Her + His Car Reviews

2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI 2.0T Autobahn

Our car reviews are innovative and interesting as we provide insightful and expert reviews from both Her + His perspectives.

Her: Anne Fleming, Car Buying Advocate, women-drivers.com
His: Don Hammonds, Writer, AutomobileJournal.com 

$38,215 Price as tested: $38,215
The 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI 2.0 Autobahn is a winner with the powerful powertrain and exceptional handing making this a top of the line in its class. The GTI remains one of our all-time favorites to ride, as its simply fun. This test drive was not a manual but the paddle shifters performance feature added a different dimension altogether. It grips the road well and its turbocharged engine puts out 228 horsepower provides a lot of energy for the back roads, on roads and any surface. 7-speed automatic DSG Automatic with Tiptronic® provides plenty of get up and go. Absolutely top notch. The GTI Autobahn's only serious competition in terms of handling, acceleration and braking in the compact sedan segment are the Honda Civic sports model and Subaru's WRX. The GTI's ace is that you get all that bravado and acceleration without a back breaking ride, harsh performance on uneven, potholed streets and roads, due in part to an adaptive suspension system option which my test model had. Braking is excellent without the grabbing and head bobbing you get on overly sensitive braking. Not a problem here.
Fuel Economy
24 city miles, 32 highway miles and 27 combined highway miles. The GTI Autobahn gets 27 miles per gallon overall, 24 city and 32 highway, Yu will spend about $1500 annually for gasoline, based on 15,000 miles of driving with $2.70 a gallon gasoline.
The Car
This compact continues to inspire and be a winner in its class. Its appeal is universal. Starting out with the turbocharged engine with plenty of get up and go and acceleration, we like how it separates itself from others with remarkable set of horsepower. Equal to that, the GTI, has plenty of seating and cargo capacity for a compact. The interior has a more stately positioned interior look compared to its rivals.

New features for this year include Forward Collision Warning, Emergency Braking, Wi-Fi Hot Spot, as well as Blind Spot Monitoring.

Like all Volkswagen's, the Golf GTI has an infotainment system that is intuitive and easy to use. For several year now, both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are integrated. Spare included.

Ample packing room behind rear seats with just under 23 cubic feet -- 22.8 cubic feet, to be exact. When the 60/40 rear seats are folded, the car transforms into 52.7 cubic feet of packing room. Plenty.

In a year of a pandemic, which no one could foresee, VW executives did something remarkable. They designed a "take away." While the MSRP of this vehicle has always been higher than the competition, instead of adding value, they changed the warranty. What were they thinking? The warranty used to be 6 years/72,000 miles and now it is 4 years/50,000 miles - quite an extraordinary detriment and change. Buyers be advised.
I consider Volkswagen Golf's in general and Volkswagen Golf GTI's in particular to be the black tie and tails members of the compact segment. Though they are priced a bit more than other compacts, you get plenty for the extra bucks you spent.

There is absolutely nothing about this car that says "cheap," despite a modest cost. It has plenty of room in back and front for everyone, and all the controls are just where you expect them to be. There is no confusion, and there truly isn't a cheap looking bit of trim or seat material anywhere. The GTI has one classy, well and tastefully trimmed interior, too.

For 2020, VW gave GTI models eight more horsepower, bringing it to 228 horsepower, and there's a new seven speed automatic that replaces a six speed unit, and you will find a wider variety of driver assistance items available to you as long as some new trim levels. By the way, upgraded brakes and limited-slip differential are standard for the GTI.

I also deeply respect Volkswagen's devotion to maintaining a sense of continuity with styling and looks throughout the generations. There's a definite sense of heritage and class here with the GTI Autobahn.
Advanced Air Bags Protection, Anti-lock Braking System and Disc Brakes, Front & Rear Parking Sensors, Parallel, Lane Keep Assist, Perpendicular Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control. Intelligent Crash Response. Tire pressure Monitoring System. Performance Monitor. Parking Steering Assist. High Beam Assist.

Roadside Assistance Warranty is 3 years/36,000 includes towing, jump start, changing tires.
It's all there as standard equipment: Anti lock rakes, anti slip regulation, electronic brake pressure distribution, electronic differential lock, the usual air bags and safety belts, and even more if you are willing to pay for some very nice driver assistance features.
There is much to talk about in the loaded Golf GTI Autobahn. Volkswagen's Car-Net App Connect incorporates connectivity of a Wi-fi hot spot, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink. Great for starters. USB port and Bluetooth. Satellite Radio, Fender® Premium Audio System with Subwoofer.

The navigation and 8" touchscreen is super crisp, all within easy reach and use for driver. We really like infotainment set up and big screen. 18" Alloy Wheels look super sharp. Sunroof, Dual-zone climate control, Proximity Keyless Entry, Push-Button Start.

Forward Collision Warning, Rearview Camera System, Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Monitoring, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Adaptive Cruise Control. Ambient Lighting.
You can get the GTI in four versions, S, Rabbit, SE, and Autobahn. No matter what version you choose, every GTI has front-wheel-drive and use a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine putting out 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. You can get either a six-speed manual or a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The S model's rather lavish standard equipment includes 18" alloy wheels (with all-season tires), a limited-slip front differential, LED fog lights, heated mirrors, automatic wipers, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, ambient interior lighting, and a 60/40-split folding rear seats with a center pass-through.

Technology features include a 6.5-inch touchscreen display, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, and a six-speaker sound system. Forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are available as part of the optional Driver Assistance package.

Car makers generally don't like any big gaps in their pricing, and Volkswagen is no different. They have introduced a limited edition model called the Rabbit (an old name once used on all compact VWs). It's designed to augment the S trim with special exterior color choices, adaptive LED headlights, black 18-inch wheels, a black spoiler and mirror caps, Rabbit badging, keyless entry with push-button ignition, and the contents of the Driver Assistance package.

If you decide to go with the even better equipped SE model, your standard equipment will include a sunroof, leather seats, an 8-inch touchscreen display, and VW Car-Net Security and Service connected services. The SE's Experience package adds adaptive suspension dampers (Dynamic Chassis Control) and an upgraded eight-speaker Fender sound system.

And that brings us to the fabulous top of the line model that we tested--the Autobahn.

The Autobahn comes equipped with additional standard goodies like adaptive suspension and Fender sound system, which by the way, sounds terrific--plus automatic high beams, a power-adjustable driver seat, dual-zone climate control, a navigation system and a frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror. You also get more safety features, including adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors with Maneuver Braking (which automatically applies the brakes if a collision with nearby objects seems likely), a self-parking system, and a lane keeping assist system.
Aesthetics & Styling
Volkswagen has done an exemplary job of keeping true to form with the Golf GTI. It is a powerful and athletic vehicle, always delivers a continuity of appearance and comfort creatures. The exterior is beasty and the inside has smart, comfortable seats. What we like best about the GTI is consistency. There are no huge variances in design, looks or features year in. with exception of our disappointment to the warranty. Nonetheless, VW understands this customer and adds value with nuances to keep the driver and passengers engaged in the experience of the machine. I'm a sucker for maintaining automotive heritage and tradition as you go along and update things, and that's exactly what VW did with the Golf GTI. It maintains that suave, understated muscular look it's had for years, and added goodies like touches of red stripes inside and out, and some classy looking wheels. And as I said earlier, the interior is definitely top drawer.
New Vehicle warranty 4 years/50,000 miles. Roadside Assistance Warranty is 3 years/36,000. Carefree Maintenance is 2 years/20,000 miles The warranty on the GTI is, as is the case with all VW models, a four year, 50,000 mile warranty.