HOT HATCH a great all rounder

The VW hot hatch has evolved into the think­ing per­son’s sporty car, re­ports PETER BARN­WELL.

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - Front Page -

NO beat­ing about the bush here, we’d own a new Golf GTi in a blink – it’s that good. Which makes writ­ing a re­view some­what chal­leng­ing – noth­ing to crit­i­cise.

Gen­er­a­tion six of the Ger­man-built hot-hatch has evolved into the think­ing per­son’s sporty car of­fer­ing safety, style, sporty dy­nam­ics and per­for­mance in an af­ford­able pack­age priced from $38,990 for the three-door man­ual. But we’d go for the five-door ver­sion with op­tional Di­rect Shift Gear­box (DSG) at around $43,000 plus on roads.

Not as out­right pow­er­ful or torquey as the likes of Mazda3 MPS, Subaru WRX or Lancer Ral­liart, front wheel drive Golf GTi is ar­guably a more en­gag­ing drive.

It fea­tures an elec­tronic locker dif­fer­en­tial to aid cor­ner­ing and has a sports cal­i­brated sus­pen­sion and lower ride height than stan­dard Golf to keep it tracking true.

Plenty of power comes from the 2.0-litre, di­rect in­jec­tion, turbo four cylin­der that cranks out 155kW/280Nm, the for­mer up from pre­vi­ous Golf GTi’s 147kW. Torque stays the same as VW de­cided to go for bet­ter fuel econ­omy and lower emis­sions.

A mod­est power boost but def­i­nitely mak­ing its pres­ence felt on the road, par­tic­u­larly when hus­tling from tight cor­ner to tight cor­ner.

The six-speed DSG ’box is party to the fun, fir­ing in gears quick as a flash, adding to the over­all sporty feel of the car. The man­ual wouldn’t be as much fun be­cause you can’t change gears as quickly.

Our test car had the op­tional adap­tive chas­sis con­trol that of­fers Com­fort, Nor­mal and Sport modes to sharpen or soften ride, steer­ing and throt­tle re­sponse.

It’s firm is Sport mode but ap­pre­cia­bly softer in Nor­mal so you can have the best of both worlds.

We took the new GTi for a de­cent spin south out of Syd­ney, through the wind­ing roads of the Royal Na­tional Park, by­pass­ing Wol­lon­gong and head­ing up the wind­ing roads of Mac­quarie Pass to Robert­son Pie Shop for lunch, then back down to the coast via the wind­ing roads of Jam­beroo Pass fol­lowed by a free­way blast back to “the Smoke”.

It was near per­fect GTi ter­ri­tory with smooth tar­mac and tight curves test­ing the car and driver’s re­flexes.

The GTi made child’s play of the drive and un­der­lined just how good it is.

While the ex­te­rior styling is some­what re­served, you can’t miss the GTi’s ath­letic crouch on the road punc­tu­ated by se­lec­tive use of “go fast” red strip­ing around the grille and else­where.

Our car had the stan­dard 17in al­loys and we’d sug­gest they are the best com­pro­mise for everyday driv­ing be­cause the lower pro­file 18s would give a harsher ride.

The in­te­rior is typ­i­cally high qual­ity Volk­swa­gen with a neat and func­tional lay­out and plenty of stan­dard kit like rain sens­ing wipers, auto on head­lights, auto dim rear view mir­rors. Mind you, the op­tions list is ex­ten­sive.

It scores a five-star crash test rat­ing but thank­fully has sta­bil­ity con­trol with a high thresh­old.

The WRC Rally car ex­haust pop on up­changes is be­guil­ing to the point where you put the win­dows down for some au­ral ap­pre­ci­a­tion.

The new GTi is ad­dic­tive re­gard­less of where and how you drive it be­cuase it is so com­pe­tent, a great all rounder and looks good into the bar­gain.

Sporty per­former: Golf GTi starts from $38,990 for the three door to $43,000 for the five door.

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