Friday, 19 August 2022

2019 VW Golf GTI Rabbit is a unique, practical hot hatch Featured

Posted On Monday, 22 July 2019 02:04 Written by
Rate this item
(1 Vote)
The 2019 Volkswagen GTI Rabbit is a special edition offering of the classic hot hatch model. The 2019 Volkswagen GTI Rabbit is a special edition offering of the classic hot hatch model. Photo by Matt Myftiu/



The term “hot hatch”, aka a high-performance version of a mass-produced hatchback— has been part of the automotive lexicon for almost four decades. And while there may be a variety of competition today — including the Honda Civic Si and Subaru WRX — that was not always the case.

One brand that helped bring about the era of the hot hatch is Volkswagen, in particular with its GTI model. I recently spent some time in a 2019 VW Golf GTI Rabbit, and I’m back with a full report.


The GTI is a vehicle that's not trying to please all consumers, and knows its audience. It’s aimed at driving enthusiasts who like a little growl in their car, while also maintaining some sense of practicality that typical sports cars lack.

And despite being aimed at enthusiasts, that doesn’t mean it won’t have things that the non-enthusiast will like. For example, it’s well-designed, roomy and comfortably seats five passengers, so it can function very well as a daily driver and trips to soccer practice.

And it looks pretty awesome too, especially the Rabbit edition — which features 18-inch gloss black alloy wheels with all-season tires, a rear spoiler and black side mirror caps.

The exterior on my test vehicle had an attractive but simple Pure White paint scheme, and the overall look of the GTI is more classy and simple than some of its hot hatch competition — who can be a bit more outlandish in their designs.

Inside, the unique look continues with a sharp-looking red, black and white plaid seat design and other Rabbit Edition accents, including red stitched floor mats.

The interior has a sharp look but isn’t full of high-end materials, as this isn’t a luxury offering. It can boast of a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, and rear seats that fold down to increase storage space. There is some nice ambient lighting, too.

The Rabbit features cloth seating, but other trim levels of the GTI offer leather seating.

The GTI also features LED headlights, daytime running lights and taillights; as well as LED front fog lights with low speed cornering lights, and a chrome-tipped dual exhaust.


When people are looking into a hot hatch, in the end it’s all about performance. Other elements of the vehicle, from looks to technology and beyond, may interest them, but an enthusiast loves to drive and wants a vehicle that will do it well and spice up the daily drive a bit.

To put things in perspective, the Golf GTI falls on the lower end of the hot hatch spectrum, at least when compared to more powerful offerings such as Honda’s Civic Type R, but the good news is that is still delivers a strong performance.

The GTI comes standard with a manual transmission, but you can opt for an automatic transmission. It houses a 2.0-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, which offers 228 horsepower (a slight increase from previous models) and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. It is only available in front-wheel drive.

A four-wheel independent sport suspension can be found underneath, helping create the smooth and responsive ride that the GTI offers. You also get stronger brakes and a standard limited-slip differential on the 2019 model.

The simplest way to put it is that the GTI is just a fun ride. No matter your opinion of Volkswagen offerings in general, anyone who tests the GTI will find it to be a powerful and agile vehicle. You’ll look forward to roads with a little twist to them.

The engine has a distinct growl, which lets you know it's working hard. Some may not like the sound (including your neighbors, depending on what time you come home), but enthusiasts will appreciate it.


Passengers can feel safe in the GTI, which features six airbags, and has nearly perfect government safety ratings.

In terms of safety features, the GTI offers anti-lock brakes, a rearview camera system, tire pressure monitor system and electronic stability control. Also, you get forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring, blind spot monitoring with rear traffic alert, cruise control, keyless access and push-button start. 

The vehicle features Bluetooth connectivity, and a 6-speaker sound system.

The most disappointing thing in my view on the tech front is Volkswagen’s infotainment system, which was functional but overall disappointing. The 6.5-inch touchscreen was easy enough to use and the system fulfilled its purpose, but the modern car buyer needs a vehicle is expecting a better look and design to the experience than you’ll get in the GTI. Most systems offered by  Volkswagen’s competitors would perform better in a head-to-head battle.

Official fuel mileage numbers on the Golf GTI are 25 city/31 highway/27 combined. I experienced a similar range during my time in the GTI, averaging 28 mpg. It features a 13.2 gallon tank, so you’ll get more than 350 miles per fill-up at that rate.

These numbers are better than you’ll get from a Subaru WRX, but less than you’ll get from a Civic Si.

The 2019 Golf GTI Rabbit I tested was priced just under $31,000, and base price for the Golf GTI is under $28K. This is a bargain compared to the some of the more souped-up hot hatches you can get, like the Honda Civic Type R.

You also get excellent VW warranty coverage with the GTI, including:

— 6 year/72K People First new vehicle warranty, which includes powertrain coverage 

— 7 year/100K limited warranty against Corrosion perforation

— 3 year/36K roadside assistance 


The VW Golf GTI is one of the original hot hatches and is still going strong in 2019 — with some unique design options to spice things up, in addition to the strong power plant. It’s one of VW's best offerings for those who simply love to drive. 

It’s also a bit of a unicorn, because it’s practically designed for family use, while also being able to boast of a sporty, powerful ride quality.

------- can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page

Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI Rabbit  
  • Price as tested: $30,890
  • Best feature: Powerful engine with a unique sound, agile drive quality
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars  
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Hot hatch fans looking for the perfect mix of practicality and fun
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.

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.

AutoTechReviews  is your home for In-depth reviews of the latest cars, trucks, and SUVs; information on all the emerging vehicle technology; and breaking news from the world of NASCAR and other motorsports.


Subscribe to our newsletter. Don’t miss any news or stories.

We do not spam!