2004 Volkswagen GTI

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(4.4) 9 reviews
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Key Specs
Our Take
Overview
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Key Specs

of the 2004 Volkswagen GTI. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    22 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    240-hp, 3.2-liter V-6 (premium)
  • Drivetrain:
    All-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    6-speed manual w/OD
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Performance
  • Handling
  • Fun to drive
  • Construction quality

The Bad

  • Ride comfort with sport suspension
  • Difficult backseat entry and exit

Notable Features of the 2004 Volkswagen GTI

  • Turbocharged four-cylinder or V-6
  • Manual or automatic
  • Available Electronic Stabilization Program
  • Side-impact and side-curtain airbags

2004 Volkswagen GTI Overview

By Cars.com Editors
Vehicle Overview
Volkswagen’s energetic GTI hatchback got a sporty, three-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel and a leather-covered handbrake lever and gearshift knob for 2003. Premium CD radios added backlit buttons, and an enhanced windshield-wiper system was also installed. Volkswagen’s Electronic Stabilization Program, which uses yaw and position sensors, was made standard on the VR6 model and optional on the 1.8T.

Except for restyled wheels and a new underhood engine cover design, little has changed for 2004. A high-performance R32 model has joined the Volkswagen lineup.

The performance-oriented GTI comes only as a hatchback coupe, while the related Golf hatchback is available with two or four doors. The GTI is a charter member of the group of small cars dubbed “pocket rockets.”


Exterior
The GTI coupe and Golf hatchbacks all measure 164.9 inches long overall, which is more than 7 inches shorter than the company’s Jetta sedan. The GTI is equipped with a sport suspension, fog lights, darkened taillight lenses and dual tailpipes. Alloy wheels hold 16-inch tires on the 1.8T. The VR6 edition gets 17-inchers, which are offered as an option on the 1.8T.

Interior
The upright styling of the GTI allows occupants to sit more vertically than in most small cars. Space is adequate for four adults, though five can fit inside. Height-adjustable rear headrests are standard. The area behind the rear seat holds 18 cubic feet of cargo, and 60/40-split, rear seatbac...
Vehicle Overview
Volkswagen’s energetic GTI hatchback got a sporty, three-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel and a leather-covered handbrake lever and gearshift knob for 2003. Premium CD radios added backlit buttons, and an enhanced windshield-wiper system was also installed. Volkswagen’s Electronic Stabilization Program, which uses yaw and position sensors, was made standard on the VR6 model and optional on the 1.8T.

Except for restyled wheels and a new underhood engine cover design, little has changed for 2004. A high-performance R32 model has joined the Volkswagen lineup.

The performance-oriented GTI comes only as a hatchback coupe, while the related Golf hatchback is available with two or four doors. The GTI is a charter member of the group of small cars dubbed “pocket rockets.”


Exterior
The GTI coupe and Golf hatchbacks all measure 164.9 inches long overall, which is more than 7 inches shorter than the company’s Jetta sedan. The GTI is equipped with a sport suspension, fog lights, darkened taillight lenses and dual tailpipes. Alloy wheels hold 16-inch tires on the 1.8T. The VR6 edition gets 17-inchers, which are offered as an option on the 1.8T.

Interior
The upright styling of the GTI allows occupants to sit more vertically than in most small cars. Space is adequate for four adults, though five can fit inside. Height-adjustable rear headrests are standard. The area behind the rear seat holds 18 cubic feet of cargo, and 60/40-split, rear seatbacks fold for additional storage space; folding the seats creates 41.8 cubic feet of cargo area.

The instruments are backlit in a vibrant blue hue. The OnStar communication system is optional.


Under the Hood
GTI buyers have two engine choices. A turbocharged, intercooled, 1.8-liter four-cylinder in the 1.8T produces 180 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 173 pounds-feet of torque from 1,950 to 5,000 rpm. The GTI VR6 holds Volkswagen’s narrow-angle 2.8-liter V-6 engine, which generates 200 hp at 6,200 rpm and 195 pounds-feet of torque at 3,200 rpm.

A five-speed-manual gearbox is standard in the 1.8T, and a five-speed-automatic transmission with Tiptronic operation for manually selected gear changes is optional. Only a six-speed-manual gearbox is offered with the VR6.


Safety
Standard side curtain-type airbags protect the heads of passengers in side collisions. Side-impact airbags, all-disc antilock brakes and daytime running lights are also standard.

Driving Impressions
Performance is most notable in the 1.8T because of its 180-hp engine and Tiptronic transmission. Having so much energy at hand raises the fun quotient even higher, and this hatchback’s confident handling talents are even more appealing.

But be a little wary of the 17-inch tires and sport suspension. Even though the 1.8T’s ride doesn’t qualify as punishing, occupants do get tossed around more when the going gets rougher. The ride remains pleasant on smooth pavement, but small imperfections in the road can produce a jolt.



Latest 2004 GTI Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.3)
Performance
(4.6)
Interior Design
(4.2)
Comfort
(4.4)
Reliability
(4.2)
Value For The Money
(4.6)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Longest car I?ve owned

by Dally from Ft Lauderdale fl on March 9, 2018

I got the car used at 160000 miles and it lasted well into 190000 and is still going strong. It?s never left me stranded and I?ve never felt worried it wouldn?t start in the morning. I recently ... Read full review

(4.0)

most dependable and fun car I've owned

by mikedz from atlantic city, new jersey on May 25, 2017

I've owned this car for the past 3 years and since then have driven about 50,000 miles. My gti has never let me stranded and is by far the most dependable car I've owned and driven Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2004 Volkswagen GTI currently has 2 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2004 Volkswagen GTI has not been tested.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The GTI received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker