2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI DSG new car reviews

Photography Courtesy Volkswagen

Is the MK8 VW Golf GTI the best one yet, or is it let down by a not-so-user-friendly infotainment system?


Other staff views

Chris Tropea
Associate Editor

I think that the VW GTI could go down in history as the perfect daily driver.

Granted, I’ve owned two previous generations of the car so perhaps I might a bit biased, but the GTI simply delivers one of the best combinations of fun driving and practicality, no matter what generation you get.

But what about the latest MK8 GTI? Is that winning combination still there?

Even though this 8th generation hot hatch has the same chassis as its predecessor, Volkswagen took the go-fast bits off the MK7 Club Sport and Golf R and put it all into the MK8 along with a new turbo.

In all, this gives the new car better handling and more power. On the road, it is a blast to drive.

In the few days I drove the VW, it had me realizing what I missed about not owing one anymore. It was quick, the DSG transmission was flawless, and it was extremely comfortable.

Unfortunately, the exterior styling is where it all falls apart for me.

You can say the styling fits in with the current trends, but it doesn’t scream GTI to me–those fog lights on the front look ridiculous.

On the other hand, the interior of the MK8 is a premium experience that still feels like a GTI from the driver’s seat. Of course, if we're talking about the interior, that means we also have to talk about those capacitive touch buttons.

Do you know why there’s so many complaints on the internet about the car’s capacitive touch buttons? Because they truly are terrible. I did get use to them, but occasionally a weird menu would pop up on the dash and I would realize that I unintentionally hit a button on the steering wheel and turned something on or off.

As if that's not bad enough, almost every control is hidden in a menu in the infotainment system. Volkswagen please just give me hard backlit buttons to control the things that I need to control.

So, should you buy one? Maybe, but not for sticker price. Let me explain:

I really liked this car, but when I found out that the one we tested stickers for close to $40,000, it makes it a hard sell when the more powerful, all-wheel-drive Golf R starts at only $4000 more.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always love the GTI, but for the money, the MK8 isn’t the one to buy.

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View comments on the GRM forums
Error404 HalfDork
6/27/22 3:42 p.m.

Dunno about the infotainment, I still prefer an old fashioned radio, but the lack of a 2-door option just makes it a short crossover.  ​​​​

sibanez New Reader
6/28/22 3:51 p.m.

The GTI S is kind of the killer package - all of the performance (minus the dynamic suspension), less weight (no sunroof) and plaid seats, plus a volume knob. From what I can tell, a good set of Konis or Bilsteins would largely offset the loss of the dynamic dampeners. You can get one for under $31K with a manual.

bmw88rider GRM+ Memberand UberDork
6/28/22 4:39 p.m.

In reply to sibanez :

Funny thing is, That was a 27K package in the Mk 7 when it debuted and gradually worked up to $28.6K when they added the PP as standard.  $31K for the base just shows the continued price creep. 

GTwannaB GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/29/22 2:01 p.m.

In reply to sibanez :

So wait, there is an option to not have the massive infotainment and get physical buttons in a new GTI? Not shopping but that I s do interesting because every reviewer has been roasting VW for last 18 months. 

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