TheSmokingTire explains why the Golf is still one of the best cars ever

Kieran Bicknell
Matt Farah drives the Mk7 Golf GTi

Matt Farah of TheSmokingTire leads a life that many petrolheads would envy. Driving insane supercars and writing about them for a living while also running his own business. It may come as a surprise, then, to hear one of his favorite cars is actually a $37k hatchback.

When driving supercars and exotic vehicles form a part of your daily life, it’s easy to get disillusioned with just how special these cars are. Thankfully for Matt Farah of TheSmokingTire, he has a number of old-school retro performance cars to benchmark against, including a gorgeous Lamborghini Countach.

It may come as a surprise then, to discover that one of his favorite cars is the humble Volkswagen Golf GTI. Priced around the $37,000 mark, Farah was full of praise for the plucky little hatchback, saying “no matter what you drive, you can always come back to a Golf GTI.”

TST Mk7.5 Golf GTI
Even after driving so many exotic cars, Matt says VW has “nailed” the MK7.5 Golf GTI.

Matt Farah reviews the MK7.5 Golf GTI

So what is it about the sub-$40k car that makes it rank so highly? Matt explains that it’s a number of factors that all come together to make the Golf so good: “Circling back to this [after driving so many other cars] it feels good to be sitting here.”

Despite its impressive performance credentials, the Golf is still fundamentally a family car. This means that the controls are all very light and easy to use, but that does present issues when going “light-to-light” in urban environments.

Other than the one minor issue, Farah had plenty of compliments for the hatch. The Limited-slip diff in the front kept the car in line with no torque steer, while the adaptive suspension lets the GTI “shine” on mixed surfaces, such as when traveling over highway expansion joints.

He calls the 2.0l TSi engine “functional, rather than inspiring” but then goes on to admit the Golf is “legitimately fast, it is quick. It could probably take a Ferrari 355 on a highway entrance ramp!”

It’s also dependable, being “always right there when you need it.” Thanks to the ‘slow’ evolution of the Golf, Matt says that “after all this time, after driving so many cars, you come back to [the GTI] and go wow… they really nailed this didn’t they!”

There is plenty more commendation for the interior too, with the steering wheel feel, driving position, ergonomics and seats are all spot on.

Summing up, Farah said “Even after driving some very expensive luxury cars, I come back and sit in this and go this is nice. It feels well-made, and it’s more of a luxury experience than other hatchbacks.”

“Never die GTI, you rule!”