- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 2, 2006

The personality of the GTI hasn’t changed in more than a decade of running America’s back roads. It continues to be one of the most value laden, fun to drive and capable sporty coupes on the market.

Sure, you can spend tons of money on exotic sports machines that will outrace it, but there are few that can give you the spirit of the road for so little cost.

The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine launches this VW from stops like a rocket and continues its powerful attributes while merging onto the interstate or passing a slower vehicle as it does in a blink of an eye.

Even the available automatic transmission has six speeds and a manual mode that makes great strides in invoking sporty driving for a transmission type that was once known a slush box.

The standard six-speed manual transmission will give those who prefer to shift for themselves near-perfect close gear ratios and considerable fun.

It is comforting to see VW taking risks with the standard interior upholstery as well.

Staying with the patterned plaid inserts made popular by the 1984 model, the 2006 version adds a bit of retro look to the car.

While some may find this interior a bit over the top, many loyalists will not be able to resist its draw.

It will be hard for others to not opt for the sports seats with their leather surfaces and supportive construction.

Even during extremely hard cornering on my test drive, the seats held me tight in their grip. Not only does this instill a level of confidence, it allowed me to keep a firm grip on the steering wheel and hold the correct driving position.

Other vehicles would have had me sliding around like a fish on the deck of a boat.

In a refreshing move, VW has also begun an advertising campaign with the GTI that will bring smiles to the most avid tuner car fan.

The “Unpimp Your Ride” campaign favors the destruction of those gaudy, loud and obnoxiously horrid pimped-out Asian cars that seem to infiltrate our streets.

The GTI brings subtlety to a new and hip level that makes the abilities of your vehicle more important than how obnoxious you can be while sitting at a stop light.

In stock livery the GTI injects fun and adventure into the driving experience.

Front MacPherson strut and multilink rear suspension instill handling confidence that makes even driving at posted speed limits on tight curves and parking lot autocrosses exciting and fun.

With a base price of $21,990 the GTI packs a lot of vehicle that is fun to drive into one you’ll feel secure in allowing you or wife/husband or girlfriend/ boyfriend to drive. Of course, I am sure you will always find an excuse to drive them to their destination instead.

The GTI is a bundle of so much fun that you will want to drive to the market for a loaf of bread one slice at a time.

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