2016 Volkswagen GTI SE

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The Volkswagen GTI is an icon among gearheads worldwide. A 2015 redesign made it wider and longer, but overall the approach is the same: two or four doors with a hatchback, front-wheel drive, suspension and tires designed for handling, good power, and excellent brakes.

Much of the GTI’s appeal is inside. A fat steering wheel, perfectly placed pedals, and sport seats that hold the driver in place; leather covered in the SE.

The slick shifting 6-speed manual is sweet. A direct shift automatic is available.

There are three trim levels with the excellent sound system on the SE model tuned by Fender. VW’s touchscreen interface is much improved and quicker to respond than before.

Even in the coupe, two adults can travel in the back seat in comfort.

000003Cargo-wise, the GTI has all the room of its “sensible shoes” sister, the Golf. You can haul some big stuff, even skis with the pass-through.

The 2-liter turbo-four pumps out 210 horsepower. Performance tires lead to lots of road noise, but you’ll still take the long way to work. Driving doesn’t get much better than this.

So, for the 2016 Volkswagen GTI SE, I say thumbs up to the fun, practicality, and build quality; thumbs down to lots of road noise.

I averaged about 27 mpg. The as-tested sticker price is $28,845.

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