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By Cars.com Staff
December 30, 2008
Vehicle Overview The GTI carries on the tradition of being an affordable "hot hatch" by providing performance in a small, high-value package. It's available as a two- or four-door hatch with an option package — with mostly interior upgrades — named Autobahn. Similar cars include the Mazdaspeed3 and Subaru WRX.
New for 2009 Volkswagen lowered the ride height on the 2009 GTI by 15 millimeters. Sirius Satellite Radio is now standard; automatic climate control is no longer available.
Exterior The GTI is based on the VW Rabbit. The GTI has some unique features, including darkened taillight lenses, a black honeycomb grille a larger lower intake and GTI badging. Volkswagen offers a range of body kits, roof racks and other accessories for further customization.
The GTI has a 101.5-inch wheelbase; it measures 165.8 inches long and 69.3 inches wide. The hatch is smaller than the MazdaSpeed3 and Impreza WRX.
Standard 17-inch alloy wheels
Optional 18-inch alloy wheels
Standard bi-xenon high-intensity-discharge headlamps
Standard heated windshield washer nozzles
Standard body-colored bumpers, mirror housings, side moldings and door handles
Standard rear spoiler
Interior The GTI's upright stance allows occupants to sit more vertically than in most small cars. Space is adequate for four adults, though seating for five is intended. There's 94.2 cubic feet of passenger space in the two-door hatch and 93.1 in the four-door model, which is competitive for its class.
The area behind the rear seat holds 15.1 cubic feet of cargo in the two-door hatch and 14.7 feet in the four-door. The 60/40-split rear seat folds to provide 46.0 cubic feet of space in both hatchbacks.
Available cloth or leather upholstery
Standard real aluminum trim
Standard leather-wrapped steering wheel, shifter knob and brake handle
Standard air conditioning
Standard 10-speaker audio system with six-disc CD changer
Standard heated front seats
Optional iPod adapter
Optional navigation system
Under the Hood The GTI is separated from the Rabbit by what's under its hood. The GTI is equipped with a sport suspension and a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, and the Direct Shift Gearbox — technically an automated manual transmission — is optional. It uses separate clutches for the odd and even gears, so it can upshift from one gear to another in fractions of a second. It includes a sequential-manual shift mode by means of the stick or steering-wheel-mounted paddles.
200-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 207 pounds-feet of torque
Standard six-speed manual transmission
Optional six-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift mode
Optional summer performance tires (no charge)
Standard sports-tuned suspension
Safety The Rabbit, on which the GTI is based, has scored the top rating, Good, in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's frontal and side-impact crash tests.
Standard front side-impact airbags
Standard side curtain airbags
Standard antilock brakes
Standard electronic stability system
Standard active head restraints in front
Standard daytime running lights
Standard security system
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