If you’re the automotive expert in your circle of family or friends, you've been approached for car-buying advice. “I want something fast, affordable, and versatile,” they’ll say. “Please don’t recommend anything with spoilers,” might be another qualifier.
That's when I pull the Volkswagen Golf GTI out of my memory bank like a utility knife. This performance-oriented 5-door inherently addresses the need for versatility and fun on a budget, and it does so in a mature and handsome way.
The GTI is the hot-hatch benchmark; VW created the segment in 1976, and with each successive generation the original promise of front-wheel-drive excitement has been finely honed. There are more than a few competitors for the GTI these days, so let's spend some time in its cozy sport seats to see if this VW is still worthy of enthusiasts’ default praise.