2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Release Date: Fall 2021
Estimated Price: $25,000-$35,000 (estimated)
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Volkswagen Golf GTI for Sale

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI Review

  • Sporty and fun handling
  • Roomy hatchback design for passengers and cargo
  • Sophisticated ride quality with the optional adaptive suspension
  • High-quality interior materials look and feel great
  • Infotainment system can be frustrating to use
  • Not as much power as some rival hot hatches
  • The 2022 Golf GTI has been fully redesigned
  • A new fresh look and an overhauled interior with new tech
  • More power from the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
  • Kicks off the eighth Golf GTI generation

More than 40 years ago, the GTI essentially created the hot hatch segment, combining practicality and performance in an attractive package at an affordable price. Over several decades and seven generations, Volkswagen has built on the original GTI's success. The new eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf GTI makes its debut for 2022, with a fresh, aggressive new face, an all-new interior, new tech and a slight bump in performance.

Powering the GTI is a new version of the car's turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that has appeared in VW products for more than a decade. In the 2022 GTI, it produces 242 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque — a bump up from the previous engine's 228 hp and 258 lb-ft. You can still get it with a manual transmission or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. A revised suspension tuning and a standard limited-slip differential mean the GTI drives better than ever, and the interior benefits from a fresh design and a new infotainment system.

Overall, we're impressed with the new GTI's combination of speed, practicality and technology. But the 2022 model year is shaping up to be a good one for driving enthusiasts, with new versions of the Honda Civic and Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86 twins also making their debuts. There's also the 275-hp Hyundai Veloster N to consider. What to get? Check out our Expert Rating of the 2022 GTI below to help you decide.

EdmundsEdmunds' Expert Rating
Rated for you by America’s best test team
The new Volkswagen GTI isn't a dramatically different machine than the one it replaces. Instead of rethinking the GTI, Volkswagen's engineers have finely polished what made the GTI so good to begin with. It's fun to drive all the time thanks to a stout engine and sharp handling. It's comfortable and offers plenty of cargo space too. The lack of real buttons for most controls can be frustrating but, as a whole, the new GTI is as charming as ever.
It should be no surprise that the new GTI drives a lot like the old one. It might look different, but the engine, transmission and much of the suspension carry over. That said, it's not totally the same. Base GTIs get a slight bump in power, and all come standard with an electronically controlled limited-slip differential that helps you quickly put down the power when exiting turns.

With the available dual-clutch automatic transmission, our test GTI covered 0-60 mph in just 5.9 seconds. That's only slightly slower than the 2021 Honda Civic Type R. There's good low-end torque and decent power all the way to redline.

Our summer-tire-shod GTI stopped from 60 mph in just 103 feet, which is impressively short for an affordably priced performance car like this. Steering feel and overall handling have been improved too. Overall, this one of the best-handling front-wheel-drive cars on the road.
The GTI has always excelled at balancing performance with comfort. The seatback may look different, but these seats feel familiar to anyone who's driven a GTI before. The fixed side and thigh bolsters are pronounced but not overly tight. Volkswagen has found a nice Goldilocks setting. And, yes, the GTI's iconic red, white and black tartan cloth seats carry over. Ride comfort has been improved thanks to a revised suspension tuning. Our loaded test vehicle was equipped with an adaptive suspension that can be set to a compliant Comfort mode or a firm Sport setting. There's a noticeable difference, but the GTI never feels too soft or overly harsh.

Not everything has been improved. While we appreciate the available three-zone climate control, the capacitive touch controls for the temperature are cumbersome and occasionally infuriating to use. Rather than buttons or knobs, the GTI uses touch points on the dash. They're difficult to see and use without taking your eyes off the road.
The GTI's interior may look different than before, but it doesn't take long behind the wheel for everything to feel a bit familiar. The seating position is excellent, with lots of adjustments and good visibility in all directions. It's easy to find a comfortable driving position, and there's plenty of room up front and a decent amount in the rear, though taller passengers might find rear legroom lacking. The brake pedal does sit a bit high off the floor, making heel-toe downshifts a bit awkward but not impossible. The GTI's compact size and wide doors make getting in and out a breeze, even with the sporty seat bolsters.

It's not all grand. The capacitive touch controls that plague the climate control system are present everywhere, from the headlight switch to the steering wheel controls. They're all too sensitive and provide too little feedback. We accidently turned on the heated steering wheel on multiple occasions when a palm grazed the button on a tight turn. It's frustrating and one of the few areas in which the new GTI is worse than its predecessor.
Volkswagen has heavily updated the GTI's tech. It features a new infotainment system with a new interface and lots of new features. The interface is responsive to your touches, though the layout takes some getting used to and isn't quite as intuitive as other infotainment systems. The voice controls are excellent, with a robust list of commands and functions. You can say your feet are cold, and the GTI will start blowing warm air at the bottom vents. The GTI features wireless connectivity for the standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration system. There's a wireless charging pad too, and USB-C ports for both front and rear passengers.

The GTI's advanced driver aids are equally impressive. The adaptive cruise control works smoothly, maintaining a tight gap in traffic and holding speed up- and downhill. It's even available with the GTI's manual transmission. Blind-spot monitoring, lane keeping assist and other aids all work about as well as we expect from a car at this price.
Performance and style might be what draws your eye to the GTI, but its hatchback utility is part of what's made it so popular over the years. The GTI's cargo space is huge, eclipsing cargo room in nearly every other hatchback on sale today. The cargo area is wide and tall, and the rear seats fold nearly flat in a 60/40 split for even more space. Storage up front is also impressive thanks to large door pockets and plenty of small bins for phone, sunglasses and more. The small and awkwardly placed cupholders are one of the few drawbacks.

There's a reasonable amount of space in the rear for child safety seats. Isofix anchors are easily located, though the front seats may need to be scooted up a hair to accommodate larger rear-facing seats.
EPA fuel economy estimates were unavailable at the time of our evaluation, but given the carryover powertrain, we don't expect it to change significantly from the outgoing car's 27 mpg combined rating (24 city/32 highway). We saw 30.8 mpg on our 115-mile evaluation route, which is a relatively good showing.
The Volkswagen GTI has always been one of the most expensive vehicles in its class, but it's also generally felt a cut above most of its rivals. The new interior looks and feels premium, with a clean design and lots of nice materials. A well-equipped GTI is nearly as much as a Honda Civic Type R. The performance gap has narrowed thanks to the GTI's updates, but the Volkswagen can't be called a performance bargain.

Volkswagen includes a four-year/50,000-mile basic and powertrain warranty, which is average for the class. The GTI's three years/36,000 miles of roadside assistance is better than most, as is the scheduled maintenance coverage of two years/24,000 miles.
The GTI has always been one of the more subtle hot hatches around. While cars like the Civic Type R are adorned with big wings and wide fenders, the GTI has remained cool and clean, even if that new face is a bit more brash than before. Whether it's the tartan seats, red accents or new LED foglights, it's the small details that make the GTI charming.

And that's all before you get behind the wheel. The GTI is fun at any speed. The turbocharged engine offers lots of low-end power, so you can zip through traffic without having to work too hard. Then, when you escape the city and head out to a twisty road, the GTI rewards you with predictable handling and an engaging character.

Consumer reviews

There are no consumer reviews for the 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI.

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI video

REESE COUNTS: This is the new eighth generation Volkswagen Golf GTI. [MUSIC PLAYING] When the original GTI made its debut in 1976, it essentially created the entire hot hatch segment and set the template for dozens of other sporty compacts that followed. The GTI combined the Golf's hatchback practicality with sporty driving dynamics, all in a relatively affordable package. Volkswagen has spent the subsequent decades improving on and refining that basic formula, building more than 2.3 million GTIs since 1976. I even own one. The new GTI might look different than its predecessor. But underneath this aggressive new sheet metal, it's not wholly different than the car it replaces. The big changes for '22 are new in-car tech and a revised suspension, too. There's a lot that carries over. But is it really such a bad thing that this GTI is more evolution than revolution? We'll see if this new GTI lives up to the standard of practical performance set by its forebears. If you like this video, like and subscribe and check out the links below for more info on the GTI and other cars, trucks, and SUVs. And visit edmunds.com/sellmycar to get an instant cash offer on your vehicle. [CA-CHING] All GTIs are powered by a 2-liter turbo-charged inline-4. They make a bit more grunt this year, up to 242 horsepower and 273 pound feet of torque. The transmission's a carryover, too. This car is a seven-speed automatic, but a six-speed manual is also available. It's quite a bit less than the Hyundai Veloster N's 275 horsepower and Honda Civic Type R's 306 horsepower. The Veloster N is available with both an automatic and manual transmission, while the Type R's only offered with the six-speed manual. All three cars are front-wheel drive. So there have been some changes to the suspension. The biggest benefit is steering response. My issue with the last GTI was the steering. It was a little light and overboosted, and you just didn't have that feel at the limit. Volkswagen has really fixed it with this car. It's so much nicer in the corner. You really feel the road a lot better. It just makes the whole thing more responsive. While there's not been a ton of mechanical changes, visually the GTI doesn't look a lot different. Most of those changes are in the front end. It's a lot more aggressive than before. You've got this big mouth with the honeycombs, these angry eyes with this nice LED light bar that goes across. I'm very glad that Volkswagen has kept the little red accents on the badge on the grill. It just gives the GTI a little more character. That said, it's still not quite as aggressive as the Hyundai Veloster N or the Civic Type R. Some people might want a little more show. Personally, I like the subdued looks of a GTI. So some other tells for the GTI are the big wheels and brakes. If you look in there, they're about the size of my forearm. And trust me, they really work, especially when equipped with these summer tires. If you're going to go with the GTI, I really suggest it. It makes the steering better, improves the braking and just overall handling. [ENGINE REVS] [TIRES SQUEALING] If you're eating the GTI's dust, the way to know what you're losing to is the dual exhaust and that black-accented spoiler. I admit, when I saw the GTI in photos, I wasn't sure how I felt about it. The front end looked a little too pinched and the hood a little too low. It all changed when I saw it in person. It really does work. So it doesn't take long behind the wheel of a GTI to like really know you're in something special. Everything feels a little tighter, a little more energetic. But it doesn't punish you with like a harsh ride or sharp brakes or anything like that. It all just works, and you can really tell how long Volkswagen's been refining this thing. Performance is all well and good. But what made the GTI so popular to begin with is its utility. You can throw the seats down in the back and open up the hatch. It's got more than a lot of rivals, including the Hyundai Veloster N. I moved out to California several years ago and threw everything I own in the back of that car. It's really what makes this car so great, performance, practicality at an affordable price. Now let's check out the inside. So the interior has been fully redesigned on the GTI, but it still retains that premium feel it always has. The design is clean and very German. The materials are a little nicer. Touch anything in here, and it's got a little heft. The plastics are a little nicer. I really dig these seats. The tartan look is cool. It's cloth seats, but it has a lot of character. They are heated, so you don't lose that like you do with leather seats. The leather seats are still pretty nice, though. So this car is equivalent to US spec Autobahn, the top-level trim. The only differences between this and the American car is this will get leather and a sunroof. So the GTI's interior has always been really nice. Volkswagen's been doing this for years. They know what people like. The seating position is great. The interior feels more premium in the class. The GTI is fun and sporty, but it's also a four-door hatchback. You've got room for people in the back. You can fold those seats down and expand the cargo area. I've slept in one before. It's just-- [BLEEP], my mother-- sorry. [CHIME] The GTI is just a well-rounded car. You can use it as a comfortable daily driver. You can use it to go have some fun on the weekends. You really are not sacrificing anything for anything else in this. With the seats down and the hatch open, this thing's an IKEA killer. [RIM SHOT] My biggest gripe with the new GTI is easily the touch capacitive controls. You've got temperature and volume control up here, but they're not buttons or knobs. They're just indicated touch points that you place your finger on. You don't get any feedback on it, so you don't know if it's clicking or changing unless you've got your eyes on the screen. And at night, the controls don't illuminate. You've got the same issue on the steering wheel. I can't tell you how many times I've accidentally turned the heated steering wheel on just by grazing the button because you don't actually have to press it. You just have to touch it. It's really frustrating, and they don't always use the same. Like, you can slide your finger on some. You can press on others. I don't know why Volkswagen did this. It's genuinely worse than the car that came before it for a car that's better in just about every other way. Runner-up for the most hated feature are the cup holders. It's nice because you've got a little bin. But if you actually use it to put cups in here, the drinks are just pushing on top of each other. You've got to worry about not spilling anything. I do not get why Volkswagen thought this would be a good idea. You're already going to be frustrated by the touch capacitive controls. You're not going to be thinking. You're going to pick up something. It's going to be stuck in the cup holder, and you're going to spill coffee all over this nice interior. The new GTI comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. If you do want to plug something in, there's USB-C ports. If you don't, there's a wireless charging pad right down here. Storage is actually pretty good. The center console is a little shallow. But you've got bins here, bins up front, and really large door pockets. The combination of practicality and performance is what makes the GTI so special. [ENGINES REV] There's certain expectations you have when you get behind the wheel of a GTI. It's got to feel fun and quick, but it can't punish you with this harsh ride. But I do have to say, this new GTI delivers. Most of the mechanical bits have carried over, including this 2-liter turbo-charged engine. It's got more horsepower this year, up to 242 horsepower and 273 pound feet of torque. I really love this lazy low-end torque you can really get into. It doesn't take much to get it moving, just a little dip of the throttle, and it just comes and builds. And for being a 4-cylinder, it's got a nice little growl, too. Complimenting the engine are a choice of two transmissions. This one has the seven-speed automatic. Now I really like this transmission. Sure, it's an automatic, but the paddle-shifters make it feel engaging. And because it's a quick-shifting dual clutch, it's really responsive. That said, I would still go with the 6-speed manual. The automatic is quicker, sure. It just doesn't have that little bit of engagement that makes the GTI so much fun. Arguably the biggest change for the new GTI was the retuned suspension. The goal was to make the steering response a little better, which is a good thing because my biggest problem with the last GTI was the steering just lacked that little bit of feel. Now while the feedback still isn't as great as something like the Civic Type R, the response is better. It's quick. You can really line up your corners and get some good turn in. So where does the GTI stack up in this class? It's not quite as raw or as sharp as the Honda Civic Type R or the Hyundai Veloster N. But it's a lot more comfortable and easy to live with every day. If you want raw performance, you might want to check elsewhere. But if you want something that's just fun all the time, the GTI is the way to go. After 2021, the GTI and upcoming Volkswagen Golf R are going to be the only Golf variant sold in America, as Volkswagen shifts its focus towards EVs and SUVs. While we lament the loss of another hatchback, the truth is Volkswagen is still sending the best versions here. The new GTI isn't a sea change or a whole rethink of what hot hatches are capable of. It doesn't reset the performance benchmark for front-wheel drive cars, like the Honda Civic Type R. And it's not as raw as other compact performance vehicles, like the Subaru WRX. But it's the balance that makes it charming. It's comfortable and practical without feeling boring, but it also doesn't shout for attention. There's space inside for four adults, and the hatch offers compact SUV-like cargo space. It's not as sharp to drive as some dedicated sports cars, but it's far less compromised than the Mazda Miata, Subaru BRZ, or Toyota 86. It's not perfect. The touch capacitive controls, I hate them. Cup holders, I hate them, too. But really the GTI has done what it's always done, be pretty damn good at everything. If you like this video, let us know in the comments. Be sure to like and subscribe. If you want to know more about the GTI or other similar vehicles, go to edmunds.com to find your next car. [MUSIC PLAYING]

2022 VW Golf GTI First Drive | Volkswagen's Redesigned Hot Hatch | What's New, Interior, Engine

Volkswagen Golf GTI vs. the competition

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI

2021 Honda Civic

2021 Honda Civic

Volkswagen Golf GTI vs. Honda Civic

It might be nearing the end of its life, but the 2021 Honda Civic Type R is still one fine car. It essentially reset the performance benchmark for front-wheel-drive hot hatches. You do pay for that performance since a base Civic Type R is about as much as a loaded GTI. Honda doesn't offer an automatic transmission in the Type R, and we found some driver aids are overly sensitive.

Compare Volkswagen Golf GTI & Honda Civic features 

Volkswagen Golf GTI vs. Hyundai Veloster N

The Veloster N is one of the newest hot hatches on the market. It's quicker and sharper to drive than the GTI, and Hyundai now offers the Veloster N with both automatic and manual transmissions. It doesn't offer as much passenger or cargo space as the Volkswagen GTI, however.

Compare Volkswagen Golf GTI & Hyundai Veloster N features 

Volkswagen Golf GTI vs. Subaru WRX

The Subaru WRX has been around for a while, but it's one of the most affordable performance cars you can buy. It's quicker than the GTI thanks to all-wheel drive and a more powerful engine. It lacks the GTI's polish, with excessive road noise and an interior that feels comparatively cheap.

Compare Volkswagen Golf GTI & Subaru WRX features 

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI First Impressions

What is the Golf GTI?

The Volkswagen Golf is one of the longest-standing names in the hatchback market. It combines practicality, refinement and performance like none other. But hatchbacks are losing ground to small crossovers in the U.S., and even though the Golf is newly redesigned in other parts of the world, there's little business case for bringing the standard model stateside. However, its sporty variants have a strong following here, which is why we'll be getting the new 2022 Golf GTI (along with the more performance-minded Golf R) at the tail end of 2021. Due to the low take rate, a two-door GTI will not be offered; a four-door will remain the sole body style.

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI  - Front 3/4
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
What's under the Golf GTI's hood?

Under the hood of the Golf GTI is the newest version of the EA888 turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that has appeared in VW products for more than a decade. In the 2022 GTI, it produces 242 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque — a bump up from the previous engine's 228 hp and 258 lb-ft. A six-speed manual is standard (rejoice!) and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is optional.

Adaptive suspension dampers will once again be available so drivers can select their ideal blend of ride plushness and performance. While the current GTI offers just a few settings for the dampers, the new model will have a total of 15 steps between ultimate comfort and sportiness. Volkswagen has also retuned the suspension to reduce understeer. Combined with the fully defeatable stability control system, the new GTI appears to be much more performance-oriented than its predecessor.

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI  - Engine
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
How's the Golf GTI's interior?

On the inside, this modern Golf offers a sleek new dashboard design punctuated by two large display screens. The first is the central touchscreen, which features a 8.25-inch display on most models, or a new 10-inch screen on models equipped with navigation. The other is the eye-catching Digital Cockpit instrument panel already implemented in some newer Volkswagens. While it's often optional in other Vee-Dubs, the Digital Cockpit is standard equipment on the Golf GTI.

The new Golf GTI is equipped with plaid cloth seats, which have been a staple of the GTI since its inception. Optional leather seats are now perforated and offer front-seat ventilation — another first for the new GTI. The cabin also features 30-color adjustable ambient lighting for matching your mood and a heated steering wheel. Both are standard. On the options list is a head-up display that projects directly onto the windshield and a Harman Kardon premium audio system.

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI  - Front Interior
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
How's the Golf GTI's tech?

Volkswagen is mum on which advanced driving aids will be standard and which will be optional for the new Golf GTI. That said, we know for sure that all models will come with lane keeping assist, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. The current GTI offers other features, such as adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, parking sensors and an automated parking system. These are likely to return for the new GTI.

EdmundsEdmunds says

The current Volkswagen Golf GTI is one of our favorite hatchbacks on the market. Even with an aging interior and average power numbers, it's able to hold its own against more recently redesigned rivals. A redesigned Golf GTI should do very well against modern competitors, and a new focus on driver engagement can only improve its outlook.

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI  - Rear 3/4
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI