Volkswagens, in my experience, are either cars you love or hate. They have all the engineering of a Porsche or an Audi (and you might find the union rings on parts under the hood) without the same out lay of cash. Most people know Volkswagen either for the Beetle, Golf or Rabbit. The GTI, a performance variant of the Golf, is where it is at if you are looking for the same versatility of the Golf with the speed of sports car. Starting at an MSRP that is just above $23K doesn’t hurt either.

2010 Volkswagen GTI

2010 Volkswagen GTI

2010 Volkswagen GTI

2010 Volkswagen GTI

The 2010 VW GTI comes in either a 2-door hatchback or 4-door hatchback configuration. For the four-door you will have to lay out about $600 more right out of the gate. However, the GTI keeps its practicality in both versions with fuel economy registering at 21 mpg in the city and 31 mpg out on the highway. The power comes from a inline four-cylinder 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that pumps out 200 horsepower—that is similar to the naturally aspirated 2010 Honda Civic Si. In fact, the GTI gets the upper hand on the Civic in the highway mileage department even if only one mile per gallon.

Out on the road, and the track, the GTI steers with razor precision and exhibits fairly little body roll, which is a feat for its shape and stance. Other features that make the GTI a livable automobile is the Navigation System with 30GB storage and DVD playback, 300-watt sound system, sports seats, Xenon headlights, sunroof and 18 inch alloy wheels. Options will push the GTI to the top of class when sorted by highest price, but it will be hard to say that they aren’t worth it. Besides, who doesn’t like going 0-60 in 6.7 seconds?

Be sure to check out the full review of the 2010 Volkswagen GTI here.