2018 VW Golf vs GTI

Families do countless things together; they love, laugh, and learn, but they also fight sometimes – especially in the case of competitive siblings. As such, the 2018 VW Golf vs Golf GTI comparison is only natural. Both are great choices, of course, but they are also very different from one another in a number of ways.

Despite being built very similarly and sharing the Golf name, there really are a lot of differences between these two hatchbacks. For starters, the 2018 Golf is definitely the more affordable of the two. With a base Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $20,910, the 2018 Golf is over $5,500 more affordable than the 2018 GTI.

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2018 VW Golf


2018 VW Golf GTI

$20,910 Base MSRP $26,415
25/36 mpg Fuel Economy (city/hwy) 24/35 mpg
170 hp, 199 lb-ft Power Ratings 225 hp, 258 lb-ft
N/A Navigation Available
In addition to being much more affordable, the 2018 VW Golf also earns marginally better fuel economy over the 2018 GTI. As estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency, the 2018 VW Golf has received preliminary ratings of 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway – one more mpg than the GTI in both regards.

One reason why shoppers choose the GTI over the more practical Golf is its riveting engine with 225 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. While the Golf does give a good driving experience with its 170-horsepower engine, it just can't match the sheer adrenaline of the GTI.

While the Golf and GTI do mirror one another with most of their features, the GTI gets an upper hand with its third trim level – Autobahn. Both the Golf and GTI are available in S and SE trims, which overall match one another, but the Autobahn trim is exclusive to the GTI. As a result, the GTI receives a few top-of-the-line features that the Golf cannot match. The list of added features in the Autobahn trim includes navigation software, dual-zone automatic climate control, adaptive cruise control, and more.

Listed below are some key features from each configuration as well as the starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for each.

For those who don't need the deluxe package of the Autobahn trim, and can also live without the 220-horsepower engine, the 2018 VW Golf is an exceptional, affordable value for everything included. On the other hand, those who want a truly exhilarating driving experience—coupled with unmatched state-of-the-art features—will be more than satisfied with the 2018 VW Golf GTI. Either way, both cars in the 2018 VW Golf vs GTI comparison are fantastic choices. After all, it's impossible to go wrong with a Volkswagen.

2018 VW Golf Front Cabin with Black Interior
2018 VW Golf White Exterior Rear View
2018 VW Golf GTI Front Cabin with Black Interior
2018 VW Golf GTI Red Exterior Rear View