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Owner Review

2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI review

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Quite often, the Volkswagen Golf GTI is referred to as the ultimate benchmark of a hot hatch. Here I am posting an owner's car review of my Golf GTI, as I celebrate surpassing my one-year anniversary of ownership. Hooray!

I consider myself a petrol head, like many of us out there. Prior to the Golf, I was an owner of a Holden VF Commodore SSV Redline. I loved it; the raw power you get out of a big V8 engine, a classic family sedan that is spacious and well packaged, and most importantly, I felt that I was making a bold statement when I was on the road behind the wheel of a true Aussie motoring icon.

After two years of owing the Commodore, I had to accept the reality that the big, heavy family sedan wasn't suitable for my inner-city living lifestyle. A VW Golf GTI was the perfect solution to offset the expensive petrol and insurance bill, while still offering practicality and the fun-driving factor.

At the time of purchase, I was weighing up between a Golf R and GTI, a decision that many buyers may face during their decision-making process. Of course, I test-drove both of them and I liked them all. However, I chose the GTI because I loved how light and playful it felt behind the wheel. After all, that's what a true hot hatch should be, right?

The powertrain is punchy but smooth. Its 2.0-litre TSI engine can deliver a good amount of excitement when you want to push the limit. I chose the DSG option so that I don't have to stress about the endless repetition of clutch-in and clutch-out while in traffic. DCC gives you a little more flavour to the car, allowing you to relax while driving in a comfort mode to tightening up the suspension when you engage in a sport mode. If only the stock exhaust was a little louder...

Sat-nav is the one aspect I wouldn't be overly impressed by. The resolution of the map looks outdated, and calculation of the estimated arrival time is not really meaningful as it does not incorporate the live traffic information. Thankfully, Apple CarPlay is there to mitigate this.

The practicality of the hot hatch came to life when I needed to pick up a washing machine that I had purchased recently – just fold the back seats and off you go!

As an all-rounder, everyday car, the Golf GTI is faultless. It does everything you need on a daily basis, as well as being capable of delivering that fun and excitement to thrill driving enthusiasts.