Here’s the thing,
Consumer Reports recently made a big splash when they labeled the new 2015 GTI as too boring. I find this extremely laughable, especially from the magazine that traditionally has gone gaga over cars like the Camry and Prius. Consumer Reports has apparently made the traditional automotive journalist error: confusing growing up with moving on.
Admittedly, the last few generations of the GTI have been more playful than the first four. However, the seventh generation is more of a return to form than a cry for help. Up until the fifth generation, each generation became heavier than the last, while the increases in power were not keeping pace. When the fifth was released, the car lost weight, and gained power from the engine that would become the face of Volkswagen performance: the 2.0T. It was even accompanied by its own mascot, The Fast, an evil rabbit that made you drive your car like a maniac.
The seventh generation simply brought both lines together with the performance of the 5th and 6th generation, and the over engineered ride quality of the first 4. The GTI is simply the most refined hot hatch in its class. Not refined as in “no fun”, but refined as in you could actually drive it every day without cursing yourself for buying on impulse. That is also the same spirit that ran through the first generation GTI, and pretty much every one since.
The last issue is in the car that they recommended instead. They like the Focus ST. I’m not saying that it’s a terrible car. However, it is nowhere near the GTI in any way. As where the GTI is more mini-Audi, the ST is simply a Focus on steroids. And therein lies the problem, a hot-hatch is meant to be livable. It’s supposed to be a fun car that you don’t have to have a second, daily driver to own. The Focus ST is too raw, too unpolished to be that car. Owning one is actually not even the right choice if you want to stock your driveway with a blue oval. The Fiesta ST provides a more balanced approach to the hot-hatch philosophy (just ask Jeremy), while the Mustang is the better choice for someone looking for a driver’s Ford.
Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. And more importantly, those who love Camrys should not call other cars boring. It’s only going to make your magazine a bigger laughing stock than you already are in the enthusiast circles.
And that, that’s the thing.