2017 VW GTI

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The ’17 VW GTI may not look much like a Corvette, but in several ways, it reminds me of one.

Well, not a new one.

My high school buddy’s 1978 L-82 coupe

Wait. Give me a minute.

The GTI has 210 hp – 220 if you buy the Sport, SE or top-of-the-line Autobahn versions. My friend’s ’79 Corvette also had 220 hp. Both engines make almost exactly the same torque, too: 258 ft.-lbs. for the VW vs. 260 ft.-lbs. for the Chevy.

This is a startling verisimilitude given the VW’s engine is a four only about a third the size of the Corvette’s V8.

Here’s another Weird Thing in Common:

A ’78 Corvette with the optional L-82 350 V8 (this was the highest-performance engine available that year) stickered for $36,899 in 2017 dollars ($9,876 in ’78 dollars).

Are you ready?

The ’17 GTI with the optional Autobahn package VW sent me to test drive stickers for  . . . $35,195.

A gulf of 40 years separates these cars – and one’s a rear-wheel-drive two-seater with a big V8 up front while the other’s a front-wheel-drive hatchback with a four and four doors   . . .  and yet you end up with something similar.

Well, kinda sorta!

WHAT IT IS

The GTI is a hotted-up version of VW”s popular Golf four-door hatchback – though not quite as hotted-up as the 292 hp and all-wheel-drive Golf R hatchback (reviewed separately, here).  

It comes with a larger, more powerful 2.0 liter turbo four in place of the Golf’s 1.8 liter four – along with upgraded wheels and tires, high-capacity brakes, dual exhaust, a sport-tuned suspension and different exterior/interior trim.  

Base price is $25,595 for the S trim with a six-speed manual transmission (vs. $19,895 for the regular Golf).

With the available six-speed automated manual (DSG) transmission, the price rises to $26,695.

Next up are Sport and SE trims, both of which get a 10 hp performance bump viaa bit more boost as well as an electronically controlled limited slip differential and upgraded brakes with contrast-color powder-coated calipers.

The SE adds luxury amenities such as as a sunroof, leather seats and a worth-the-money premium Fender audio rig.

The top-of-the-line Autobahn includes everything that comes standard with the Sport and the SE, plus an an adaptive four-mode suspension with a larger diameter rear stabilizer bar, navigation, automatic climate control and trim upgrades. It stickers for $34,095 with the six-speed manual transmission and $35,195 with the DSG automatic.

The main cross-shop now that the firecracker MazdaSpeed3 is no longer available is the Ford Focus ST hatchback – which comes only with a manual transmission and stickers for $25,650 to start.

If you can abide something a bit smaller, you might also consider a Mini Cooper S – which is among the few cars left in this class that’s still available in both two and four-door hatchback body styles ($24,400 and $25,400 to start, respectively).

 There’s also an “Autobahn-equivalent” version of the Mini – the John Cooper Works (JCW) Mini. It gets a stronger (228 hp) engine and other performance/styling upgrades. It stickers for $30,900 to start for the two-door version.

You might also  want to wait a little while for the new Honda Civic Si, which should be available later this summer. There will definitely be a hatchback coupe and there may be a four-door hatchback version, too.

Or, have a look right now at the regular Civic -with its available 1.5 liter turbo engine. It only comes with an automatic (CVT) but it’s surprisingly quick (0-60 in about 6.7 seconds) gets fantastic mileage (40-plus) and it stickers for $19,700 to start.

WHAT’S NEW

No more two-door hatchback GTI. Well, not many of them (see below).

WHAT’S GOOD

As much power – and better performance – than a ’78 Corvette, along with twice the gas mileage and seating capacity.

Four door/hatchback layout is practical. This “Corvette” can also be a family car.

Go manual – or automatic (Focus ST is manual-only).

Much roomier back seat (and more cargo room) than Mini’s got.

WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD

Four door hatchback-only layout.

Not as cute as the Mini (and about a foot longer overall, too).

Autobahn version is pricey; almost $10k more than a Focus ST and about $3k more than  a JCW Mini.

UNDER THE HOOD

The GTI’s powerplant is a 2.0 liter turbo four making 210 hp in the base S trim and 220 in all the other trims. Torque output – 258 ft.-lbs. at 1,500 RPM – is the same regardless. You can go with a six-speed manual or VW’s six-speed Direct Shift (DSG) dual-clutch automated manual.

Either way, the GTI is the speediest car in its class . . . for the moment.

It gets to 60 in just over six seconds, vs. about 6.4 seconds for the stronger (252 hp) but heavier (3,223 lbs.) Ford Focus ST.

The VW weighs in at 3,031 lbs.

A Mini Cooper S – which also has a turbo 2.0 liter four (but just 189 hp) and is about 200 pounds lighter (2,750 lbs.) than the GTI still needs about 6.3 seconds to get to 60 and even if you go with the strongest Mini – the 228 hp JCW – it’s still the VW at the finish line first.

It’s an interesting disparity given the VW’s relatively modest rated output. Especially vs. the Ford, which has a much higher rated output. It is heavier. But – do the math. The Ford weighs 192 pounds more than the VW but that should be compensated for by the rated 32 additional hp its engine makes.

And probably does make.

But my bet is the VW’s engine makes more than its rated 220 hp.

This isn’t illegal – hey, you’d be getting more than you paid for. And it’s not uncommon. Car companies have been sucker-punching rival car companies this way for a long time.

Regardless of the true output of its engine, the GTI is very quick.

It is also more economical than the Focus ST: 24 city, 34 highway with the manual transmission vs. 22 city, 30 highway for the manual-only Ford. The VW even beats the Mini Cooper – which only manages 23 city, 32 highway.

Interestingly, gas mileage is best with the manual – as used to be the case generally – but is generally the opposite now, because of the efficiency advantages many modern automatics have vs. manuals, especially as far as shifting at exactly the right moment for maximum MPGs.

Not so here, though.

If you go with the optional DSG automatic, the GTI’s highway mileage dips slightly to 32 MPG – which is is still just as good as the manual-equipped Mini and better than the manual-equipped Ford.

And you get rev-matched downshifts.

Another interesting thing: The VW’s got the largest gas tank (13.2 gallons) and so, legs of the bunch (448.8 miles highway range). The Focus has a 12.4 gallon tank – and because t’s thirstier, it only goes 372 miles on the highway before sucking it needs a refill.

The Mini has the mini-est gas tank of them all, just 11.6 gallons. So even though it’s a gas-sipper, because there’s not much to sip, it’ll only go about as far on a fill-up as the Focus ST.

ON THE ROAD

It’d be interesting to line up the GTI against my high school friend’s ‘Vette.

Well, it’d be revelatory.

If the VW’s turbo four were about the same size as the V8 in my buddy’s Corvette, it’d be making in the neighborhood of 640 hp. That’s a measure of how much they’re squeezing out of little engines nowadays. And how little they were squeezing out of big engines back when I was in high school in the ’80s.

Squeeze, by the way, is just the right word.

The GTI’s turbo pumps as much as 30 psi of pressure into the little four. That’s a whole lot more air than a four barrel Quadrajet could suck down into my buddy’s 350.

You can watch the boost build by pushing the “car” button on the right-hand side of the 6.5 inch LCD display; this dials up a digital three-pack accessory gauge cluster, which also includes a lateral G meter to measure cornering forces.

But you’ll know by feel that this is a big boost engine. Hit it and the tires claw the asphalt like a bear trying to rip open a mummy bag full of sleeping camper. All the way through second gear, it’s a tussle for traction.

This thing does a better burnout than my friend’s ’78 Corvette.

Which is also a function of the torque it makes.

The L-82 350 in my buddy’s Corvette only made 260 ft.-lbs. and didn’t make it until the engine was spinning 3,000 RPM – more than halfway to its single exhaust-choked 5,500 RPM redline. The Instant On torque of the VW’s turbo four arrives at just 1,500 RPM – which is nowhere near its 6,700 RPM redline but very near idling speed.

Which means no waiting around for things to happen.

Modern turbocharged gas fours like the GTI’s use quick to roll “twin scroll” turbochargers that do not need a moment (or three) to gather breath and build up the boost – as used to be the case with turbocharged engines. The power – torque and horsepower – are just there, whenever you need them.

This is a little engine with a bigger engine’s bottom end and mid-range and the high-rpm sing that used to be the one thing a high-performance four did better than a high-performance six or eight.

Now you get all three things – plus the four’s economy car gas mileage.

If, of course, you can drive it like an economy car. Which is a rough assignment. Like going on an Eating Tour of Italy while trying to stick to your diet.

My test car had the four-setting (Comfort, Normal, Sport, Custom) adjustable suspension – which you can only get if you spring for the top-of-the-line Autobahn package. It’s a big jump from the base S and even the SE and Sport to the Autobahn version of the GT, but being able to instantly tailor the car’s ride quality from reasonable (Comfort and Normal settings) to rock-hard is not only nice, it’s something you can’t do in the Focus ST, which is a punishing car to live with as an everyday driver and which does not even offer the option of an adjustable suspension. The Ford’s seats are track-day-only too. They have about as much padding as a surfboard with a towel wrapped around it.

Probably that’s why the ST doesn’t sell nearly as well as the GTI – which is not only superior to it as a performance car, it’s also superior to it as an everyday car.

The same critique applies – though not to the same extent – as regards the Mini. It’s a very fun car, but it can’t match the the VW’s manners. Part of this is due to it being smaller, lighter and so, bouncier.

It’ll be interesting to see what Honda comes up with – but as of early spring, the GTI is still comfortably wearing the championship belt.

AT THE CURB

You can still see the Rabbit underneath all that Golf.

Actually, the Rabbit was a Golf – everywhere except the United States, where VW figured that “Rabbit” sounded more marketable.

And the GTI is a Golf with Goodies, most of them mechanical and not obvious – unlike the too-snarky-for-its-own-good Focus ST, which draws undesirable attention from cops like a guy with sniffles and white powder all around his nose.

But that’s subjective and you may see things differently.

What’s not debatable is the VW’s superior space-efficiency.

Even though it is a longer car – 171.7 inches vs. 168 inches for the GTI – the Ford’s back seat is not a friendly place, with only 33.2 inches of legroom vs. 35.6 in the GTI. Although both cars have about the same headroom in both rows, the VW’s taller/boxier profile and big car doors makes it seem like there’s more because you don’t have to duck as much to get in.

Both the Ford and the VW have about the same room for cargo behind their second rows – 23.8 cubic feet and 22.8 cubic feet, respectively – but the VW has a bit more total capacity: 52.7 cubic feet with the second row folded vs. 43.9 for the Focus.

The Mini Cooper comes up . . . mini on both counts: 13.1 cubic feet behind its second row and 40.7 cubic feet total, with its second row folded. In its defense though, the Mini is nearly a foot shorter overall (157.4 inches vs. 168 inches for the GTI) so it’s not really fair to criticize it for being a bit less roomy on the inside than the much larger on the outside GTI. For its size, it is very space-efficient.

But it’s a smaller car – so you have less space to work with.

THE REST

You might still be able to get a two-door GTI.

Though it’s been cancelled, a few 2017s were made – and VW still (as of late March) lists them as available. But it’s a rare bird and if you want to find one, you’re probably going to have accept some compromises as far as trim/equipment.

Assuming you can find one at all.

But they are – cueXFiles – out there . . .

The standard 6.5 inch touchscreen is on the smallish side (especially in the $34k-up Autobahn trims) but it’s among the easier-to-use units on the market and among its cool features, you can Bluetooth pair two devices at once and all trims get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. It also has a kind of gesture-control feature that recognizes hand waves and makes displays larger or smaller just by waving your hand at it.

If you spring for the Autobahn trim, you’ll get GPS, too.

The available Fender audio rig is top drawer; if you’re an audiophile, you will dig it. But the standard eight speaker is good, too.

Great three-stage seat heaters and – unusually, for a German car – better-than-decent accommodations for beverages, including oversize water bottle holders molded into the lower door panels. This is a much more coffee-friendly car than the $123,000 Mercedes AMG GKE 63 S I had last week!

Similarly (and contra the Benz) the USB port is located where it can be seen – and reached – ahead of the shifter, at the bottom of the center stack – and not hidden inside the center console storage cubby.

THE BOTTOM LINE

There’s no Quadrajet moan as the secondaries kick in – because there aren’t any secondaries. And no Qjet.

But 30 pounds of boost is a not-bad replacement for yesterday’s displacement!

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30 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve had a 2016 GTI Autobahn for about 6 months and 7,500 miles so far. I can shed a few more opinions to perhaps expand on your excellent review.

    1. The 0-60 time of the manual trans is slower than the DSG, but is tested to be in the 5.8-5.9 sec range, so it’s actually faster than you mention. The DSG will do it in about 5.5 sec. It also has launch control, which is part of the speed advantage over the manual.

    2. I think a better, more accurate comparison is between this GTI and the classic BMW M3 E36 we got in the US from around 1995-99. That car was rated at 240hp with a 0-60 of about 5.5-6 sec as well. The Euro version was much more powerful. It weighs about the same and came in 2-door and 4-door models. Having driven both, their road feel are surprisingly similar as well as the general Germanness of the things. The main difference, other than the obvious styling, is that the GTI is front wheel drive and the M3 was rear, thus superior. Under power, mid-corner, the M3 handled neutrally while the GTI will push wide a bit, though this is mitigated some by the fancy limited slip diff in the upper end models like the Autobahn. I’d bet they’d be pretty close on a track, though.

    To extend your comment further, EP, the Euro version of the GTI makes either 230hp or 240hp depending on trim level. However, the VW mechanics and experts can’t find any difference between the Euro and American tunes on their respective trim levels, so the suspicion is that the US 220hp is actually making 240hp. They have the same performance numbers in testing, too, reportedly.

    3. The car is imminently practical as a daily driver. It’s more than comfortable enough for a cross-country trip, with sufficient range to make that not too annoying. I’m 6’3″ and overweight and have no problem finding the seats comfortable. My only minor complaint is the dead pedal and my left foot don’t seem to cooperate well, possibly a knee position/footwell thing. I’m not sure. That’s not a problem for most folks, I suspect.

    VW now says you can run regular 87 octane gas in the GTI now, as of the 2016 model, though you’ll lose a few ponies and performance. No internal changes have been made to the engine or programming to accomplish this to anyone outside VW’s knowledge. You can also actually get 5 full-sized people in the thing. Three-across the back seat is perfectly doable as long as they’re under 200lbs or so, even with two 6’3″ guys in the front seats and not cramped. I can’t say this won’t put you over the rated weight capacity, though. The car handled it in my experience just fine. Plenty of power.

    3. The DSG is weird. This is my first, so I assume they’re all like this, and this is supposed to be one of the better ones (VW group having essentially invented the things years ago). When driving in stop-and-go traffic, it can be annoying. It helps a lot to put it into Sport shift mode. A DSG is actually a manual transmission that the computer shifts very quickly. It’s not like a traditional automatic at all. Thus there’s a clutch that has to be disengaged and engaged for every gear change. This means when you come to a complete stop, the DSG shifts to neutral. It waits until your foot is completely off the brake pedal before engaging first gear, so backing up/pulling forward in a parking lot is a bit delayed. You don’t have the normal automatic gearbox “crawl” forward that most folks are used to and you can’t manually feather the clutch like you can in a traditional manual trans. Lift foot off brake and there’s about a 1/2 second delay before you start moving forward. Thus the annoyance in stop-and-go traffic. There’s also a bit of a delay as the clutch engages when you’re trying to leave a stop light. It’s very slight, but noticeable. None of these are actually issues. Just notably different from what I was used to. And because of this, the transmission can occasionally get a bit confused when you’re shifting from reverse to drive (or vice versa) resulting in a hard shift or clunk.

    My guess is that the DSG will not be as reliable as a true manual or automatic would be, but it gives you gains in performance by cutting down on shift times as well as helping power delivery not drop off during shifts (the next higher gear is already engaged when accelerating and ready to be used).

    4. The Ford Focus ST has a piss poor reliability rating. The GTI is middle-of-the-road in this regard, but is vastly superior to the Ford’s track record (no pun intended). Add to it the better styling, more practical utility, vastly nicer interior, more mature appeal, and better performance and it’s a slam dunk win for the GTI, no question.

    5. Though the Autobahn starts at about $35k and can top out around $37k, you can easily find these things for $3-5k off, and I got mine for $8k off sticker. It’s not as great a deal at $35k when you can get the Golf R for about $40k, but those don’t have any markdowns on them right now and are highly sought after, even at a few thousand over MSRP. You can find the entry-level GTI trim (the S) pretty commonly for about $21k. At that point it’s almost a no-brainer.

    The Golf R is a nice car, but at that price there are nicer/better choices unless you’re just after the look of a hot hatch. You’re getting into Mustang/Camaro territory there, which is a different type of car entirely, but more traditionally sports car/performance.

    6. The EPA rating is low for this engine. I tend to average around 25-26mpg in town with, let’s say, “spirited” driving. I’ve never seen less than 24mpg. On the highway, I’ve taken several multi-hour trips and always get more than 32mpg (its EPA rating) and tend to average 35-36mpg highway at 70mph or more speed limits. I’ve seen nearly 40mpg for 200-300 mile stretches when running two-lane twisty blacktop highways through the Ozarks and Ouachita mountains of Arkansas. It helps to keep a smooth foot on the pedal and maintain momentum, but I was making good time as well as having fun.

    7. These have a resonator/noise maker mounted to the firewall to generate fake engine noise in the cabin. When in “comfort” mode, the rattle box is kept relatively quiet, but it’s always on and making noise. In “sport” mode, you get full volume. You can switch it to the quieter mode in “custom” but you cannot turn it off. I have no real idea why manufacturers do this (BMW has been doing so for years), but it’s annoying.

    8. These are relatively stealthy. They are an econobox, though granted, a nice looking econobox. They don’t make a whole lot of noise visually or audibly (outside of the cabin), and require a sharper-than-usual eye to spot the dual exhaust and the red strips in the grill or the alternate fog lights. The stance is a bit lower/different as well. Most folks, including cops, won’t spot this, and I even have a hard time myself, in some cases, differentiating between a GTI and a regular Golf unless I’m within a couple of car lengths, depending on the viewing angle.

    9. If you wish to drop the money, you can get a Stage 1 computer tune on these that will boost the power, without changing any internals/parts, to 280+ hp or more. I don’t recommend pumping that much power through the front wheels alone, but it can be done if so desired. Stage 2 and Stage 3 setups require some bolt-on parts or more involved work but can make the little 2.0 L turbo put out some incredible power.

    10. I have grave concerns about the long-term reliability of the current GTI (or any hot hatch). My main issue is that they are all, to my knowledge, direct injection engines and have turbochargers on them. This means the gasoline is injected directly into the cylinder, not upstream of the intake valves. Therefore none of the cleaning/detergents in the gasoline get to work on the back side of the intake valves. This leads to carbon buildup and there’s no way to clean that off short of disassembling the engine. Ford has been struggling with this in their new F150 turbo V6 engines the past few years, as the carbon buildup becomes problematic around 80k miles or more (read: out of warranty), and the Ford recommended “repair” is a complete replacement of the top end of the engine (read: many thousand dollars) which will need to be repeated every 80-100k miles.

    Not all, or even most, of them are having this problem badly enough to need that kind of repair, but in the quest for ever better fuel economy and performance, the era of 300k mile engines may have come and gone. You see tons of older VW GTIs on the roads, but I’m afraid the new ones won’t be around in another 10 years. Why spend thousands of dollars to repair an econobox worth less than the cost of repairs? Though VW seems to have less of a problem with DI engine carbon buildup than most, it’s still likely a future issue to be aware of. Plus, carbon flaking off the intake valve and hitting the turbine blades of the turbo will kill the turbo.

    In a few months we’ll have the next Honda Civic SI for sale. It looks like it will have less horsepower, and probably less performance, but ought to still be quite a bit of fun and hopefully reliable. We are also going to get the Civic Type R, which will be bonkers powerful. Otherwise, the Subaru WRX and Focus ST are the only two competitors around right now, and the VW is far more civilized than either of them and for a street price considerably less.

    Cheap, practical fun? I’ll take it. Even if I only keep it until the warranty expires.

    • Thanks for the kind words – and extensive feedback, SJ!

      I’m with you on the DI/turbo thing. This is likely going to become an industry-wide problem as DI/turbos become more common and the miles accrue.

      On the Civic Si – they’re going with a turbo, too. It’s the 1.5 liter engine, tuned to 205 hp. Not as revvy as before, but more torque on the lower end. I should be getting one to drive soon…

      • Eric, Shouldn’t Sojourner get some kind of award for one of THE best and most thorough on-topic and helpful comments of all time?! 🙂

        Yeah, the DI/trurbo [and DSG] things = planned obsolescence. And that’s in addition to all of the other overly-complex and relatively delicate electrical/electronic and mechanical (VCT, VVT….) boondoggles which mean that very very soon there is going to be no such thing as a viable older used car- and the good old really old ones that are left, will be priced as astronomical “classics” [it’s practically that way already] if not out-lawed entirely.

  2. I’m old enough to be looking at retirement and carry the accumulated weight of those years. I have almost 65K Miles on my 2014 ST and drive 60 miles a day in DFW.
    The ST has some serious but not deal killing flaws. Visability is horrendous. The turning circle is on par with an aircraft carrier. (It might even be worse.)
    However, the reliability has been far, far superior to any of the four Volkswagons in my past. When considering transaction prices and reliability…..I’d love to buy a VW, but the ST has been utterly reliable and significantly less expensive to purchase and maintain.

    • Thanks for the input, JC…

      On my end, being 6ft 3, the ST was too tight a fit and (having not much padding) it was really hard on my rear end. A very fun car, when going at it… but the rest of the time… that GTI was a much friendlier companion!

      • I’m 6’1″ and 260 lbs and pushing 60. I’m okay with the drawbacks. My last GTI had a Mean Time Between Failure of 44 hours. Coupled with a non-responsive dealer? So long VW!

    • > the reliability has been far, far superior to any of the four Volkswagons in my past.<

      It's funny: You don't see many 10 year-old Vw's running around….but you see more 50 year-old VW's, from back in the days when they were simple air-cooled hippie-mobiles. A perfect illustration of how needless technology and over-complication is revgressive, rather than progressive.

      Ever talk to a VW mechanic? It's like VW's are in a world of their own- they require all of these special tools and techniques, and a good deal of knowledge specific only to Vw's, much more so than any other mass-market common car. A VW mechanic can pretty much easily transition to being an any-other-brand mechanic; but a mechanic coming from any other brand is like a babe in the woods when it comes to being a VW mechanic. And that is NOT a good thing for lower-end cars- I mean, someone might find that acceptable if they were buying a BMW or Benz, or a Lambo- but needing an expensive specialty shop or dealership service department for a lousy 20-something-thousand dollar, and even when the car is old, is kind ridiculous for a cheap car that is not a status symbol nor intended for the rich or a niche market- which I guess is why we see so few older VW's around- they're just to expensive to fix once out of warranty, even more so than the average modern car. Who's gonna go to the stealership or Kraut specialty repair place and pay a couple of grand for minor repairs/service on a car that might be worth $4K?

    • Hi John,

      I agree the Focus is a fun car – but I’m curious, how old are you? I ask because the one I spent a week in last year was rough. And I’m used to track day cars, dig performance cars. But that thing was a hardtail hog on four wheels that left my ass as sore as Ned Beatty’s after his date with the Mountain Man…

  3. Unfortunately, this Golf (as are nearly all VAG products) is built on the MQB chassis which is cost effective and lighter but is burdened by an Electronic Handbrake. Having had an Audi for two years with one of these things, I hated it every time I drove the car. Nearly impossible to drive up onto ramps, the Hillhold feature caused me to ride the clutch when starting on a grade and, after reading about these brakes not releasing, I was afraid to use it at Stoplights. I will never buy another VW, Audi or Porsche with an Electric Parking Brake.

    • Hi Doug,

      I’m with you on this; unfortunately, like touchscreens and “safety” systems, e-brakes are becoming common and I expect them to become ubiquitous.

  4. The premium fuel killed it for me when I was in the market. I am a cheap SOB. I know i’d fill in with regular.

    Though according to ford. Filling its ST with regular would not affect the torque iirc.

    • Hi C_lover,

      I’ve experimented using regular in these cars and the difference in performance/MPG is usually very slight and not noticeable just driving around. It is noticeable if you’re more than just driving around, but in that case – run premium!

  5. Have you driven the Golf R? It’s actually quite fun, if you can get over the understeer-prone front wheel drive bias.

  6. Eric, I’m TRYING to stop commenting on your reviews- I know you don’t me being a “downer”….but I can’t contain myself!

    $36K for this ugly little box?!!!! WTH? Before reading the review, I was thinking to myself that these things go for maybe low 20’s, and are overpriced at that!

    • Hi Nunzio,

      I’m fine with your comments, Nunzio! This isn’t a cheeleading chorus… The base trim is about $25k. The $36k has the adaptive suspension and pretty much every other option – and even so, it still costs less in real dollars than a ’79 Corvette did, which I thought was interesting.

      • Thanks, Eric.

        That is interesting about the price being equal to the old Vettes. I’m not really a Vette fan, and yeah, this Fartfignewton-wagon could probably out-class that Vette (while carrying more people, and even some cargo!)….but given the choice, I think I’d rather have the Vette if we could still get ’em for an equal price.

        I mean, no matter what the VW can do, it’s “just a VW”….but a Vette…. [As the “Fonz” would say] “AYyyy!!!”. 😀

        And heck, that ’79 Vette has appreciated in value (O-K, a ’79? barely…) but how many 40 year-o;d V-Dubs do you see running around, much less appreciating?

          • Ah well, Eric, ya see, I just love progress! (Unfortunately, the over-complicating and computerizing of simple mechanical mechanisms isn’t progress, it’s regress. So those old Vettes were in actuality far more advanced than today’s vehicles, because they actually did what they were designed to do in a pretty efficient and cost-effective manner [well, before Uncle hobbled them, anway…] and they could even last for 40 or 50 years without becoming obsolete or bankrupting their owners. Now THAT’S progress! 🙂 )

            I mean, “progress” is pulling a lever which tensions a cable, which actuates a simple brake mechanism. Needing computers and sensors and wires and switches to accomplish that simple task is….insanity!

            • Hi Nunzio,

              Yup – and there’s this: That L-82 in the Corvette was barely tapped potential; that potential easily and cheaply accessed. A simple (and cheap) cam swap, for example, could push the hp from the factory 220 more than 300. Adjust timing, re-jet the carb. Add some headers, etc. All simple and fairly cheap. Easy to get 400 hp out of a small block V8, on a teenager’s budget and with a teenager’s tool box, too.

              I know it’s doable, because I did it when I was teenager.

              • Ah, man! I even forgot that the ’79’s were still carbureted! Even better! And like you aid, it could all be done on the cheap, and by yourself! Unlike today’s vehicle, where every little mod affects everything else, and costs a fortune and requires messing with the car’s brain )computer).

                I used to think of Vettes as sports cars for white trash who won the lottery or sued somebody- but they’ve been looking better and better as the years go by (Ditto Camaros & T/A’s)-And the one time I drove an ’84 Vette (My favorite style) I have to say I was impressed when I stepped on the gas, even just a little! (Had a chance to buy it really cheap back in the90’s, ’cause it was a cosmetic mess- I could’ve lived with that, but I passed, ’cause I knew I’d get in a whole lot of trouble and needless expense [via Uncle] if I had gotten it!)

              • that and rip out the factory exhaust, and put in something bigger so the engine could breathe. Cars of the 70’s and 80’s were always suffocated (thank you very little, EPA) by too small systems.

                • Or at least get rid of the catholic[sic] converter! (Gotta be careful with the exhaust- get rid of too much back-pressure, and you’ll burn the valves. That’s it was so common to see the old modded cars that had headers and free-flowing exhausts always popping and spitting….before they’d start lsoing compression in the cylinders one by one. Having a real funky cam didn’t help matters either….

                  • Morning, Nunzio!

                    I’ve had the Trans-Am since the early ’90s and used to – back then – have to pass smog up in Northern Va. I found that the wrap-around heat shields from a pair of generic cats wrapped around the pipes looked awfully authentic unless you really looked close… and always passed, no fuss, no muss!

                    • s taken away!

                      Just shows ya what BS those inspections are, too- the fact that they couldn’t even tell by what was coming out of the tailpipe, that you had made any “mods”.

                • Hi Rich,

                  Yes, absolutely!

                  Significant gains – you noticed immediately – could be achieved this way. My ’76 TA, for instance. It was originally equipped (like all ’75-’81 TAs) with a “Y” pipe exhaust. Each manifold fed into a single pipe and single, incredibly restrictive pellet-style converter, then divided into a dual-outlet pipe at each corner of the year.

                  It literally choked the car.

                  The ’76 455 V8 was basically identical to the base 455 in the ’74 Trans-Am, yet the ’74 made 250 hp while the ’76 was down to just 200. Chief reason? The ’74 still had a full dual exhaust with no cats.

                  Go one step farther. Replace the factory shit manifolds with headers (or, better, Pontiac’s factory cast-iron Ram Air manifolds, which flowed almost as well as headers) and a good/free-flowing dual exhaust with no cats… and that plus some carb/ignition tuning would transform that ’76 455 (or the later, ’77-79 400). Easy 50-75 hp gain without opening up the engine.

                  Most of this was free, too – or nearly so. You were removing stuff – and exhaust tubing is cheap!

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