Road Test Review – 2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI Autobahn 6-Speed – By Tim Esterdahl

Review: 2016 VW Golf GTI Improves on Technology While Keeping Superb Drive

While VW may be mired in a diesel scandal, this doesn’t mean the rest of their gas vehicles should be overlooked. A great example is the critically acclaimed 2016 VW Golf equipped with a turbocharged gasoline engine and featuring updated technology features.

The big news for the 2016 VW Golf is all-new technology features found in a new 6.5” touchscreen infotainment screen and part of VW Car-Net. This was a big need in prior Golf vehicles and VW stepped up to fill this gap. The new touchscreen is responsive, easy to use and features the new Apple Car Play and Android Auto. As someone who has never used either of these features, I grabbed my iPhone to check out the Apple Car Play.

In order to use the system, all you need to do is plug into the USB outlet and your phone syncs with the system. Once active, the screen has touch buttons for Phone, Music, Maps, Messages, Now Playing, Podcasts and Audiobooks. All of the apps I tested were voice activated and proved to be much easier to operate than many infotainment systems found in other vehicles.

For example, the Maps app from Apple is much better than any other system found in various vehicles. Even though, I prefer Google Maps, the ability to use Maps voice recognition and search feature is much easier than automotive systems. For those systems, you have to search via their parameters such as city, street name and category. You are also limited by the area you are nearby which can be troublesome if you live near the intersection of different states. With Maps, you can just search for a location, see it on the screen and tell the system to go. Much, much easier than other systems.

The only real bug in the system for VW is the USB connection is not easier. Instead, it is buried in the center stack and hard to access. Why the designers didn’t bring it out more or make it flush with the console is a head scratcher. With all the tech in cars these days, one would think USBs would be easy to access and plentiful.

Beyond the improved technology features, the 2016 VW Golf retains all of the things that have made it a great vehicle for years. It is fun to drive, corner like a sports car and has decent room for 5 passengers with pretty good trunk space (unless you want to carry golf clubs).

The styling is becoming iconic and while it sits low to the ground, the entry/exit isn’t that difficult.

All in all, I’m a fan of the improvements on the already good 2016 VW Golf GTI. Now, if I could just plug in my device easier, I’d be an even bigger fan.

Model: 2016 VW Golf GTI Autobahn

Engine: 2.0L TSI turbo-charged, 4-cylinder

Transmission: 6-speed manual

EPA Estimated Fuel Economy: 25/34/28 city/highway/combined


  • VW Car-Net – no charge
  • Driver Care Package – no charge
  • Tornado Red Exterior – no charge
  • Titan Black Leather Interior – no charge
  • 6-speed manual transmission – no charge
  • 18” Summer Performance Tires – no charge

Price: $30,955 with $820.00 Destination Charge

What do you think?

About The Author

Tim Esterdahl is a married father of three who enjoys all things automotive including wrenching on his collection of old pickups. You can find his work here and in print in Truck Trend magazine as well as on He also plays an absurd amount of golf. Like really absurd.