Last week, I sold my 2013 Volkswagen GTI to Carmax a` la Doug Demuro. After two years and 36,000 miles I decided it was time to part ways. The sixth generation GTI has been hailed by nearly every automotive outlet since it's inception in 2010, and my former car was as basic as they came— sporting a manual transmission, cloth (interlagos plaid) interior, and no options.
The car stickered for $25,000 and I ended up in a $305/Mo. lease (15K miles/year) with no money down over 42 months — a solid proposition for a recent college graduate with no money and high expectations.
The GTI offered something few competitors could for under $25K — it felt expensive; it felt German; Honestly, it felt like an Audi.
As a commuter, the GTI was a great Monday morning companion and often returned 35+ miles per gallon on my 40 mile daily commutes. I purchased the car in December of 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the 18 inch "Detroit" style wheels and Pirelli all season rubber pulled me through the winter months without issue.
Likewise, the car was also a road-trip hero. With standard blue-tooth streaming audio, iPhone jack, and heated seats — I was never left wanting . Highway passing was also an easy feat for the 2.0 turbo, sixth gear left plenty of meat on the bone and I was never searching for fifth to pass the never-ending stream of left-lane Prius drivers.
But this is where the GTI really shines...
For twenty five grand, it is hard to find a new car you can confidently wear a suit in, take to a track day, and haul babies and dogs around in. If you're a car enthusiast with real-world obligations, the GTI is very easy to live with.
So why sell? It is just too practical.
The GTI can definitely bring a smile to your face — and it is certainly a decent back road companion — but when you are cruising your way to work, it doesn't feel special. There is no sacrifice.
That's right — sacrifice. As a car enthusiast, the heroes of our hobby are the crazy, the eccentric, or the supremely wealthy.
As a general rule, I avoid most of these categories of lifestyle — the latter not on purpose.
Think about it though: If you drive something interesting, you are often sacrificing something: money, comfort, convenience, or logic. That's what make this hobby so great. Some readers may find this to be an absurd statement — they are probably the ones who drive Honda Accords 20,000 miles a year while their Mustang sits in the garage to depreciate. Sounds like fun.
Either way, the GTI is a great car. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for something fun on a budget that really feels up-market. There is a noticeable amount of Audi/VW crossover in the GTI — and it's all for the better.
For now, my wife and I are splitting duty with our 2013 Jetta, but the search is on and so is the endless amount of bench-buying on Ebay Motors, Bring a Trailer, Craigslist, and the like. Be sure to check back for updates on potential purchases.