The bench­mark hot hatch takes on its “lift­back” cousin in a fun-fac­tor test.

Herald Sun - Motoring - - HEAD TO HEAD - By Chris Ri­ley


GTI is the bench­mark for hot hatches. It will have bet­ter re­sale than the Skoda but that’s about all. It’s smaller and misses out on auto brak­ing, adap­tive cruise and rear side airbags. The touch­screen is smaller and it rides on smaller rims. War­ranty is three years/ un­lim­ited kilo­me­tres. Ser­vice is $1429 for three years/45,000km.


It’s all very fa­mil­iar. Sim­ple el­e­gant de­sign. Un­clut­tered white-on-black in­stru­ments, trade­mark tar­tan trim, flat-bot­tomed steer­ing wheel and gearshift topped by a golf ball. You need to be a be­liever that less is more, be­cause the 6.5-inch touch­screen, even with sat­nav, looks painfully small. The next up­date , about mid-year is

ex­pected to bring a larger screen.


Stan­dard GTI de­vel­ops 162kW/350Nm and is has sixspeed man­ual — easy to use with well spaced ra­tios — or DSG trans­mis­sion, with auto en­gine stop­start. At 6.5 sec­onds it’s a cou­ple of tenths quicker to 100km/h than the RS and drinks 98 RON at the rate of 6.2L/100km.


Five stars with a score of 35.92/37 from ANCAP. Comes with seven airbags and a re­verse cam­era, but auto emer­gency brak­ing is part of a $1500 driver as­sist pack that in­cludes blind spot alert, adap­tive cruise con­trol and au­to­matic park­ing as­sis­tance.


Driv­ing the GTI is al­ways a treat. We’d take the man­ual ev­ery day, even if it is marginally slower, sim­ply be­cause it’s more fun to drive. Adap­tive chas­sis con­trol is stan­dard. The car is bal­anced, goes ex­actly where you point it and the sus­pen­sion firms up re­mark­ably well in cor­ners, with an al­most per­fect bal­ance be­tween ride and han­dling.

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