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2012 Volkswagen GTI

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$7,724 — $15,920 USED
12
Photos
Hatchback
5 Seats
26 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 4 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Handling balance
  • Cabin quality
  • Brakes
  • Cargo versatility
  • Interior amenities

The Bad

  • Choppy highway ride
  • Road and wind noise
  • Slow-reacting automatic transmission
  • Backseat too low to the ground
  • Modest acceleration relative to competitors
2012 Volkswagen GTI exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2012 Volkswagen GTI
  • Two- or four-door hatchback
  • Standard turbocharged four-cylinder
  • Manual or dual-clutch automatic
  • Related to VW Golf

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Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Vehicle Overview

The Volkswagen GTI is a high-performance sibling of the Golf. It comes as a two- or four-door hatchback, both with an optional Autobahn Package that consists mostly of interior upgrades. The GTI seats five and competitors include the Mazdaspeed3, Subaru Impreza WRX and Mini Cooper S.

New for 2012
LED daytime running lights are newly available for 2012, but little else of significance has changed.

Exterior
The GTI is based on the VW Golf, and both received new exterior styling a few years ago that made them more angular and menacing. The GTI has some unique features, including a thin, blackened honeycomb grille with two red outlining stripes; different front and rear bumpers; side skirts; and GTI badging. It also rides slightly lower than the Golf. Exterior features include:

  • Standard 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Dual tailpipes
  • Optional xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights


Interior
The GTI can seat up to five. Bolstered, ribbed sport seats are standard in front, and there's a 60/40-split bench in the rear. Seating surfaces have a retro plaid design — VW calls it "Interlagos" — on the cloth trim; both front seats employ seat heaters and seat-height adjusters. Leather upholstery is optional. Interior features include:

  • Standard leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift
  • Standard power windows, locks and side mirrors with keyless entry
  • Standard air conditioning and cruise control
  • Standard height-adjustable, heated front seats
  • Standard USB/iP...
Vehicle Overview

The Volkswagen GTI is a high-performance sibling of the Golf. It comes as a two- or four-door hatchback, both with an optional Autobahn Package that consists mostly of interior upgrades. The GTI seats five and competitors include the Mazdaspeed3, Subaru Impreza WRX and Mini Cooper S.

New for 2012
LED daytime running lights are newly available for 2012, but little else of significance has changed.

Exterior
The GTI is based on the VW Golf, and both received new exterior styling a few years ago that made them more angular and menacing. The GTI has some unique features, including a thin, blackened honeycomb grille with two red outlining stripes; different front and rear bumpers; side skirts; and GTI badging. It also rides slightly lower than the Golf. Exterior features include:

  • Standard 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Dual tailpipes
  • Optional xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights


Interior
The GTI can seat up to five. Bolstered, ribbed sport seats are standard in front, and there's a 60/40-split bench in the rear. Seating surfaces have a retro plaid design — VW calls it "Interlagos" — on the cloth trim; both front seats employ seat heaters and seat-height adjusters. Leather upholstery is optional. Interior features include:

  • Standard leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift
  • Standard power windows, locks and side mirrors with keyless entry
  • Standard air conditioning and cruise control
  • Standard height-adjustable, heated front seats
  • Standard USB/iPod-compatible stereo
  • Optional steering-wheel audio controls, upgraded touch-screen stereo, navigation system and moonroof
  • Autobahn Package adds all above options and a Dynaudio premium stereo, leather upholstery and a keyless access system with remote start


Under the Hood
A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder is standard. With either the manual or automatic transmission, the front-wheel-drive GTI can hit 60 mph in less than 7 seconds, Volkswagen says. Mechanical features include:

  • 200 horsepower and 207 pounds-feet of torque
  • Six-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch automatic
  • Electronic limited-slip control system helps control wheelspin during sharp turns


Safety
Standard safety features include:

  • Antilock brakes
  • Traction control and electronic stability system
  • Front-seat side-impact and side curtain airbags

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.7
48 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.7)
Performance
(4.7)
Interior Design
(4.6)
Comfort
(4.5)
Reliability
(4.4)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

Great vehicle!

by John from District heights md on December 4, 2018

Love the style and reliability of the Volkswagen gti, it has a great sport look and pretty fast hatchback. Would recommend this car for anyone interested in getting a fun but reliable car. Read full review

(5.0)

Great Car for the value

by AZrebel from Austin, TX on December 3, 2018

It?s very quick, there are a lot of options for performance upgrades. It?s realiable and spacious. Lots of storage. I would highly recommend this vehicle. Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2012 Volkswagen GTI currently has 2 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2012 Volkswagen GTI 2-Door

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
marginal
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Volkswagen

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    36 months / 36,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    7 years/less than 72,000 or 75,000 miles (model-year specific)

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    Model-year 2017 and older, 2 years/24,000 miles; model-year 2018 and forward, 1 year/12,000 miles; TDI models, 2 years/unlimited miles

  • Powertrain

    5 years/60,000 miles

  • Dealer Certification Required

    100-plus point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All CPO Program Details

Latest 2012 GTI Stories

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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

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