I’ve long said the Volkswagen GTI is one of the best all-around cars you can buy. For less than $30,000, you get a car with an interior that rivals entry-level luxury cars, you get a ton of space with the rear seats down to carry your stuff, and you get enough power to make it exciting — but not so much that you’ll find yourself in trouble before you know it. What you also get is a car that finds itself completely at home during a track day.
Yes, you can absolutely take your GTI to a track day. And you absolutely should.
I’ve been able to take my GTI to Dominion Raceway in Virginia twice now, and it handled both days phenomenally. Nothing broke, and it felt as strong at the end of the day as it did at the beginning. Despite the fact that it was pretty hot both days, engine temperatures remained normal. Nothing at all made me feel the car was out of its element.
Sure, there are better cars out there for driving on a track. The GTI does understeer at the limit, owing to the fact that it’s front-wheel-drive. Honestly, though, this isn’t a bad thing. Understeer is much more predictable and easier for track day novices (like me) to deal with than oversteer — and that lets you explore the limits of your car more freely and learn the basics of driving fast while minimizing the risk of an off-track event.
Even though the GTI does understeer at the limit, that limit is much higher than you’d expect. Yes, you can go fast in a GTI. At my first event, I was able to easily keep up with Golf Rs and a brand-new Audi TTS in the corners — although they would leave me in the dust on the straights. The car inspires confidence, and you’ll have a great day.
So if you want a great daily driver that you can occasionally take to the track, the Volkswagen GTI should be on your list. It’s not the fastest sport compact, but I think it’s probably the best all-around affordable daily driver — and yet it’s still capable of tearing it up on a track. If you have a GTI, you owe it to yourself to find a track day and sign up. You won’t be disappointed. Find a Volkswagen GTI for sale