January 26, 2022

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2022 Volkswagen Golf

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What kind of car is the 2022 Volkswagen GTI? What does it compare to?

The more pedestrian versions of the Golf have disappeared from the U.S. market for 2022, leaving only the performance oriented GTI and Golf R to carry the torch. Both of those cars get a full redesign for 2022 and compete against the performance versions of other compact hatchbacks and sedans like the Hyundai Elantra N Line and N, Honda Civic Si, and Mazda 3.

Is the 2022 Volkswagen GTI a good car?

Review continues below

The redesigned 2022 GTI offers improved technology and more features than the last generation car, but the gap between the GTI and Golf R seems to have widened for this generation. You really have to move up to the Golf R to feel like the performance matches the price tag. Tack on some questionable interior control choices and the GTI earns a TCC Rating of 6.8 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What’s new for the 2022 Volkswagen GTI?

The eighth generation, or Mark 8, GTI gets a full redesign that also marks the return of the Golf R, giving Volkswagen a formidable pair of hot hatches once more. It adds new technology inside and performance enhancements underneath inside of a body that will look very familiar to Golf and GTI fans.

The GTI is a bit longer, but the wheelbase length remains the same. The nose is more wedge-like, but most of the styling differentiation between the Mark 8 and last year’s model comes from its lighting. There is now an available lightbar across the front grille (red for the GTI, blue for the Golf R) and LED fog lights arranged in a five-dot pattern below each headlight. Otherwise, it looks pretty close to the old GTI. The Golf R adds a two-piece spoiler, larger air intakes, and a rear diffuser.

Both models feature a 2.0-liter turbo-4, but have large differences in output. The front-wheel-drive GTI’s engine makes 241 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, but the all-wheel-drive Golf R jumps all the way up to 315 hp and 310 lb-ft. Each comes with a 6-speed manual transmission standard, with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic available as an $800 option. The GTI rides on a tightened suspension with stiffer springs, an electronic limited-slip differential, and sharpened steering. The Golf R can send half of its power to the rear wheels when needed and includes a new drift driving mode (for track use only, of course).

Inside, the GTI gets a large technology boost with a standard 10.3-inch digital gauge cluster, 8.3-inch infotainment touchscreen, heated steering wheel, 18-inch wheels, and four USB-C ports. Also available are a larger 10.0-inch touchscreen, heated/cooled front seats, a head-up display, and wireless charging pad. The GTI’s interior is very minimalistic; buttons have largely been eliminated in favor of a small panel of touch sensitive controls on the steering wheel and below the infotainment screen. 

Standard safety features include adaptive cruise control, automatic forward emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, and parking sensors.

How much does the 2022 Volkswagen GTI cost?

The price has increased by about $1,000 for the GTI, with the base GTI S starting at $30,540 (including destination charges). That’s followed by the GTI SE ($35,290) and the Autobahn ($38,990). The Golf R is only offered in a single trim level that starts at $44,640. 

Where is the Volkswagen GTI made?

After being built in Mexico for several years, production of the GTI and Golf R has moved back to Wolfsburg, Germany.

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