GTI, AWESOME car in its price range
By Acid666 on Tuesday, March 01, 2016
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000
overall rating 9 of 10rating details
- Overall Rating
Pros: "Handling, power, style all in a small package"
Cons: "Crammed engine can be tough to work on"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I own an '08 MKV GTI and am in the process of cleaning it up to sell it. This process is bringing up memories of buying this car new and slowly doing things to it to make it mine. This car was one of the top 10 cars of the year when the MKV popped up. The new 2.0L motor is great. I got it because I wanted a hatchback, and I wanted something fun and sporty that was great on gas. I find that the GTI is a great mix of everything. It's very well built, the motor is very responsive and a great base for building a fun track-able car, and it looked great. I was in the market for something cheaper than an STI, and with more power than a Civic/Mini. So I was in that lower 20 thousand dollar range... I ultimately settled on my GTI.
If you intend on buying any GTI, I'd highly recommend getting a tune for it. I bought my GTI partially because of the numbers it put down after a tune. Stock it's 207hp/200ftlbs. A simple APR Stage 1 tune will put you at 250hp/300ftlbs with a pretty linear power curve. For about $600 you can get a stage 1 tune and it turns this car from a 15 second car to a 14 second car. It's a world of difference that's WELL worth the money. Intake is pretty cheap as well and really opens up the turbo sound. It's not an annoying whistle, more of a nice "Woooosh" when you get on the gas.
Suspension is great on it. I have a set of coil overs on mine, and an APR rear sway bar on the highest setting (200% stiffness). It rides on rails after this and is really fun.
Fuel consumption is great. With the real time gas mileage in the cluster you really learn to alter your driving habits to get the most out of each tank of gas. My silverado has the average gas mileage which is nice, but the GTI has average and real time which I like.
The space in the hatch is awesome. I got the GTI with the idea that I could haul all of my bass gear in it. I've shoved so much stuff in there with the seats down that it kind of surprised me. The rear passenger area is fairly decent for leg room as well. I've asked people sitting in the back if they were comfortable and I've never heard any complaints.
I'd say some of the down sides to this car are with the 2 door model like mine, the doors open VERY wide. They're very long doors and they open to nearly 85°.
And working on the engine can be a major pain depending on the work. I recently changed my thermostat and literally put in about 10 hours to get it done. It's crammed SOOO far behind the intake manifold and has hoses attached tightly to it that it makes it difficult to 1) reach, and 2) remove. I'm pushing 85K miles, so the timing belt and water pump are the next things that need to go. After I replaced my thermostat (over the course of several weekends) it started to leak. I put the car aside for another few weeks because digging into the motor and removing ALL of those parts again just made me not want to do it again for a while. So I finally got around to doing it and found that I pinched the thermostat O-ring. Replaced it, got it all back together, did some other maintenance like oil and fuel filter..... And this thing is fun again. All that work was so worth it.
I've been detailing it and cleaning it up for a trade in for a C5 Z06 Vette. I want something to track and older Vettes are very under valued right now in the market. Otherwise I'd keep this car. As I drive this thing around again, I'm realizing how great of a car this is. With a simple stage 1 tune, this thing is the perfect balance of power and handling. It rides on rails and I can take a 90° turn and FLOOR this thing and it'll handle it all. It won't go out of control and put you in a ditch. This could partially be because I put a dogbone spacer in the engine mount that eats a lot of the wheel spin.
I have the DSG transmission in mine. It was also one of the reasons I got the car. The transmission was fairly new but I've read that there was no leg between gears. It's exactly that. I can have this thing redlined and then shift and you barely even know that you've gone into another gear. The downshifts on the other hand are rough. They're probably the most complained about thing on the car. That and it can take up to a couple of seconds to engage once you go into manual mode, drop a gear and then floor it. There's been times when I've done that and literally waited 2-3 seconds for it to happen. But once your actually IN manual mode it's pretty consistently fast. I love the DSG for the simple fact that I can drop 1-3 gears really quick to pass someone and then shove it right back into drive. That way I'm not in drive flooring it all the time. A simple gear drop with some light throttle and this thing pulls. The paddle shifters, meh, I'm not a fan of them. There's just something awkward about holding your hands at 9 and 3 and driving like that just to paddle shift. It's so much more comfortable to have a hand on the stick. The paddles do occasionally come in handy for a gear shift. If you drop a gear with the paddles while it's in drive, it'll drop that gear and stay in manual mode for about 10 seconds and then go back into drive. It's got its uses but I rarely needed it."
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