While its Golf companion undergoes a name change for 2010, VW's GTI stays pretty much the same for the new model year. Aside from the sheetmetal changes that accompany the new Golf lineup, the GTI retains its entertaining handling, sweet turbocharged engine, available dual-clutch transmission, and a choice of three- and five-door hatchback body styles. The new GTI carries a base price of $23,290, and competes against the Honda Civic Si, MazdaSpeed3, and MINI Cooper.
TheCarConnection sees the 2010 Volkswagen GTI as more of the same when it comes to styling. The new hatchbacks share the same basic styling as the lesser Golf-which is to say, upright and a little dowdy, compared to the likes of the Mazdaspeed3, though the three-door is the less frumpy of the pair. The GTI-ness is all in the details; the new wider grille gets a black honeycomb texture and a new badge, along with the traditional red-stripe outline. Black side skirts, new tail lamps, and a body-color hatchback-mounted spoiler hint at the performance under the newly creased hood. Other car reviews feel more strongly about the GTI's crisper lines; Automobile thinks "design deity Walter de'Silva...has secured his sainthood with the makeover he's given the Golf." LeftLane News detects a "hipster vibe" in the new GTI, while Motor Trend points out that the GTI's "dimensions are virtually unchanged, though all the sheetmetal below the daylight opening is new and slightly more angular." MSN Autos calls the GTI's shape "quite familiar," though "most major body panels are changed." They like its "striking" new front end and its "large VW badge dead center and red accent lines." It's not all accolades; LeftLane News says "the appearance below the bumper takes on more of a ‘mouth-breather' look." While TheCarConnection.com's editors feel more positive toward the three-door GTI, we agree with Automotive.com's assessment of the former Rabbit: "the five-door can't help but look a bit more utilitarian than the three-door. It's still undeniably sleek and handsome, but it surrenders some of the three-door's youthful chic."
Inside the GTI, there are traditional plaid seats, a flat-bottomed three-spoke steering wheel in leather and aluminum with red stitching, and tidy GTI badges sprinkled around the cabin and on the deeply sculpted sport seats. The interior is cleaned up for the new model year, while a big LCD screen dominates the center stack and controls a new audio setup. VW's distinct preference for high-quality interiors is evident here, with lots of richly textured plastic and soft-touch surfaces. As Motor Trend observes, "Interior trim is mostly subdued, but there are some nice chrome accents on the dash and gauges as well as some unique material on the seats." MSN Autos confirms TheCarConnection's stance that "the instrument panel's soft-touch, matte, finely textured surface ranks with the best," and the sport steering wheel's "shape and texture" are "just about perfect."