– Detroit, Michigan

The original hot hatchback, the Volkswagen GTI remains an enthusiast favorite that's easy to live with everyday. You want fun and utility in a single package? This Golf-based hot hatch should be on your shopping list.

A big part of what makes the GTI so capable are its humble underpinnings – the standard Volkswagen Golf is a charming compact hatchback, offering real room for four adults, an impressive cargo area, and a user-friendly attitude. The GTI takes all of this goodness and adds an extra dose of style and performance.

In particular, this car's 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder kicks out 220 horsepower, more than enough to help propel it to 60 miles per hour in around six seconds. It's usable too, with plenty of torque available low in the rev range. Combined with an excellent six-speed manual transmission, the Volkswagen GTI is as fun in a straight line as it is functional in everyday life.

That it's also perfectly balanced between ride comfort and handling ability is a cherry on top. This is a tossable, light, responsive car that – unlike a Mini Cooper S – doesn't brutalize its driver or passengers. The GTI's entire purpose is to be usable every day, and there's no area that better reflects this than the way it rides and handles.

What else do we like about the GTI? And are there any flies in the ointment? Check out the latest episode of Why Buy to find out.

Bad news for Europeans:

Volkswagen Golf GTI

Engine Turbocharged 2.0-Liter I4
Output 220 Horsepower / 258 Pound-Feet
Transmission 6-Speed Manual
Efficiency 24 City / 34 Highway / 28 Combined
Drive Type Front-Wheel Drive
Weight 3,082 Pounds
Seating Capacity 5
Cargo Volume 22.8 / 52.7 Cubic Feet
Base Price $27,995
As-Tested Price $28,815
Got a tip for us? Email: tips@motor1.com