“You only know a person truly once you start living with them” – that’s a saying a lot of concerned parents throw around but does it hold any true for cars?
I sure think it does. A blisteringly-fast Lamborghini Avendator is great to thrash around corners or speed on an radar-less road but isn’t as nice when you’re stuck in traffic or use it to commute to and from work.
Enter the Volkwagen Golf GTI Mk7 – now in it’s seventh generation and carrying the illustrious pedigree of its predecessors – a marriage between daily-drive practicality and sports-car level driving. With a plethora of rivals now in the market such as the Ford Focus ST and Megane RS, the Golf GTI has a lot more than just pure pedigree to live up to.
Looks: The GTI does look a bit vanilla when compared to the edgy looks of the Megane RS and the menacing body-kit of the Focus ST. I love the red-detailing on the car’s front-grille and the smoky headlights but the styling might only be for those who like their cars a bit restrained.
Interior: The high-quality interior is right up there with the likes of Audi and Mercedes, with the flat-bottomed steering being particularly good to look at and hold. The red lighting and stitching is another thing I’m a huge sucker for. The touch-screen can still be a bit finicky to work with, though.
Drive: The car is an absolute joy to drive around corners with the sublime handling being right up there with Audi’s S variants. The front-wheel drive setup means that there is a bit of imbalance around corners and the tires seem to screech quite a bit when you go full throttle – I really wish the GTI could go back to it’s old All-Wheel-Drive setup and this car would then be nothing short of pure hot hatch perfection.
How’s it like to live with? I’ve had this model for over a year now and it has been great in every aspect: it’s reliable, can seat 4 people in comfort, has a spacious boot and quite a few cubby holes for storage, it’s great around the city and it’s perfect mix of smooth and sporty driving means you’re always looking forward to driving it around. Admittedly, the sports seats and the lower suspension means you might have the occassional backache and long drives will be a lot more tiring but the smile you get on your face after thrashing around a few corners will make that worth it. If you prefer comfort and luxury over sporty driving then there’s always a relatively-higher priced Audi A4 (which you can spec with the same engine) around the corner.
Highs: The sublime 4-cylinder 2.0T – which you can easily mistake for a more powerful V6, the high-quality Audi-baiting, spacious, well-thought interior, that gorgeous exhaust noise and the responsive handling
Lows: Not the best-looking hot hatch, the fiddly touchscreen can be a pain, the sports seats and low suspension make it uncomfortable for daily use
Verdict: It’s worth buying if you want a sports car that can fit the family and do the daily drives too but without breaking the bank.
*Available at Ali & Sons Motors and Al Naboodah Autombolies from AED 119, 739