Saturday, 22 June 2024

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI: A hot hatch with personality, plenty of get-up-and-go Featured

Posted On Saturday, 16 July 2022 23:25 Written by
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The redesigned 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI gets an attractive redesign The redesigned 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI gets an attractive redesign Photo by Matt Myftiu/

Volkswagen’s wee but consistently-lauded Golf has long been a favorite of driving enthusiasts — a vehicle focused on providing a truly joyous driving experience to enthusiasts who appreciate what a vehicle can do and don’t want to shell out luxury-level bucks to get that ride quality.

This vehicle helped bring about the “hot hatch” category that is both performance focused while attempting to retain some level of practicality. It faces stiff competition from Hyundai, Honda, Subaru and MINI hatchback models, but has always been a standout in the category.

Returning for 2022, the Golf GTI debuts the 8th generation of this popular and sporty ride, boosting performance and retooling some physical elements of the car’s design and tech setup.

I recently spent some time in a 2022 VW Golf GTI, and I’m back with a full report on how well it holds up in the realm of hot hatches.


The unique design of the 2022 Golf GTI is instantly recognizable to car lovers, and my test vehicle featured a beautiful metallic yellow paint scheme along with an attractive redesign on the front end.

Consistent with Volkswagen tradition, the Golf GTI is not styled as flashy as some of the hot hatch competitors, but offers a sharp design that is pleasing to the eye.

Exterior features on my test vehicle included: 19-inch alloy wheels, LED lights, heated and foldable power adjustable side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, and a panoramic moonroof.

The vehicle measures at 168.8 inches long, 58.2 inches tall and has a curb weight of 3,154 pounds.

Moving inside the 2022 Golf GTI, you’ll find a redesigned interior with comfortable seating up front for driver and passenger, but the rear seats are quite tight. Limited rear space is a reality that applies to most vehicles in the hot hatch segment. On the positive side, cargo space is decent for the segment.

Nearly everything inside the Golf GTi — even the controls for moonroof and some steering wheel controls — feature some sort of touch controls instead of traditional buttons or dials. More on that later, but suffice it to say VW went a bit overboard with this approach, which is often frustrating to use, especially for climate controls.

Interior features include Vienna leather seating surfaces, leather-wrapped GTI sport steering wheel with paddle shifters, heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated driver and front passenger seats, 60/40 folding rear seats with center armrest, heated rear seats, unique red accents, USB charging ports in both rows, and multi-color adjustable ambient lighting, Add all this up and you get a high-class vehicle but not one that shoves it in your face. It’s more subtle.


For 2022, the lone engine option in the Golf GTI is a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder offering featuring 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Both these numbers offer respectable bumps from the previous model — and the 2022 edition is both more lightweight and more speedy than in the past.

An optional adaptive suspension upgrade and standard limited-slip differential improve the ride further. But please note that you’ll need to get the top Autobahn trim to get the adaptive suspension.

All Golf GTI models feature front-wheel drive, and fans of the “Save the Manuals” movement will be happy to hear that a six-speed manual transmission is standard on the Golf GTI, with an option to upgrade to a seven-speed automatic transmission.

I had an automatic version, and I truly loved driving the Golf each day. Handling, braking, power and speed all deliver and make for a brilliant, fun and sporty ride whether you use the auto transmission or the paddle shifters.

Whether navigating tight city streets, or letting the Golf GTI spread its wings on the highway or a windy road, it’s a thrill ride through and through.

Zero-to-60 speeds do not disappoint, coming in under 6 seconds.


Technology is one area where the 2022 Golf GTI fails to deliver a satisfying experience.

To put it bluntly, the Golf GTI’s infotainment system — centered on a 10-inch screen — is quite frustrating to use, and not very well-designed compared to rivals’ systems. There are too many unnecessary touch elements in this vehicle where traditional knobs and controls would have provided a better experience for the user.
The system needs to be updated on future models, as it is a legitimate reason that some people may be drawn toward competing vehicles over the Golf GTI.

One positive is that you can use Android Auto or Apple CarPlay for phone mirroring, and I mostly used this setup vs. working with the vehicle’s standard interface on the tech system. And I did find voice commands to be much more reliable and responsive than touch controls, so that is another option to ease the burden of the touchscreen controls.

The Harman Kardon audio system includes a subwoofer and offers impressive sound, and wireless phone charging is also offered. Satellite radio is included with a three-month trial subscription, and USB-C ports are included.

Moving on to safety features, the Golf GTI has more features than I expected from this type of performance-focused vehicle.

Six airbags are included, and other safety features include:
— Electronic Stability Control
— Intelligent Crash Response System 
— Automatic Post-Collision Braking System
— LATCH system for child seats
— Tire Pressure Monitoring System
— Rear View Camera System 
— Park Assist
— Dynamic Road Sign Display

Volkswagen’s IQ Drive package features advanced tech including: 

— Travel Assist (semi-automated driving assistance)
— Adaptive Cruise Control
— Lane Keeping System
— Forward Collision Warning & Autonomous Emergency Braking, with Pedestrian & Cyclist Monitoring)
— Blind Spot Monitor
— Rear Traffic Alert 

The available Head-Up Display is helpful for things like speed limit notifications, and what’s somewhat unique here is features such as adaptive cruise control are even available to those who choose the Golf GTI’s manual transmission.


The official fuel economy numbers on the Golf GTi I tested were 25 city/34 highway/28 combined. In real world testing, I averaged 23 mpg in real-world testing.

These are strong numbers for a performance-oriented vehicle like the Golf GTI.


The 2022 Golf GTI Autobahn trim level I tested was priced a hair over $40,000; and the base price starts about $31K. The SE trim level splits the difference and starts around $35K.

These numbers make the Golf GTI one of the more expensive hot hatch options, but that’s consistent with the high level of performance the vehicle offers compared to rivals.

If you like the Golf GTI but want to keep a few more dollars in your pocket, stick with the base model and skip some of the bells and whistles you’ll get by upgrading to higher trim levels.

VW’s new vehicle warranty covers 4 years/50,000 miles, including coverage for powertrain components. There is also a warranty against corrosion perforation for 7 years/100,000 miles. Maintenance is covered for 2 years/20,000 miles, and you get 24-hour roadside assistance for 3 years//36,000 miles.


The redesigned 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI is an attractive, fun and fast hot hatch that will appeal to Volkswagen fans and likely sway buyers from the competition, too.

You’ll want to drive this car as much as possible, regardless of how high gas prices are.

=== can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page. Follow AutoTechReviews on Instagram at @Autotechreviews. Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.


Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
  • Price as tested: $40,185 (starts around $31K)
  • Best feature: Truly enjoyable driving experience, sharp but not overly flashy design
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Compact car buyers looking for a fun and sporty hatchback
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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