Hot hatches have never gone away, but have been in the shadows with all the sporty V-8s and V-6s that have been grabbing headlines. With the panic of gas prices hitting $4 (thankfully back down for now) and the ever deepening recession, buyers have started paying attention to the less expensive cars again. And for those that want a reasonably priced car and be able to actually enjoy their drive there is the hot hatch.
Since the last major recession in the U.S. we have seen 5 iterations of this formula from Volkswagen in the GTI and now as recession grips us again we have the 6th. Volkswagen released details on the sixth-gen VW GTI recently, and it looks like the car is headed for a U.S. release by the middle of 2010.
The new GTI follows the look introduced elsewhere in the Scirocco with the wide, narrow black grille between the projector headlamps and has lines that make the GTI look like it spent a few hard nights in the gym to tone up and lose a few pounds.
The interior is evolutionary from the standard VW fare which is to say, a very comfortable and stylish place to spend time. The plaid seating remains and the slightly less attractive but more buttony steering wheel retains its flat-bottomed racer look.
2010 Volkswagen GTI interiorEnlarge Photo
The 2010 Volkswagen GTI does have more competition this time than it did when the 5th version or Mark 5 came to our shores with the FAST mascot unpimping our autos. Bumped up slightly to 210 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque, the drivetrain isn't much of an improvement but it doesn't hurt. This one also turns down the bling and boy racer looks of the previous model just enough to make it not look like a kid's car while still retaining that very solid look and feel.
The new GTI should start hitting lots next fall and if the economy continues to do what it has started you can expect pretty good pricing as well as low APR financing shortly after launch.