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The battle for hot-hatch supremacy

Models Tested:

  • 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX, 2.5-litre, five-speed manual, hatch – $39,990*
  • 2010 Volkswagen Golf GTI; 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged; six-speed DSG, five-door – $42,990*

Options (Subaru):

  • Leather & sunroof $2500

Options (Volkswagen):

  • Adaptive Chassis Control $1,500; RNS510 with Dynaudio Excite $3,500; Vienna Leather Upholstery $3,300

Words: Karl Peskett Photos: www.OzCarSightings.com

When you think of the original hot hatch, which car springs to mind? Naturally, it’ll be the Volkswagen Golf GTI. As the years went by, it got more powerful and more luxurious, but it also got fatter and slower as a result. Then the Mark V came along and reinstated itself as a cult-classic hot-hatch for under $50,000. The Mark VI is more of the same, except it’s quicker, nicer inside and exhibits better handling.

A Japanese offering has also been making an impact over the years, appealing to those who want a genuinely quick car, especially with its MY09 power upgrade. Yes, the Subaru Impreza WRX is also a cult-classic, and with good reason. Brilliant acceleration, impressive grip, solid build – it adds up to a formidable package, which just so happens to sit in the same category, and at a very similar price-point to the Golf.

A head to head comparison, then, was just what the doctor ordered. They’re both sped-up, high-specced performance versions of run-of-the-mill hatchbacks that each have character, and each will put a smile on your dial. The problem is, which one should you choose?

The “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mantra applies to the Golf. Essentially, the sheetmetal and interior have been restyled, but underneath, there’s plenty of carryover bits and bobs. The thing is, though, it feels like a different car to the Mark V. It may be the fettled engine, which now makes 155kW and 280Nm; yes the torque may be the same, but it comes in 100rpm earlier (1700rpm).

Or it could be the addition of adaptive chassis control, which is a $1500 option, but one that actually does what it’s supposed to, rather than just making a jittery ride without imbuing better handling. Whatever the reason, the Mark VI is simply a better car than its predecessor.

There was universal criticism when Subaru launched its current-shaped WRX. Comments on internet sites worldwide slammed the Impreza’s styling, and although it’s been with us for a while now, you still have to swallow hard to digest it. That said, it houses one of the best bang-for-buck chassis and engine packages around, which means that you tend to overlook its looks. But as a car, can you live with it every day?

For the most part, yes. The seats in the WRX are shapely, well padded, and while the fronts aren’t as well bolstered as the GTI (which really hold you in place), the rear seats are infinitely more comfortable than the Golf’s ironing-board-flat pews. If you took the Golf’s fronts and the Impreza’s rears, you’d have the perfect combination.

The driving position in the Golf is also infinitely adjustable, with plenty of height available on both the seats and the steering wheel. The Impreza, by contrast, doesn’t quite have enough height adjustment for the wheel. Even when your seat is in its lowest position, you still feel as if the steering wheel sits more in your lap, with the gear-lever also quite tall, unlike the Golf’s lower and slightly set back shift-stick, if fitted with manual. Thankfully the pedals on both are central to the footwell, with the Impreza’s being slightly easier to heel-and-toe, due to the Golf’s floor hinged accelerator.

The brakes on the Golf are grabbier than the Subaru’s but can sustain repeated punishment. The Impreza’s cannot. On the run through our test road, a snaking, undulating piece of tarmac, the Subi’s brakes started out fine, hauling up with plenty of feel and progression. By run four, however, they were smoking and once run five had concluded and we were parked up, they had lost all ability and the pedal sunk to the floor. Volkswagen’s brake setup smelled, for sure, but remained strong and felt as if you could do it all day. For the speed potential of the WRX, the pad compound is simply inadequate.

That potential comes courtesy of a 2.5-litre, horizontally opposed, turb0charged, four cylinder, which puts out 195kW and 343Nm, walloping the GTI’s outputs. It shows, too, with the GTI doing the 0-100km/h benchmark sprint in 6.9 seconds and the WRX in a staggering 5.3 seconds. But the numbers only tell half the story.

You see, if you were doing laps of the same track, the Impreza would romp away at the start, leaving the Golf in its wake…until its brakes failed. After five or six laps, the Subaru would have given up completely and the Volkswagen turtle would walk straight past it, continuing with its effortless acceleration, capable handling and fade-free brakes.

Both will handle corners exceptionally, too, with the entry speed on the Impreza really impressing. Strangely, both our test-drivers thought that the Golf had more grip mid-corner, despite its front-wheel-drive chassis. This meant that the Impreza would dive into the corner earlier and faster, but the Golf would play catchup if the bend was sustained for any length of time. Of course, the WRX would also power out earlier and faster, too, giving it an ultimately quicker lap time.

Turn in on the Subaru is exceptional, with excellent feel and weight through the steering, but as you reach the middle of the corner, it tends to lighten up and lose feedback, which is exactly where the Golf’s steering comes alive. The GTI’s tiller isn’t quite as communicative around dead centre and a few degrees beyond (where it’s weighted well but a bit numb), however when more lock is applied, you begin to feel more and more involved.

It settles into its stance with a notable lack of body roll and just hangs on, giving you seat-of-the-pants and steering feedback in spades, begging you to push it just that bit harder. Your knowledge of front-wheel-drive dynamics and their resultant power-on understeer is the only thing holding you back. The Impreza, however has higher real-world limits yet belies these with a touch of roll when turning in. It’s a result of its fantastic ride, something the GTI achieves by resorting to using its (optional) adaptive chassis control (ACC).

Ultimately, the WRX’s ride is better in all situations, not suffering from the Euro hard-edge damping which shows up on small creases and cracks in the asphalt, yet the GTI’s ride in Comfort mode is nothing to sneeze at. In fact, the ride is very pleasant, but when switched to Sport takes on the track attack stance of high grip/tight damping, with quick sharp vertical movements and an almost Evo-like solidity. Normal is the third in-between setting, which, if we’re honest, is too firm for every day, but too soft for punching around quickly, which means it’s the two extremes of the ACC which work the best.

The Golf’s DSG – as fitted to our test car – also trumps the Impreza’s manual gearbox (Subaru doesn’t offer a self-shifter for the WRX) in that it shifts quicker and produces a heavenly “whump” from the exhaust everytime you shift up. It also blips the throttle for a nice bark on downshifts. The paddles though take a little stretch of your palms to reach and are a bit small. If we’re being picky, it’d be nice to see larger, more prominent paddles which are easier to get to in quick motoring.

But these cars are not just about performance – although that is a fair chunk of their focus – which brings us to practicality. It’s all well and good to have a stripped out road racer, but to live with it day to day is the real test. And that’s where these hot-hatches come into their own. They give you the thrills without giving you the chills, as they’ve been based on practical, no-nonsense runabouts. But has the boost in fun made them unbearable?

To look at, the Subaru is fairly underwhelming. Acres of cheap, dark, hard plastic contrast with the Volkswagen’s soft-touch, impeccably built interior. The WRX misses out on the GTI’s neat touches like the metal bordering the vents, the fingertip metal accents on the window and mirror switches, and the – there’s no other word for it – perfect steering wheel with its flat bottom, perforated leather and metal spokes. The Volkswagen wins the beauty and quality contest, no doubt.

But the boot in the Golf is very short, and although it’s a tad taller than the Impreza, it’s nowhere near as deep. The WRX’s rear seats also fold down to produce a completely flat load area, unlike the GTI’s stepped load space, which cuts into usable room. The GTI counters with an advantage to those who have very small children – the anchor points for child/baby seats are on the back of the rear seats. You see, the WRX’s anchor points are at the rear of the car, under the hatch’s bottom lip, meaning the securing strap extends right across the boot, effectively cutting into the room (by a third) you’d be storing your pram in.

Both cars have six cupholders, both cars have similar amounts of legroom and width, and although the Golf has more headroom in the back, as mentioned previously, the Impreza’s rear seats are a nicer place to spend time due to their comfort. NVH levels seem to be better in the WRX, with a lot less road noise coming through the cabin, and with its better ride, is probably more passenger friendly.

It’s when you shut the doors that you really get a feel for the cars. The Golf GTI shuts with a solid thunk, unlike the tinny, rattly Impreza WRX, which sounds cheap by comparison. There’s a decent heft to the GTI that makes it seem much more expensive than the WRX, and running your hands over the interior, you can feel the difference in quality. For some, that will be the deal breaker.

For others, it’ll be the stupendous acceleration offered by the WRX. There’s a fair bit of lag, but once it’s wound up, from around 3000rpm, it hauls like there’s no tomorrow, unlike the GTI with its lag-free response. Which sums up the cars, really. Although they’re priced similarly, they have two different styles of invoking smiles.

The Impreza WRX’s focus is more about using its all-wheel-drive grip and flying in and out of corners with the interior an afterthought. The GTI is more about quality and finish, while still delivering an engaging drive. Both have practical sides, and both allow you to keep friends and family as company on your journey.

You have to think about something that you’re going to be living with from day to day. Fast is fun for a time, but you’ll never get bored with quality. While the WRX is an excellent package, the GTI is the more complete one. Sure, it’s slightly more to buy outright (in DSG guise), and the options are overpriced, but you do get what you pay for. The Golf GTI still offers thrills, but you’ll never regret hopping into the cabin each time you want to go somewhere.

Volkswagen’s hot hatch still reigns supreme.

Subaru Impreza WRX Specifications:

  • Engine: 2457cc DOHC four-cylinder (16 valve)
  • Power: 195kW @ 6000rpm
  • Torque: 343Nm @ 4000rpm
  • Induction: Multi-Point & Turbocharged
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual
  • Driven Wheels: All
  • Brakes: Discs with ABS & EBD
  • Top Speed: 209km/h
  • 0-100km/h: 5.3 seconds
  • CO2 Emissions: 247g/km (Combined)
  • Fuel Consumption: 10.4 litres/100km (ADR combined)
  • Fuel Consumption: 13.3 litres/100km (as tested)
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 60 litres
  • Fuel Type: 95RON petrol
  • ANCAP Rating: Five star
  • Airbags: Dual Front, side & curtain
  • Safety: ESP & Hill Start Assist
  • Spare Wheel: Space saver
  • Suspension: Strut (F) / twin wishbone (R)
  • Cargo Capacity: 420 litres
  • Tow Capacity: 1200kg (Braked)
  • Turning Circle: 10.8 metres
  • Warranty: 3-years/Unlimited kilometres
  • Weight: 1410kg (Tare)
  • Wheels: Alloy 17 x 7.0-inch

Volkswagen Golf GTI Specifications:

  • Engine: 1984cc four-cylinder
  • Power: 155kW @ 5300rpm
  • Torque: 280Nm @ 1700rpm
  • Induction: Turbocharged
  • Transmission: Six-speed DSG
  • Driven Wheels: Front wheel drive
  • Brakes: Four wheel discs
  • Top Speed: 235km/h
  • 0-100km/h: 6.9s
  • CO2 Emissions: 180g/km
  • Fuel Consumption: 7.7L/100km
  • Fuel Consumption: 7.3L/100km
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 55 litres
  • Fuel Type: 98RON PULP
  • ANCAP Rating: 5 star
  • Airbags: Six
  • Safety: ABS brakes with EBD, BA. ESP.
  • Spare Wheel: Space saver
  • Tow Capacity: 1300kg
  • Warranty: 3-years/100,000km
  • Weight: 1300kg (Tare)
  • Wheels: 225/45R17

  • Classic

    Really like the Golf, much better than the WRX in terms of a complete package. But I’m keen to wait and see what the new Jetta is all about. Apparently they will release a slightly larger version, so it’s not just a Golf with a boot, and will also release a 2 door coupe, and GTi versions as well. Very interesting.

  • http://CarAdvice The Salesman.

    Unfortunately for me it would have to be the Subi. As much as I would cringe every time I opened the garage door I would prefer my kids don’t end up with deep vein thrombosis from sitting in the back.

    • Adam

      Deep vein thrombosis???????????????
      You are well off mate, I test drove both cars many times and bought the Golf, you obviously have not been for a drive in one.

      • http://CarAdvice The Salesman.

        I don’t need to drive one to realize the Subi has more leg and luggage room than the VW. When you find someone to procreate with and you have kids you will come to understand what i am talking about. Mate…..

        • http://corvette i`m not from here

          That is the most ill-informed comment by far, basically telling all of us you never sat in either vehicle.The golf has miles more back legroom and headroom.
          The wrx is for pokemons.Another question is why the golf has 25km/h higher top speed despite having obvious power disandvantage.But then again that comparison is only academic in Australian nazi camera regime just like your internet nerd rant.

          • http://CarAdvice The Salesman

            Even the article does not agree with you.

            “But the boot in the Golf is very short, and although it’s a tad taller than the Impreza, it’s nowhere near as deep. The WRX’s rear seats also fold down to produce a completely flat load area, unlike the GTI’s stepped load space, which cuts into usable room”

          • Golfschwein

            The Subaru’s greater boot floor length doesn’t come from nowhere: it’s 216 millimetres longer than the Golf and also has a slightly longer wheelbase. Golfs are shorter, see? But something gives somewhere else, because the Subaru has a 301 litre compartment and the Golf has 350 litres. So you can actually pack more stuff in the Golf. Who cares if a pram doesn’t fit? Not everything does.

          • 908

            salesman how can you use the size of the boot to justify your comments about rear leg room?? ignorance.

        • Reckless1

          Idiotic rationale. The back seats are not as uncomfortable as Karl makes out, and when you have your smaller but flat load area with he seats down in the Subi, you can’t fit your kids in the back anyway.

          Go back to your first love – Koreans.

          • http://CarAdvice The Salesman.

            There is nothing in this article about Koreans?
            The boot is deeper in the Subaru.End of story. If you are having trouble reading the write up all the way through you should ask an adult to help. Good Luck.

    • wind

      Lol you obviously didn’t know much about car.

    • Golfschwein

      I’m not going to comment on the Subi, as I’ve never sat in one, but Golfs have plenty of head and leg room in the rear. I’m 187cm tall and can sit comfortably in the back of mine when the front seat is set to suit. There’s an inch to spare, but that’s all you need when you’re comfortable.

    • Nelson

      Mate you actually have no clue how much better the Golf is compared to the Subaru.

      You mentioned that you have kids!?

      Well a friend of mine back in Portugal slammed 2 generations older Golf into a Pillar at 80km, mate the car was quite bent in the chassis but the whole passenger area was spotless.

      So if you have kids I do recommend the Golf chassis by far the best, proven generation after generation with a few changes along the way. The golf is a very secure car.

      The subaru yep it has a cap5 security rating but no way as secure in the real world as a Golf.

      And I haven’t even started to mention the quality of the golf.

      Golf accept it or not the best Hatchback in the World.

      (I don’t own a Golf I actually have a “European” Focus XR5)

  • t39

    This is a great comparison review. We have been stuck with AWD-only or FWD-only comparisons for far too long. A person normally has one budget and tries to pick the best car not just within a narrowly-defined category but across related categories as welll.

  • Jerome

    Overall a well balanced and accurate review.

    However when you say “Fast is fun for a time, but you’ll never get bored with quality.” Surely that is very subjective. I am the exact opposite. For the same money you could have an accord euro – oozing with quality everywhere, but boring as anything. So I would say “quality is good for a time, but you’ll never get bored with fast.”

    It is the very reason why I would consider the latest WRX. Some would forego the little niceties inside for a bit of mongrel.

    • Andrew

      Wrong !!! I got bored with fast sometimes. in fact I went 80% normal and 20% fast. I bet you do. I enjoyed relaxed cruise with my window n sunroof open.

      But I never get bored with quality. if you used to live in 5 stars hotel, you’d feel itchy or disgusted living in 2 stars hotel.

      you said quality is boring because you havent been into one. poor man.

      remember : great cars like ferarri and porsche are not just about fast, its about combination of speed,built quality and passion.

      GTI is still the one i choose

  • Philthy

    There’s some nice photos of the Subi there. I think it looks pretty good with the charcoal wheels/ tint and white paint… There’s no hiding the nasty interior unfortunately.

    PS the GTI badly needs different wheels. Stock 17′s don’t suit the mk6 at all.

    • KM

      the 18s look very nice

  • F1MotoGP

    Hard to compare to different cars. For me is the Golf. Subaru use too much fuel, insurance and spare parts more expensive than many European cars. Best way to compare if you really want to is the 24H Nurburgring race. Last year Subaru finished 33rd. VW 15,17,19 and 20.

    • John

      Check out all the Nürburgring winners on wiki. It is pretty much just the porsche 911 or BMW M3 every year with an occassional win for the Viper.

      • Troppa

        And never had a car in the Bathurst 12hr.

      • F1MotoGP

        Check out the category winner too. Got to ADAC 24h website.

      • ABMPSV

        I just checked the ADAC website and yes there is more than 15 different categories.

      • SUPERTOURER

        Looking at those Ring times just makes me wish we could get a real production car racing series here in Oz – beyond the 2 taxi companies and including REAL racing cars from Europe and Japan.

        Imagine Bathurst in September with Holden and Ford V8′s lining up alongside Nissan GTR’s, M3′s, Corvettes, Porsches and Audis. It would be awesome and motor racing would be worth watching again.

        Mind you, the taxis would take a flogging – which is why we won’t see it!

    • Freddy

      Ummm I think your forgetting Subaru has a history of dominance in the WRC.

      • ABMPSV

        Yes you are right history. Where is Subaru today. Not in WRC!!

      • 908

        they have 3 wins total. hardly dominance. That would go to Citroen that has collected the 6 titles in a row.

        • Freddy

          Yes im aware they have withdrawn from WRC, but that doesnt mean they delete all the information they have gathered during their time in the championship. Vw’s are boring bland vehicles, i know i drive one, good to go to work and back…if you work in a morgue!! Subu = Fun outgoing cheeky personality.. VW = Scientific pompus prick with a lab coat and cold blood pumping around their body. Life is about fun enjoy it..in a mature way!

  • John

    Karl,

    Would you pay $1500 for ACC?

    • http://www.caradvice.com.au Karl Peskett

      Hi John.

      If it was me and my money, then yes, I definitely would. The results speak for themselves – excellent ride in Comfort, and fantastic grip in Sport.

  • yowza

    I think its a fair review.
    But the 4WD system, which is definitely more versatile for all conditions and more terrains is too convenient to pass out on.

    An example is Going to the snow, the FWD of the GTi is not allowed on the upper areas without putting on chains, which is incovenient.

    The boot room also matters, a hatch should be practical and as practical as the GTi is for everyday, I think the bigger size of the WRX wins out.

    Then you factor in the 2011 upgrades for the WRX and its definitely my choice.

    Someone will mention the Golf R, but different price range and all.

    • 908

      you will still be putting chains on the wrx in the snow, its AWD not 4WD.

      • PN

        No, you don’t need chains if you have an AWD.

        • ABMPSV

          Yes you are right but you must have winter tyres.

        • 908

          you do when the sign says “fitting chains to all vehicles, except 4WD”

          and if your lucky and its good snow you will only get up the hill in a real 4WD behind a snow plow!! and get snowed in for the week…. :)

        • 908

          and if you want to drive a high powered car with low profile tyres that have minimal grip depth, stiff suspension, no chains and only AWD in snow, well good luck to you.

  • ABMPSV

    VW got hard time with price. Subaru always will win on price in Australia. In Germany is other way around. Subaru 45,400 Euro, VW Golf GTi 27,595 Euro, VW Golf R 37,365 Euro.

    • Joober@work

      Isn’t the WRX engine specced higher too in Europe?

  • Able

    GTI for the road, 2011 WRX for the track for me. Or something with value for $45k…

  • Baddass

    Golf for me, although the styling of the Rex has grown on me, especially the rear.

  • Joe

    I was the other test driver on the day of this review (the WRX in this story is our privately owned vehicle, amongst our stable of 3 different Subaru’s).

    You could say I’m pretty Subaru biased, but I really couldn’t fault the Golf in any way..

    The actual “build quality” of the Subaru is good i.e. no rattles, panel gaps are all good, etc. The Subaru is a Japanese built car, which generally means reliable quality.

    That being said, the level of the materials in the VW is a world apart from the Subaru…The VW interior killed the interior on our Subaru! The doors close more solidly on the VW. It just feels like a much more expensive car than what it is!

    The WRX was quicker, yes, but the Golf ain’t no slug! The DSG box was a hoot, and its just as fun to throw around as the WRX was.

    The only thing I can fault about the Golf is the options pricing.. to get the Xenon’s, sunroof, leather, etc.. it ends up being about 5-7k more on the road than the WRX with the same options. For some, that would be worth it for the level of build quality though.

    P.S. nothing beats coming hot into a corner in the Golf, leaning on the brakes, and banging down 2 or 3 gears in a split second with the paddles.. its a fantastic feeling and hearing that perfectly matched downshift never gets boring.

    • davie

      Thats the problem with VW and the like, options are always a killer.

      seems to work though, the base price gets the punters in the door and then the product is good enough that they are willing to pay thousands extra for options

    • Adam

      Finally someone with an opinion that counts. If all test drove both cars they would be a dead set looper to choose the WRX!
      And I have been a biased Jap car man all my life…. until now :D will NEVER go back.

    • JML

      Joe says: “nothing beats coming hot into a corner in the Golf, leaning on the brakes, and banging down 2 or 3 gears in a split second with the paddles.. its a fantastic feeling and hearing that perfectly matched downshift never gets boring.”

      I disagree emphatically. Heel-toe downchanging, snicking a gear lever into place, hearing and feeling the revs match because you matched them with your own hands and feet is INFINTELY more satisfying than having a computer do it all for you when you pull on a playstation paddle. Long live the 3 pedal manual!

      • Reckless1

        So buy the manual GTI. As a bonus it’s $2500 cheaper, and still has 6 gears rather then the Subi’s 5.

        • JML

          I wasn’t saying the Subaru is better becuase it has a manual, I’m saying flappy paddle manuals are dull no matter what car they’re on. But since you mention it I’ve driven the GTi. It’s the great all-rounder – it does everything well, but nothing brilliantly and ends up being bland because of it. And it looks like a Corolla.

          • MrQuick

            “Heel-toe downchanging, snicking a gear lever into place, hearing and feeling the revs match because you matched them with your own hands and feet is INFINTELY more satisfying than having a computer do it”

            Hear hear, you couldn’t have put it any better, its the worst thing reading about journos who write about dsgs being satisfying and having a collective circle-jerk over how fast you can shift and hearing throttle blips.

            Nothing, and I mean nothing compares to and is more satisfying than heel-toeing and blipping and getting it right yourself. Sure you probably won’t get it perfect everytime, but its that learning process thats fun.

    • Si

      I have the WRX 2010 Sedan, fully optioned and the doors close beautifully. Nice and quiet thud and I hardly have to push it. I can’t understand the ‘tinny’ statement in the review.

      That WRX is definitely lowered, that is not stock height.

    • BT

       ”P.S. nothing beats coming hot into a corner in the Golf, leaning on the
      brakes, and banging down 2 or 3 gears in a split second with the
      paddles.. its a fantastic feeling and hearing that perfectly matched
      downshift never gets boring.”

      What about in the wet?

  • davie

    Great shots of the interiors.

    Nice and detailed with excellent light levels.

    One side effect is that the impreza interior doesn’t look as cheap and nasty as usual.

  • Jedd

    “still reigns supreme”

    Iron Chef?

    :-)

  • AJ

    Has the WRX been lowered? It looks lower than factory.

    • Jerome

      I was going to say the same thing. It does look lower than standard

  • Raf

    What is the price difference? From the sounds of it we’re comparing a base manual WRX with a Golf with DSG and ACC, and the review sounds pretty fair (although to some extent would it be fair to some up as:

    * the WRX has better acceleration
    * the WRX corners better
    * the WRX has a better backseat and a better boot
    * the WRX has lower NVH and a better ride in general
    * the WRX has AWD for wet and snowy conditions;

    vs

    * the GTI has more comfortable front seats;
    * the GTI has less brake fade under track-level punishment;
    * the GTI has a more luxurious plastic interior

    The price difference is pretty important, then. What’s the RRP? I assume VW and Subaru dealers will negotiate down by similar percentages (if anything, I assume there’s less room to negotiate down on the GTI), but we’ll go by RRP.

    I tend to agree with Jerome. If a quality interior is what you want in the long run, you might as well buy an Accord Euro or a second-hand BMW 3-series for that money. That the WRX actually has less NVH issues than the GTI surprises me, but it also makes it much harder to argue for the GTI as being “more liveable”.

    That said, I wouldn’t buy either, I’m hanging out to test-drive a Megane 250. No worries waiting, I don’t want to trade-in for another 12-18 months anyway!

    • Marc

      You guys are missing the point. It’s combining performance AND luxury/quality.

      So the GTI wins.

      Simple.

    • Adam

      Note: The WRX handles better is greatly debatable as the WRX is far less adjustable in cornering… I think a true circuit battle would settle that one.
      With out the AWD launch the Golf is a small amount quicker than the WRX I have seen this first hand at track days and even smoke the WRX’s under brakes and through the turns.

    • Adam

      Megane 250….. NICE choice!

  • Steven

    For me the deal breaker would be the seats. I wish manufacturers would offer the option of seats for taller drivers.

    But you can’t fault the Subaru’s performance! I imagine the 2011 WRX will be even better with a wider track.

  • John

    XR5 over both.

    • Kampfer

      I own a XR5 and it’s a great car, but the LV Focus getting a bit long in tooth and new model will be here end of this year (hopefully the sport model no too far behind…).

      Don’t get me wrong. At ~$35000 drive away (or ~$39000 with leather and sunroof) XR5 is a GREAT buy atm, for the money (dare i say) no car come close on performance and practicality.

      So for the same price, I’d likely to choose WRX sedan with leather and sunroof out of the three. But with ~$10K cheaper I choose the XR5 (which I did and happy with it).

    • Reckless1

      Were talking about sports cars, not boats.

      • John

        such an intelligent post. Thanks for that.

        With the cash saved on XR5 you can easily make it faster than the WRX.

        Ill admit that the GTI does beat the XR5 on quality.
        However neither the GTI or WRX comes with that awesome T5 soundtrack.

        • lm

          there are many car reviewers who say the focus has the best ride/handling combination in its class

      • Kampfer

        Boats?

  • Brett

    Well the Golf maybe nice, but will all the complaints about reliability issues?
    Subi maybe better with some green pads. I’ve used these on a v8 mg and they are amazing.If speed is only ‘fun for awhile’ then perhaps you wouldn’t be looking at these cars in the first place. $50k for a Golf is way too much money, think I’ll wait and see what the Sport Magane comes back with.

    • Golfschwein

      Be careful about ‘stories’. Here’s me thinking that the VE Commodore was a hit-and-miss affair in terms of quality, simply because of all the ‘stories’ I’ve read on here. In the last 24 hours, I’ve sought the opinion of three VE owners and one VZ owner and asked them the question direct: they’re actually happier than pigs in a truffle shop, because the cars haven’t missed a beat.

      So, ask a GTI owner directly and see how you go. My Golf ownership experience has been excellent over 4 years, but it’s a diesel.

  • M

    Need to drive the Gti – is it simply this good? Is it a segment buster? i.e a vehicle that surpasses the driveability of sedan’s with twice the engine and twice the price? It is certainly iconic. If the Gti is this damn good – there should be no need to spend more than its $ unless you need a 7seater etc…

    • Adam

      The MKV won many many awards from journalists around the globe…. I strongly urge any one who is making a choice in this segment to test drive one, you will fall in love.
      The direct crisp turn in, great braking power and feel, seemles torque everywhere, the bark from the exhaust, everything you touch is awesome quality, mid corner adjustability and the perfect ergonomics of all interior controls. Class Leading :D

      • M

        Adam – is it a segment buster – eg comparing with $100k euro sedan’s like A4 6cyl or 325i BM?

      • Andy

        only the car has zero balls. sorry. way too underpowered and too expensive.

    • Simon

      It is commanding a premium because VW has the demand. It is really a brilliant little car even though it’s certainly not for everyone. As to driving, it is a very different beast to the WRX. In fact, beast doesn’t quite cut it. It’s far more civilised. This is because of the flat-ish torque curve. It is very linear acceleration within each gear. Couple that with the DSG rapid gear changes and the acceleration, while quick, doesn’t feel like it has any personality. This is precisely what some punters will want, other’s will be disappointed as they will love the characteristic turbo boost provided by the likes of the WRX.
      Again, horses for courses. For mine (if I was buying in this segment); around town, GTI all the way. Track days or rally/offroad/mountain driving, gimme a Rex rocket!

  • Raf

    Performance and quality aren’t on-off switches. There’s trade-offs. Especially since “quality” is hard to define… to some people, better interior trimmings is “quality”. To some people, less NVH and a more comfortable rear seat is “quality”. And I’m interested to know how much more the GTI costs in exchange for the better interior.

    It’s just like to some people, a car with a big rear spoiler is a bogan machine they wouldn’t be caught dead in, and for some people it is FULLY SICK MATE.

    I don’t really have a dog in the fight ‘cos I’m not interested in either, but I mean there’s luxury and then there’s things like “metal bordering the vents”, like whooooooo, and I like to keep things a bit real.

  • zahmad

    Karl, I believe its not the same engine in the MkVI as in the MkV. Only the Golf R and the S3 still uses that motor.

  • Neo Utopia

    Karl, you mention the GTI has a DSG in the test car at the start of the article, however in the specification of the GTI it is a six-speed manual, typo in the specs?

    Very happy with the review-takes an objective view at these two brilliant cars which have slightly different characteristics, which define the different personalities of the people who buy them.

    Any chance of creating a short video of the next interesting car comparison CA?

    • http://www.caradvice.com.au Karl Peskett

      Yes, it’s a typo in the specs. Thanks for pointing it out – we’ll get it changed.

  • Freddy

    Personally I think the thrill factor in the rex is toooo much to resist, sliding around corners with a awd car is way to much fun and the subi looks much sleeker than the golf now that its lowerd…yeh the interior of the golf is better quality but that fades after a while…punishing corners in a rex never does!! 0-100 in 5.3 secs for the rex makes the 6.9 in the golf seem petty. I think rex wins the battle for supremacy…in my eyes ;)

    • Andy

      couldn’t have put it better myself.

  • ABMPSV

    I just would like to know why you quoting Fuel Type: 98RON PULP when in Germany is 95!

    • F1MotoGP

      Must be because our fuel 98 is good as in Germany PULP95!!

  • Neo Utopia

    I think a more closely matched comparison would have been with either the MPS, Type R or XR5. But the WRX is good to compare with to show how well the front-wheel drive GTI can hold up with a faster AWD hatch. CA, could we expect an end of year group comparison in the hot hatch category?

  • ABMPSV

    Just for info: around famous Nurburgring circuit Subaru Impreza WRX STi did it in 08:24, VW Golf Mk IV R32 08:37 and VW Golf Mk V GTI 08:53.

    • Kampfer

      STi is not WRX…

    • wind

      IF it was WRX it will stop in the middle of the way due to worn brake LOL.

  • F1MotoGP

    Tsukuba Circuit in Japan Subaru Impreza WRX STi did it in 1:04:72 and VW Golf GTI Mk. VI in 1:11:44.

    • Neo Utopia

      REITERATION – WRX STI IS NOT WRX – what the focus is here, find the lap time of the new Golf R around the Tsukuba circuit, then compare it to the STI, will be much similar times I think.

      • Neo Utopia

        Found it – Golf R: 1:08.515, current WRX STi 4 door hatch: 1:06.557. I thought it would be close. Interestingly the Golf R32 was 1:09.55 and the 2005 STi was 1:04:72, a much wider difference in lap times, thats why Volkswagen have finally decided to use the better BHP:weight which the WRX and many others have been using for some time now, just wish the Golf R had a bit more BHP to bring it inline with the STI and Evo.

        • Neo Utopia

          By the way, the current MPS lap time is 1:10.95, not much faster than the current GTI’s 1:11.44 then is it? And the GSR Evo X is 1:07.588, not much faster than the Golf R’s 1:08.515 is it?

          Interestingly the fastest of all Evos was the 2002 VII with a lap time of 1:04.93, and the 2005 STI (which was quoted by “F1MotoGP” has a time of 1:04:72, faster than the current STI’s time of 1:06.557. Both the newer STi and Evo are approximately 2.5 seconds SLOWER, compared to the GTI and R which are about a second FASTER than their predecessors. INTERESTING.

          Are the newer performance Japanese cars (bar the GT-R and LFA) getting a bit more conservative or are the German performance cars finally catching up?

        • http://caradvice.com.au V DUBBED

          Its not about power ! everyone is missing the point vw golf gti 180 grams of co2 per km golf r 200 grams and wrx is up 270 grams per km even mazda is up there with 280 grams thats 100 grams more then gti . when 2011 comes around will be a very easy winner when euro star 6 emissions . After 2012 reviews will be who has the least CO2 emissions not about power. Caradvice will have to catch up on this!

          • ABMPSV

            Spot on!! VW will be well ahead. Japanese will play catch up again.
            Some key elements of the adopted text are as follows:

            * Limit value curve: the fleet average to be achieved by all cars registered in the EU is 130 grams per kilometre (g/km). A so-called limit value curve implies that heavier cars are allowed higher emissions than lighter cars while preserving the overall fleet average.
            * Phasing-in of requirements: in 2012, 65% of each manufacturer’s newly registered cars must comply on average with the limit value curve set by the legislation. This will rise to 75% in 2013, 80% in 2014, and 100% from 2015 onwards.
            * Lower penalty payments for small excess emissions until 2018: If the average CO2 emissions of a manufacturer’s fleet exceed its limit value in any year from 2012, the manufacturer has to pay an excess emissions premium for each car registered. This premium amounts to €5 for the first g/km of exceedance, €15 for the second g/km, €25 for the third g/km, and €95 for each subsequent g/km. From 2019, already the first g/km of exceedance will cost €95.
            * Long-term target: a target of 95g/km is specified for the year 2020. The modalties for reaching this target and the aspects of its implementation including the excess emissions premium will have to be defined in a review to be completed no later than the beginning of 2013.
            * Eco-innovations: because the test procedure used for vehicle type approval is outdated, certain innovative technologies cannot demonstrate their CO2-reducing effects under the type approval test. As an interim procedure until the test procedure is reviewed by 2014, manufacturers can be granted a maximum of 7g/km of emission credits on average for their fleet if they equip vehicles with innovative technologies, based on indepently verified data.

          • Joober@work

            When I buy a hot hatch I don’t exactly factor in how green this car would be, its all about the performance and ride. If you want green go for something else.

          • Andy

            would you like another slow car that is also green? how about a prius?

          • Hung Low

            Seriously mate, stick to a pushbike!

  • yowza

    As expected though, the VW is always going to have better spec’d interior.
    The Subaru’s interior is nothing to brag about outside the Liberty range.

    Again the review was fair and well, the conclusion seems to be that even though the GTI had less performance than the WRX, its luxurious touch more than makes up for it.

    I’m still going for the WRX, simply that it has widely available parts and servicing and maintenance is better on the wallet.

    Also almost everyone has a GTI these days.

    • davie

      I dont understand why the impreza has such a nasty interior. Its put together well and is solid but those materials are just so hard scratchy and nasty.

      The MY 98-00 and 01 – 07 had soft touch interiors, what went wrong??

    • Shak

      Have you sat in a new Gen liberty? The interior aint as good as the last one.

  • Shak

    CA when the Megane RS250 is released, could you guy splease try and do another test like this, as i know many on this site would be interested to see how it goes.

    • Joober@work

      Whats will the RRP of the RS250, from my recollection Renaults seem to blow through the roof in pricing. Might be worth against the STI, Golf R?

      • Shak

        I think the last iteration was similar in price to the previous gen golf, but the new one is said to have much more equipment ans may cost slightly more.

  • Valet Dabess

    hey caradvice you should make a video about it too, post it on youtube, i’ve subscribed to you.

  • ABC

    nice lol

  • Tom22

    Call me mad, but i actually think the WRX looks better in those photos, its more imposing if not as classically beautiful.

    If it was AWD v AWD with those power levels i would have to take the Golf, as anyone who’s ever spoken to RevoTechnic knows, they can increase the VW engines power output very easily.

    But as they stand, it would be the more imposing, powerful, significantly faster, and better drivetrain package WRX i would buy.

    Have we just gotten used to it or has subaru’s fiddling over the years made it easier to live with?

  • Tom22

    Also i think journalists seem to just love this Golf because it seems like its the car they should be declaring a winner because of the build quality and the interior, and the subdued styling and adequate power. Its just a journalists dream, i have never driven a mk6 GTi, but the mk5 i drove was adequately powered (if you’ve driven a v6 commodore you will understand) and was a very nice built car.

    It is a nice car, its also a good car, but i found it hard to call it a sports car.

  • Simon

    WRT brake fade – I’d be thinking if you were going to be pushing the car as hard as you did in the test, you’d naturally be upgrading them. So to me this is irrelevant.
    The GTI might possibly wear through pads quicker as it also uses them for its XDS system (electronic LSD).
    Another big difference which was almost missed by the review is the fuel consumption. This is a big plus for the GTI as it only uses 3/5ths of the WRX. Rather a remarkable difference.
    The obvious last difference is the DSG. It really works well in the GTI. WRX will never be as friendly in heavy start-stop traffic.
    Overall, not a bad comparison however I can’t imagine the many people will be tossing up between these two particular models. They really appeal to different people for different reasons.

    • Joe

      We average around 9.4L/100 with the WRX.. not bad for a big banger 2.5 litre turbo!

      • Simon

        Psssst!
        The go-fast pedal is the one on the right!

        ;o)

  • 2minds

    I think it’s rather telling that no one has mentioned the Lancer Ralliart….

    • Tom22

      Its hardly worth mentioning

  • timbo

    does anyone know the differrence in times for 0-400m and 80-120km

    • Tom22

      The WRX will go on to run low 13′s and the GTi low 15′s.

      Sounds like a massive difference, but looking at the 0-100 acceleration times the gap is already there.

      • Hung Low

        To put this in perspective, at the 400m mark there will be almost 15 car length gap between the two!
        The Golf has the straight line poke of todays 6 cylinder family car, hardly anything to write home about!

        • Tom22

          Actually a 4.0L Falcon would probably be faster

  • ABMPSV

    I take the VW Golf GTi. Both cars are very good. Excellent engines.
    Checked out the International Engine of the year website and
    The winner this year in the 1.8- to 2-litre category is
    1. Audi 2-litre TFSI (Audi A4, A5, Q5, VW Scirocco, Golf GTI) 220
    2. BMW Diesel 2-litre Twin Turbo (123d) 190
    3. Audi 2-litre four-cylinder TFSI (Audi A6, A3, TT, VW Tiguan, Eos, Jetta, Tiguan, Škoda Octavia, Seat Altea, León, Exeo) 98
    4. Mercedes-Benz 1.8-litre BlueEfficiency (E-Class) 96
    5. Honda 2-litre four-cylinder (S2000) 92
    6. Subaru Diesel 2-litre (Impreza, Outlook, Forester) 91

    and

    The 2- to 2.5-litre class
    1. Mercedes-Benz Diesel 2.1-litre (BlueEfficiency E-Class, BlueEfficiency C-Class)
    2. Audi 2.5-litre five-cylinder Turbo (Audi TT RS)
    3. Subaru 2.5-litre flat-four Turbo (Forester, Impreza, Legacy)
    4. Peugeot-Citroën-Ford Diesel 2.2-litre (Citroën C5, C6, C8, Peugeot 407, 607, 807, Citroën C-Crosser, Land Rover Freelander, Mitsubishi Outlander, Peugeot 4007, Ford Mondeo, S-Max, Galaxy, Jaguar X-Type)
    5. BMW 2.5-litre DI six-cylinder (Z4)
    6. Honda 2.4-litre four-cylinder (Element, CR-V, Edix, Elysion, Odyssey, Accord/Acura TSX, Accord USA)

  • Elitist

    2 good cars from 2 great countries…

    Can’t go wrong.

    • Juice08

      Agree. You’re never going to please everyone and everyone will have their opinions. It seems like a fair comparo but the cars have too many differences. I think fundamentally the WRX still appeals to a more cult-type audience with heaps of power and no bells and whistles. The GTI is not as quick but more classy inside and out. Plus besides the AWD v FWD the manual vs DSG would make a difference. Sucks that the WRX only has a 4-sp auto if you need a self-shifter.

    • Tom22

      Must you make a world war 2 reference.

      • Elitist

        Only if they were reviewing the Arbath as well ;)

  • Urabus

    Good review guys. If only Subaru offered the Spec R seats as an option on the rex. And I look forward to them using direct injection..

  • carl

    I’d easily choose the VW Golf GTI over Subaru. It feels more solid when you drive it. VW is a every-day’s car. The 6speed DSG is something you cant have in Subaru. When you get tired after a day’s work, you dont want to shift often in the peak hour traffic all the way back home.

  • Frenchie

    What are those hooks on the A-pillar trims of the Subi?

  • Jerry

    infra red Sensors for the alarm.

  • Flying High

    I would really like to see you do some driving / testing on slippery wet real world tar. In a majority of cases, cars of this type will handle the dry no problem, but the wet is where tricky situations can quickly arise and if you are pushing many cars in the wet, you get quite suprising differnces in handling.

    Next time you do a comparo like this, try it including a wet day and see what comes out there.

    • http://www.caradvice.com.au Karl Peskett

      Thanks Flying High.

      Next time, we’ll call on the rain gods to ensure that the heavens open for the days/times we test the cars.

      If anyone can help in this regard, please contact us.

      • riceboy

        did someone say skidpan?

        I own a MkV GTI Golf, when I was test driving 08 WRX vs GTI, the pre-09 upgrade WRX was so under powered! But now with the 2011 wide track WRX coming, I’m not so sure I’d pick Golf again…

      • Flying High

        hmm…. i didn\’t know you guys dont work on rainy days or that they were so hard to find. Sorry Karl I will temper my comments in the future. Personally if I test drive on a car, I am only interested in its rainy day handling. If it handles the wet, the dry will never be an issue.

        Years ago, in the days before intercoolers, a hot day would absolutely kill off turbos – and I am thinking of the turbo charged commondores of old. The environmental conditions make a big difference to the overall experience in a vehicle.

  • Gene

    The performance difference between the two cars is massive, I am afraid the reviewer glossed over that fact.

    I don’t mind driving the manual, so I would pick the WRX. Owning a Jetta TFSI, I know that the VW 2.0 Turbo power is something that I get used to very quickly. I imagine the 198 kW WRX can keep me awed for a lot longer.

  • ABMPSV

    If you like the Golf but you are upset because Subaru got more power than call Oettinger. They can go from 155 kW (210 PS) at 5300 – 6200/min to 184 kW (250 PS) at 5400/min and torque standard from 280 Nm at 1700 – 5200/min to 360 Nm at 2400/min. Price AUD 1887 (1290 Euro)

    • Philthy

      But then what happens when the WRX driver does the same thing? Chip an 09 rex and you’re looking at 200kw plus at the wheels.

      PS Oettinger is a rort. Unitronic will so the same thing for about $800 or GIAC for $1k

  • Andy

    you also can’t completely switch off the ESP in the Golf. which is very dumb. the Gti becomes uselss on the track. the computer will constantly try to keep the car balanced through corners. this Gti will never beat the 09 WRX around a track. whoever said their Gti keeps up with WRXs on a track keep dreaming. perhaps the old WRX. but not this powerhouse. keep this in mind that the 09 WRX has as much power as the MY05 WRX Sti and in an even lighter package. which makes it a complete powerhouse. pair some slightly better pads and sway bars for better balance i don’t even think the Mark XX Golf Gti with all its future enhancements will be able to keep up with this model WRX.

    0-100 in 6.9 seconds with its fancy DSG gearbox am I missing something here???? these are very very poor numbers for a so called “performance car” and for more than $50k!!!??? and before anyone comes in with a “performance isn’t only measured in a straight line” you’re spot on performance isn’t just measured in a straight line, the wrx will also squash this Gti around a track. this isn’t a comparison of performance. this is a comparison of interior plastics and brake pads.

    • fasthonda

      Andy said :”……this is a comparison of interior plastics and brake pads.”

      You touched on a VERY important observation.
      ALL reviewers have been guilty of trying to compensate the GTI’s comparative lack of performance by pulling out the “best interior” card.
      I’ve sat in a MKVI GTI and I still don’t see what the fuss is all about?What is innovative or stylish about a drab and sterile dash?
      I will not be test driving a MKVI GTI because I’ll be underwhelmed,as I was with the MKV GTI.
      Why do reviewers even bother comparing other hot hatches with the GTI?
      The test begins with performance and then ends up about the Golf’s nice interior which history has shown,overshadows the ENTIRE test outcome!

      • davie

        I interpret peoples comments about interior as being focused more on how disappointing the the nasty cheap Impreza interior is. Unfortunately its expressed by saying the Golf is so much better – in comparison

        I am personally frustrated that Subaru could create such a good hot hatch which people really want to own (for the performance) and yet drop the ball so bad with the interior. Its like having a really nice shirt which you want to be proud of but unfortunately there is an embarrassing stain on it which you notice every single time you wear it.

      • http://www.caradvice.com.au Hawkeyesurfer

        I have to say this is the very thing that is making this decision difficult. The Golf (to me anyway) is stunning, inside and out. The headlamps alone are a work of art. On the other hand the Subi is pretty ordinary inside and out. I have driven both these cars and I am still undecided.

        If I get the GTI will I see WRX’s in the streets after a couple of months and think dam this thing is too slow. You can chip a GTI but wheelspin is insane (just check Youtube). You could get a mechanical LSD but thats extra money on top of an allready very expensive car.

        If I get the WRX will I see GTI’s in the street and think ‘dam that car is so much nicer’.

        The problem is the GTI is no snail. It’s fun to drive as well.

        Great comparison. BTW – Is that photoshoot at Whiteman Park and Malaga? I can tell its somewhere in Perth becuase of the Banksia.

    • Max Ferven

      WRX = 20 something, Nikes, baseball cap backwards, Mossimo shirt, “yo yo fully sick goodonyamate! C’mon!!”

      GTI = 30 something, timberlands, slightly balding, Polo shirt, “I prefer a good Shiraz”

      • Simon

        Max Ferven says:
        GTI = 30 something, timberlands, slightly balding, Polo shirt, “I prefer a good Shiraz”
        Ahem……Timberlands, yes. More than slightly balding. T shirt is fine (I’m no fashion statement) and make mine a Cab Sav Merlot.
        Hence why I’m buying neither and seriously considering a G6ET.
        Fast, albeit not built for fast corners, comfy, conservative looks, well featured, safe and heaps of space. Same fuel consumption as the WRX. It’s also not going to bother me when they bring out the new model. These hot hatches will always be substantially superseded by the latest model. The only problem I have is the Ford badge. This is not because I dislike Fords but because there are many bogan drivers out there that see it’s a Ford and try to cut you off. I can only assume they feel threatened. Sadly I must concede some Ford drivers also fit the description of Bogan.
        *Sigh*
        So many pros and cons!

        • AB

          Go the G6ET.
          We have one at work and everybody loves it regardless of the car they drive

          • Kampfer

            G6ET as a work car?! All I have is a VW Caddy…

  • brumby

    I have an Impreza which is 1. ugly and 2. plakky interior but I love the engine and gearbox. Simple, solid and great sounding.
    Test drove a WRX recently and was blown away. Same awful looks and interior but, my god! was the power, handling and sound phenomenal. I was grinning like an idiot!
    I also test drove a TSI (not GTI) Golf and hated the DSG. The hesitation is often reported but it’s almost undriveable. Plant your foot and it takes ages to decide what to do. Not good for finding gaps in the traffic.
    So next step is a manual GTI – but changing gears and using the left handed indicator will keep me busy. ALL Oz imports should have a right hand indicator.

  • jav

    I have a MKV and I test drove the new MKVI and I honestly don’t see much difference between the two to justify upgrading at this moment but I can say the new version is more refined with less engine noise which I think takes away a little bit of the rawness that we so desire in a hot hatch!

  • yetti

    Why are the options on the gold so much money? and i here bluetooth is’nt even standard. for a car over 40k, its crazy

  • Mythfrances

    Even though German and Japanese lost the war…look at how they are dominating the car market now! Australia needs to catch up, at least have a major car maker that is actually owned by Australian. GO GO AUSSIE!

    • Mark Taylor

      There are no Australian owned car manufacturers. Ford and GMH are owned by US companies and, lets face it, not many world-dominating and innovative cars come from the US.

  • John

    If you really think about how you drive your car the majority of the time – probably city traffic and/or highway cruising 90-95% – then you would want to be in the car that feels special inside: the GTI. And for the 5-10% of the time you do drive on a windy road, the GTI is just as fun as the WRX albeit a few seconds slower. However the road is not a racetrack and there are no time keepers, winners or losers, it is all about how much fun the car is to drive. The GTI is about the entire experience and is a great car to actually live everyday. If you frequent track days, then sure the WRX is probably better suited for you.

    BTW I just put a deposit on the a new GTI so I am a little biased, but I did drive the WRX STI, EVO, BMW 135, XR5, 370Z before making my decision. I thought the GTI provided the best balance between luxury, practicality, sports, price and image: it is the ultimate all-rounder.

    • Andy

      i think you’re forgetting one thing here. the WRX is a more practical car. its cheaper, it has more passenger room and a bigger boot. i don’t believe having a slower car would mean that it is “more fun to drive” either. slower means slow and not as fun. and the extra $$$s you’re paying for the Gti, VW are slapping this on for the interior.

      so essentially you’ve just bought a slower car that is less fun, less practical and you’ve paid more for the better interior.

      • Duck

        “i don’t believe having a slower car would mean that it is “more fun to drive either. slower means slow and not as fun” Wow!!! First time i have ever heard this.. I don’t think you know how to enjoy driving or maybe you just know how to drive the car go straight. the best for you to drive is maybe quarter mile…

    • Flying High

      GTi is also the slowest and most mediocre amongst the bunch you drove too. Congratulations on your decision. (yawn…)

  • autogyro

    Would have liked to see a 3-way battle with the new Mazda3 MPS, which also retails for a similar price with a similar performance spec.

  • Paul

    The MPS Mazda might have similar straight like performance, but as soon as a corner appears, the WRX and GTI will leave it for dead. Way way too much power in the MPS for the front wheels to cope with.

    There is so much more to a car then 0-100 times. It’s all about the overall package, and how well balanced it is to drive day to day. And then when you find that perfect bit of road, you can put your foot down, have a huge smile on your face, and have a bloody great time doing so.

    • Gene

      The MPS has achieve very high results in competitions, such as Targa Tasmania.

      No one says you must floor the throttle every time you shoot out of a corner. If you truly believe in what you wrote you are not a very good driver at all, I am sorry.

  • Wayne Kerr

    The WRX is the young person’s car – it shouts aggression and really delivers the rush when on boost. As for the hard interior plastics – who cares ? You don’t see it at night and in daytime driving, your eyes are on the road.

    The Golf is for the more civilised middle aged person who wants a premium small car. Different markets altogether, but at 22, I’d go for the WRX. Maybe when I’m married, have kids and the RTA is ruling NSW roads with an iron fist, I’ll get the Golf.

  • http://www.checkwebhosting.com Neutral

    People don’t buy Imprezas or Evos for their interiors. The only thing that matters is the performance. So that is how the cars are built to cater for this. Most of the production cost is dumped into the performance department rather than the interior. If you want to be pampered, get the Golf or XR5T or MPS.

    • Gene

      Not only that, this reviewer ALSO says that the WRX has better NVH, more comfortable rear bench, and has better ride comfort. I am only referring to the pampering factor here and STILL GTI is behind in those KEY areas.

      Somebody else say it better above, this is a win to better quality plastic and brake pads, which the more I think about it the more ridiculous it feels.

  • bmw rent a car

    Again, this is a great comparison. AWD or FWD for too long we-are-just stuck with comparisons. A person normally has a budget and only within the narrow category welll as defined in the respective categories but not the car to get good work.

    • Golfschwein

      Que? Scooza?

  • Neo Utopia

    “Andy”, The 2005 STi’s curb weight is: 1,495kg, and the standard STi’s power was rated at 300 bhp when new obviously. The 2010 STi hatchback (the one in context here and which. actually looks decent in my opinion) is: 1,530kg and it’s power is almost the same at 305 bhp.

    • Andy

      “Neo Utopia” sorry i was actually referring to the 09 WRX the “non-Sti” version which is the one being reviewed here.

      the MY05 Sti is rated at 195 kW and weighs 1495 Kg
      the MY09 WRX is also rated at 195 kW however weighs 1390 Kg which is 100 kgs lighter than the MY05 Sti!!!!! which is pretty amazing.

      i think you are refering to the power output of the MY06 Sti which was in production towards the end of 2005.

  • Neo Utopia

    Sorry Andy, I got my facts wrong. Standard WRX specification from Subaru’s website is 1,410 kg, I don’t know where 1,390 kg? I would very much like to read a comparison between the Golf R and the WRX STi.

  • Neo Utopia

    …also on Subaru Australia website specifies the STi at 1,505 kg, quite a bit heavier when you would expect it to be a bit lighter. And people who say

    • Joe

      Still lighter than an Evo X MR with the SST transmission.. 1630kg!

  • Neo Utopia

    …the WRX does 0-100 in 4.7 better look at the website as well, as it’s 5.3 seconds and 4.9 for the STi.

    • Andy

      0-100 in 5.3 is pretty amazing. the lancer EVO IX is 3/10ths of a second slower than that. and the EVO has some serious grunt. these new WRXs must be a blast to drive.

      • Joe

        Motor Trend magazine in the States tested the latest WRX vs STi, and they both did the 1/4 mile in 13.1, but the WRX did 0-60mph in 4.7 as opposed to the over 5 seconds it took the STi (due to the extra gear change required apparently).

  • timbo

    i have current wrx sedan and have done 0-100 runs about a dozen times and the best i have done is 5.4 sec and it has no modifications,quarter mile time i don’t know but 2nd and third gear it hammers and brings a smile to my face everytime.have given the golf gti a couple of runs in a straight line and in the twistys and have soundly beaten them everytime.

    • Andy

      this doesnt surprise me at all. well done. what tool did you use to measure your 0-100 times? G-Tech?

      and which technique did you use to launch the car in your 5.4 second 0-100? build revs to 5.5k then a clutch dump, or other?

  • TuffGuy

    A typically biased and unbalanced article as usual. The golf is already 3k more expensive than the WRX and then has to get optioned up with another 10k. The WRX with leather and sunroof is still cheaper than the base Golf. Then one has to ask why the Golf needed the ACC? How would it have gone against the WRX without it??? Probably crap because reviewers always have to put optioned up Golfs against the WRX.

    Then we move onto the package itself. The WRX gets AWD, bigger engine, more power and torque, xenon headlights, more space everywhere inside, cheaper looking interior with hard plastics. The Golf gets no AWD, smaller engine, less power and torque, no xenon headlights, less space everywhere inside, more expensive interior with soft plastics and pretty chrome bits around the air vents and starts at 3k more.

    Nope, as a package the WRX gets it for me every time because it has the stuff that matters for driving the car, not just to make it look pretty and cost a massive bundle more to option it up with the stuff it should have had in the first place. And yes I did buy a WRX.

  • Neo Utopia

    Cars cost more to develop and construct in Germany, or much of central Europe for that matter, than they do in Japan. So for people in Australia to expect similar stuff for similar money from the two contries are not obviously thinking about currency convertion. Adding to the fact that Japanese workers work like cyborges, while German workers are more like highly efficient humans.

  • Numbat

    It´s rather pathetic how moto journalis try to defend VW everytime they introduce a weak car.Just as Tuffguy said not only the German is slower,more expensive to buy,run and service but also ill-designed(it´s frair to say that Mark VI Golfs are only an update of the fifth and not a brand new shape).
    I drive a Renault Megane Sport 225 not to be accused of Subaru fanboy.

  • Autoboy

    Not too sure about interior quality trumping performance in the long run. Previously had new medium sized Japanese luxury car. Ultimately its ‘quality’ just couldn’t compensate for its lack of go. Admittedly the Golf is not short it the ‘go’ department, but if given the choice, I would now go for the wrx: a bit hard and a bit noisy and more that just a bit of go – and that’s just want some people want.

  • Dennis

    4WD, for me is just too good. Whether it is in the rain or dirt road, Or just getting that tuned power down to the ground, 4WD will always give you a performance advantage.

    I hate it how people compare the performance. Be fair for the comparison.

    The GTi has better interior and build quality. By far.

    The WRX has better performance. By Far.

    One is for homeboys and one is for hair dresser’s.

    Thats how it is and always will be.

    PS the rex needs its bucket seats back, the MY09 seats suck.

  • Jeff

    I liked the comparison, very thorough and balanced.

    It’s horses for courses really. I’m 50 and recently bought a GTI. Beautiful car. I wanted something with zing BUT at my age didn’t want something like a WRX that suggested I wore my cap backwards, my pants around my knees and thought rap or techno music actually sounded good.

    I wanted something more stylish, prestige-ish and – well – not something a Bogan would buy!

    Great choice.

  • Fenno

    What you all seem to forget when comparing the performance times is how much mechanical sympathy you CANNOT use to launch a WRX and achieve the times quoted.

    6000rpm launches are required to get the WRX down into the fives and we all know the clutch is the weakest point on these suckers.

    Roll ons reflect the true usable performance.

    Have a look also at:
    -Powertrain losses (Golf: 155kw – 33%drivetrain loss for FWD = 104kw @ wheels, Subie: 195kw – 50%drivetrain loss for AWD +97.5Kw @ wheels),
    -Power to weight
    -Power delivery. Most would tire of the lag quickly in the WRX. I know I did.

    Just things to consider.

  • timbo

    as i am a current owner of a wrx sedan bought 09 i have consistently timed 0-100km 5.4 to 5.5 sec but only rev to 5000rpm,i agree rolling start is better but turbo lag is minimal when going through the gears,also to let everyone know that i have several times in my v6 hilux 4×2 ute automatic stock standard have beaten golf gti’s from standing start up to around 120km,so much for the golf gti(hairdresser’s car).

  • http://www.caradvice.com.au Kane

    i love the GTI but in this state they are over 10k apart with the options selected hardley the same spec?

  • Confused

    I am 50, and currently finding it difficult to decide between GTI and WRX. There are many good points made above, and hence my confusion. The WRX has made a big jump with the 2011 update. Does anyone have real world fuel consumption comparisons? I’m not sure the new WRX is bogun or young person oriented (2000 model, yes). I have driven both cars twice, and thoroughly enjoyed both, so I guess I will be happy with either choice. Any more insights?

  • Richard

    I believe that the VW fuel type is 95RON…

  • Gain

    Good comparison,both cars are great in dry conditions but a little bit of throttle control in the wet with the four wheel drive not only gives you a buzz but also feels safe and readable.

  • 187er

    i had a 2007 Jetta and i was about to buy the 2011 golf GTI which is a fantastic car but i ended up buying the 2011 wide body WRX yeah sure the wrx is faster but the golf is a much better car when you shut the doors or the booth you know it’s european changing gears in the traffic is a pain in the ass in the rex as the DSG gearbox is fantastic and it’s a nicer car to drive everyday and fuel consumption is much lower then the rex the only reason i bought the rex i wanted something different and must say the wide body got me don’t get me wrong i like the rex but the GTI with a chip (ECU Upgrade) which i had on my jetta it went up from 147kw to 195kw is not far behind the rex and you don’t need to change gears

  • andy

    One sentence i said volkswagen golf gti rules stuff buying a wrx its crap i test drive both i still prefer the golf gti it has better pick up then the wrx

  • http://n/a GTI 2011

    Love my GTI 2011. Classy. WRX might be quicker but I guarantee you. You will always see me in your rear view mirror regardless.

  • SR

    I’d love the Mk6 GTI except that I think it looks rather bland.   Doesn’t stand out from other Golfs as much as the MkV GTI did.   Yes the latest one does have a nicer interior.

    I’ve driven the 2011 WRX manual and as much as I like driving pleasure, the interior (esp the centre console) just looked too cheap.   In the end you spend all your time inside the car and it has to give you some pleasure.

    I think the GTI gives the best compromise between interior quality and outright performance.

    I don’t drive either at the moment, but am starting to look.

    Btw, could owners of either car let us know how things like road noise, windnoise and AC effectiveness are?

    The Mk5 GTI had a surprisingly large amount of windnoise above 100kmh.  Not sure if the mk6 is better?

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