 380-litres, the Golf's boot is bigger than many of its rivals and also has a "nice wide opening" that makes loading large objects easier. The back row, meanwhile, can be "folded flat" for "smooth surfaces from boot opening to the front seatbacks". 

Evo says the updated model "drives exactly the same as the previous version", meaning it's "perhaps the most refined and civilised hot hatch on sale". 

The adaptive dampers add a "suppleness to the GTI's ride quality" that effortlessly copes with long distance driving, continues the magazine, although it advises "keen drivers" to get the limited slip differential available in the Performance Package, as the car can sometimes "feel scruffy and unsettled" without it. 

The steering is also praised as being "crisp and direct", giving drivers a "clear sense of connection to the front axle, which helps you to easily find the limit of grip", Evo adds. But even if you go over that limit, the GTI is "secure and forgiving".

Orders for the 2017 Golf GTI are open now and deliveries are expected in the spring. Prices start at £27,865 for a three-door with a manual gearbox, while a DSG models enter at £29,280.

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