The iconic VW Golf GTI is definitely a fun and sporty little car but how practical is this hatchback as a BabyDrive?! Let's find out …
Well I have to admit my only previous experience of a VW Golf GTI was in my very early 20's and my boyfriend at the time had one which filled up with steam and I used to joke it was like a sauna also one of the headlights was made up of the bottom of a 4L squash bottle instead of the proper glass cover!! They were tough times!! I also remember the generous sized comfy seats that were more comfy to sit on than any of the seats in our first rental flat!! I am pleased to say that the VW Golf GTI I tested was nothing like this!! No sauna and no squash bottle lights and the seats were… still comfy!!
I am sure the Golf GTI was not designed to be a family car (but the Alltrack wagon version definitely is practical) and I wanted to know if you could have fun AND be a parent with this sporty model!
Well, I had tested the VW Polo GTI the week before and it did feel quite similar!! My main grumble with both cars was the sun rooves that only had a black mesh over them rather than a proper cover, they are not well designed for the Australian sun?! It was roasting in the driver's seat with the sun pelting through burning me as I drove and it made the interior really hot whenever the car was parked not undercover.
On the plus side, in the same panel in the ceiling as the sunroof controls, there is a button to turn on and off the rear interior light which I found fabulous because I could not reach back to turn the lights on or off otherwise!
The Golf is small but surprisingly we could fit a 180cm driver in front of a rear facing child seat which is pretty impressive!
The rear seats are comfy with two adult passengers or I could fit two child seats in the back of the VW Golf GTI really nicely. There are ISOFix points in the two outer seats, within plastic guides, and top tethers on the back of the two outer rear seats and the central top tether is behind the central headrest.
One consideration I am learning with most Volkswagens is the headrests are not removable which really pushes the forward-facing child seats forward at the top and my daughter moaned continually about it.
Storage is actually pretty good, it's minimal but practical throughout the VW Golf GTI, with two cup holders in the central console, a phone well and sunglasses case in the ceiling. The front door bins are really good holding a large refillable water bottle, iPad etc. There is a glove box and phone tray too. The interior is nicely styled and has that boyish charm that taps into the young at heart and feeling of being fast and carefree!! (those were the days!!)
In the back, there are two small door bins that will hold a large refillable water bottle and map pockets on the back of both front seats.
The boot space is quite good, it would fit ten shopping bags when empty, that's the same as the Hyundai i30 and Kia Cerato, one less than a Mazda3 and one more than a Toyota Corolla. The tandem or single stroller fitted in the boot with a wheel removed, or you could transport a small dog in there is you removed the parcel shelf.
The touch screen media system is user-friendly and has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which is fantastic!
I love the old school seat tartan that has been used in the visual within the sound settings!! Reminds me of that steam-filled Golf of my youth…
The reversing camera image is good too and the sensors can be muted with a button on the bottom left of the screen.
The VW Golf GTI is a fantastic and fun car to drive, it was nippy and fun when I was on my own in the car and the ride was not as hard as I was expecting around, so when my little girl was in the car I could turn on my responsible parent mode!! If parking space is a consideration, and you only have one or two children, or you're the kind of family that packs minimally and you want something fun then the VW Golf GTI is still quite practical. You just might have to trade it in for something bigger by the time those little ones become lanky teenagers!!
The VW Golf GTI was given a five-star ANCAP safety rating applicable to all models from 2017 onwards. It was last tested in 2013. All models have seven airbags as standard.