It has been a few months since we last updated you on the long-term performance of the 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI. Time has flown by as we have thoroughly enjoyed every moment with this spirited vehicle. After successfully navigating icy conditions with Nokian’s Hakkapeliitta R5 winter tires, we were excited to switch back to the stock Pirelli P Zero all seasons and indulge in our favorite pastime: driving.
Although we considered equipping our base GTI S with higher-performance tires, which are typically only available on more expensive trims, we ultimately decided to stick with the standard all-seasons. Thankfully, we did not sacrifice traction. The GTI impressively achieves 0.93 g on the skidpad with the Pirellis. Its exceptional turn-in and steering feel, attributes rarely found in cars below $75,000, have received praise from our senior features editor, Greg Fink, who aptly describes the chassis tuning as a culinary masterpiece.
The powertrain also deserves recognition. The turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine, generating 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque with seamless linearity, provides an exhilarating experience. Although the six-speed manual gearbox does not match the slickness of Honda’s and features an oddly shaped shift knob, the joy of manually shifting gears is bittersweet, knowing it’s the last of its kind for the GTI or Golf R, as Volkswagen is phasing out the six-speed for 2025.
Efficiency remains a strong point, with the 2.0-liter engine showcasing impressive fuel economy. With the GTI back on its lower-rolling-resistance tires and benefiting from warmer temperatures, it now achieves 30 mpg overall. Notably, it surpassed the EPA estimate by 9 percent, reaching 37 mpg during our 75-mph highway fuel economy test.
Despite its dynamic strengths, the GTI does have some day-to-day frustrations. The user interface of the center display leaves much to be desired, with menu structures that can be confusing. Adjusting stability control, for example, requires navigating the Brake menu or setting up a hot button in a menu that isn’t the most intuitive.
In terms of practicality, the GTI’s cargo-carrying capabilities are hindered by some design choices. The placement of the reverse camera within the liftgate’s VW badge is clever, preventing dirt and debris buildup, but it prevents accessing the hatch when backing up. It’s a minor inconvenience, but worth noting.
On the positive side, the GTI has proven to be easy and economical to live with. Routine maintenance around the 20,000-mile mark, including an oil change and various inspections, was complimentary. However, we did incur a $29 charge for tire rotation, a service we recommend every 5,000 miles to ensure optimal wear pattern, especially considering the torquey 2.0-liter engine’s impact on front tire wear.
A pothole-induced misalignment set us back $199, with the local dealer attempting to charge extra for recalibrating driver-assist systems. Fortunately, after consulting with Volkswagen, we learned that the car’s systems auto-calibrate over time, avoiding the additional expense. While some persistent warnings, like the “Travel Assist Warning Unavailable,” remain unresolved, they will be addressed in our next update.