First month driving report: 2012 VW GTI

Long time readers of the blog may be surprised to learn that, when it was time to purchase a new car, I got a new Volkswagen GTI. After all, I had a very poor experience with my 2003 Passat, which even before I drove it off the lot suffered from a broken windshield wiper and later experienced several ignition coil failures while I was driving.

But the company has come a long way in the last ten years, and I’ve been very pleased with the month (and about 1500 miles) I’ve spent behind the wheel of my new GTI. Specific notes:

  • I’m too grandfatherly a driver to really appreciate how fast this thing can get off the line, but it definitely comes in handy when you’re trying to merge.
  • I haven’t really tried “launch control” — the feature that lets you go from 0 – 60 in less than 7 seconds — but it looks like fun.
  • The car is pretty comfortable. I spent sixteen hours in it this past weekend and was less fatigued and sore than after shorter drives in my Passat.
  • Mileage is acceptable. I posted 30.9 MPG driving from DC to Boston in light Sunday traffic, and a lower 28.9 MPG in summer Saturday driving on the way down. In town I regularly get better than 25MPG between my house and my office.
  • I love the convenience of integrated Bluetooth in the audio stack. It’s perfect for phone. However…
  • …integrated Bluetooth for audio has some problems. Due either to a GTI bug or to my iPhone 4s, I usually only get one audio channel. So if I’m in the car for any length of time I plug it into the dock connector instead.
  • Cargo room is pretty good for my needs. I remember my 1996 Golf being more spacious, but that’s probably just because I drove that car before I drove the Passat with its more capacious trunk. As long as I’m not taking a family of four on a long trip it’s just fine.

So yeah, I’m kind of glad I gave Volkswagen another chance. So far it’s paying off well.

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