TOP DRIVE, NO HAND­I­CAP

Weekend Courier - - Driveway - Craig Duff

THE drive-away price on a Golf GTI is out­ra­geously good, at least un­til the end of the month.

At $38,500, it un­der­cuts every hot hatch in the coun­try.

Be­yond the ob­vi­ous per­for­mance cre­den­tials, the GTI packs the likes of LED head­lamps, eight-inch touch­screen, adap­tive dampers and the trade­mark tar­tan cloth trim.

The war­ranty is aver­age at three year/un­lim­ited km and ser­vice in­ter­vals are 12 months/15,000km, with the first three vis­its to a dealer capped at $1413.

The dual na­ture of the GTI is one of the rea­sons it has been a peren­nial favourite with driv­ing fans who still need to carry a fam­ily on the week­day com­mute.

Set the driv­ing mode to com­fort and it’ll hap­pily waft around town with in­of­fen­sive looks, light steer­ing and soft(ish) dampers that make it a vi­able city car. Dial up sport mode and the Golf’s me­chan­i­cals brace for big­ger hits and more dy­namic in­puts.

The ba­sic safety is cov­ered with seven airbags, a solid chas­sis and au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing.

ANCAP rates the GTI as a five-star car with a score of 35.92/37 points. I’d in­vest an­other $1600 on the driver as­sis­tance pack­age, which bun­dles adap­tive cruise con­trol, park­ing as­sis­tance, blind spot and lane de­par­ture warn­ings.

Even if you don’t of­ten use them, it will help the Golf’s value come re­sale time.

The Golf 7.5’s stan­dard midlife facelift brings new bumpers and re­vised grille to head­lamps and wheels.

The in­te­rior has like­wise been up­dated and now has Ap­ple CarPlay.

For the technophiles, there’s also the op­tion of a 12.3-inch dig­i­tal driver’s dis­play and a 9.2-inch in­fo­tain­ment screen with ges­ture con­trol.

The breadth of the GTI’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties make it so much of a bread-and-but­ter car for Volk­swa­gen. More than 25 per cent of Golf sales are for per­for­mance ver­sions and the GTI is both en­ter­tain­ing fam­ily trans­port and en­gag­ing track day toy.

The man­ual gear­box is slick and the pedal place­ment is spot-on.

Verdict: The Golf GTI has al­ways been rea­son­able buy­ing and, for those pre­pared to change gears them­selves, the drive-away deal makes it a com­pelling hot hatch.

Volk­swa­gen’s Golf GTI.

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