I will start by saying that even though the 2023 VW Golf GTI is tight inside, it is a really fun car to drive.
Turbo-charged, offering 241 horses, this car is so much fun that no matter where you go, even to those boring places where your online hookups may live, you can still have a fun drive that makes you feel like it was worth the trip.
I have always loved the Golf, which started life as the ‘Gulf’ but everyone kept calling it the Golf – so Volkswagen acquiesced. The Golf also started life as the VW Rabbit some 40 years ago, and since then, this car has been a fan favorite for those who like the power of a fast car without having to get all crazy with after-market adjustments.
This car is a hatchback, but it also acts like a sedan (how nice is that), so when you put the rear seats down, you’ll get almost 35 cubic feet of cargo space, which isn’t bad for a small car. But this is not your typical small car. It’s also a racecar. Of sorts. With all the practicality and beauty of both.
The 2023 VW Golf R is easy to park because, length and girth-wise, it truly is a compact car. What that means for Bears, however, is that you need to test-drive it first to make sure y’all fit in comfortably. Space is at a premium inside.
A downside for me (and apparently other reviewers across the Web) is the infotainment system. There is a trick to making it work well, but let’s just say I could not figure it out. When you want to simply get in and drive (which is all I want to do with the Golf) you want to easily change the interior temperature, the music, the settings – and just focus on the road ahead.
Yes, all that without having the stop and have a fat finger moment. I was frustrated, to say the least. Many infotainment systems are now leaning towards drivers being completely hands-free and using just their voice. I am not there yet.
And at a starting price of $30,530 US, you’ll want to make sure it’s in your budget for the next several years. Yes, that isn’t cheap, but with this thing of beauty and power, how could you not fall in love, or whatever term of endearment you call it?
For those who keep track, there is a difference between the 2023 Golf GTI and the Golf R. The ‘R’ gets 74-more horsepower, comes with All-Wheel Drive and has more cool stuff on it. And it’s pricier. Think of the GTI as the more affordable ‘R’ that can do all the same fast-lane shenanigans. (For me, it was so much easier when cars had animal names, like Impala and Cougar.)
New cars are tricky these days. There is so much to consider, none the least of which is price.
I’d start with a Bear Happy Hour somewhere and consider my options from there.