Climbing into a Volkswagen has special meaning to me as you may already know if you follow my blog. I’m always excited when one is in the mix at a driving event. For some reason that emblem takes me back to high school in a New York minute every time.
My first car was a VW Rabbit all decked out in orange and ready for it’s seventeen-year-old driver to learn stick and cruise to basketball practice.
The Volkswagen I was driving then, and the one I drove recently are VERY distant cousins, but the same compact sportiness was present.
Of course we are in the SUV era, no one can deny it, but there is just something about taking a small, high-performance compact for a spin. It’s thrilling. It’s exhilarating. It’s fun! Perfect handling and the lure of high MPG gets us thinking…they’re not just for college kids anymore.
25 city and 31 highway combine for a significant 27 MPG considering the 2019 GTI SE I’m driving has a standard Turbo TSI® engine with 228 horsepower. It’s been awhile, but I don’t think my high school version was scooting anywhere near that or I would have had way more passengers asking for rides home from practice.
Paying homage to my long lost model, Volkswagen is adding a limited-edition GTI niche between the S and SE models that will house the 2019 Rabbit Edition. In its limited run, the Rabbit Edition will be offered in four colors Cornflower Blue, Urano Grey, Pure White and Deep Black Pearl. Edition highlights include 18″ gloss black aluminum-alloy wheels, a black rear spoiler, LED headlights with the Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS), black mirror caps, Rabbit-badged seat tags, red-stitched floor mats, KESSY® keyless access with push-button start, Front Assist, Blind Spot Monitor, and Rear Traffic Alert.
This is all very interesting to me…I’m at that stage where many car lovers go…the flashback stage. This is the stage where we long for younger days when cars were fast and we were cool (or at least cooler than we are, now that we have mortgages and bills to pay). Rejuvenation. Fountain-of-youth. Maybe the limited-edition Rabbit Edition can help me with that. (No, I’m not having a mid-life crisis.)
Now, back to my peppy partner. Paddles at the ready, the console and dash are compact and informative. Simple gauges and plenty of technology is available via the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit as pictured here and in the headline photo. My ride carried an automatic DSG® 7-speed transmission with Tiptronic®, but bragging rights are still in force because it does come in a 6-speed manual, to the joy of the “long live the manual”, “three-pedal” clubs and the performance-driving purists.
I’m tall and the interior was roomy and comfortable. Seats were spartan, but not stiff. Leather made a difference in the feel and the red stitching made a luxury statement.
Being a sucker for a good set of rims, the wheels did not disappoint.
The 2019 gives way to style as the rear hatch makes for easy access and drop-down back seats leave cargo room galore for any road trip you might think up.
Maybe some winding Kentucky roads are in your future…
Whether you’re looking for the fountain-of-youth or a great “hot hatch”, this GTI SE makes the list.
It can’t take you back to high school, but it sure can give you a drive you won’t forget.
MSRP as equipped: $33,790
Add $895 destination fee