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We'd previously sampled the DSG auto version of the Golf GTi, and while it's good, this six-speed manual is probably the one to pick because it's £1500 cheaper and 9g/km more efficient, dropping the car two BIK bands. That combination adds up to a saving of £324 per year in BIK alone, without factoring in the 3.0mpg advantage of the manual. It also means a 3.4p per mile advantage, which is very impressive at 139g/km compared with a Ford Focus ST's 169g/km.
The Golf GTi is excellent in terms of combining performance with lower medium hatchback practicality, and though a cracking-handling hot hatch, is an easy car to live with day-to-day.
The aforementioned Ford Focus ST is the most logical five-door rival, but others to consider include the Audi S3 and Skoda Octavia vRS. However, the Golf's all-round excellence make it a clear winner on both logic and desirability - and the manual is the one to select.
Volkswagen Golf GTi 5dr manual
Model price range
BIK 20/40% per month
Boot space min/max
Great car and, for the performance, reasonable efficiency and costs.