2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI vs 2016 Ford Focus ST

An automaker can’t be fickle when it comes to design if the company hopes to succeed. Manufacturing cars is an expensive endeavor, and introducing a new model is even more so with the risk that it won’t succeed. Volkswagen knows this, which is why the make has a number of models that have stood the test of time. Among them is the VW Golf GTI, which has been available now for a full four decades. It instantly gained a following and earned the title of “hot hatch,” and continues to be a favorite among enthusiasts. But competition is getting more aggressive. If you don’t happen to be loyal to any one brand, deciding on which vehicle is best for you can be difficult. When comparing the 2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI vs 2016 Ford Focus ST, you have two hatchback cars that have aggressive styling cues over their standard counterparts, offer plenty of thrills and are affordable and practical choices for daily driving. Though their benefits are similar, they are also different in many ways.

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2016 VW Golf GTI VS 2016 Ford Focus ST
220-hp, 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder Engine 252-hp, 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder
25 city / 34 hwy MPG  22 city / 32 hwy
93.5 cu. ft. Passenger Volume 90 cu. ft.
52.7 cu. ft. Max Cargo Volume 43.9 cu. ft.

Performance of the 2016 Golf GTI vs Ford Focus ST

One thing to note before even starting to compare the models is the fact that the Golf GTI is a model within the Volkswagen lineup, with a variety of its own trips, while the Ford Focus ST is a single trim within the entire Ford Focus lineup. For this reason, you’ll have many more options with the Golf GTI. These include upgrades to entertainment, driver assistance and lighting, as well as choosing between models with or without a performance package and two-door or four-door styling. With the Ford Focus ST you’ll be much more limited when it comes to add-ons.

One key difference that won’t go unnoticed is the gap in the performance specs. Without the Performance Package, the Golf GTI does not have a limited-slip differential and its horsepower sits at 210, compared to 220 with the package. The Ford Focus ST sits at 252 horsepower, which looks impressive, but also pulls from its fuel economy. We know efficiency isn’t always a top concern for those seeking a performance model, but the real downside of the ST is it doesn’t actually accelerate faster than the Golf GTI. Tests conducted by Car and Driver show the GTI can go from 0 to 60 in 5.8 seconds, a feat achieved by the ST in 6.3 seconds. The ST does have a higher top speed of 150 mph compared to the GTI’s 124 mph, but the GTI also lacks the torque steer issue present in the ST.

As we’ve said, features in the 2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI are more impressive, especially considering the model has various trims to provide some updates. One other thing to consider for those tech-savvy drivers is the fact that the GTI has the new MIB II infotainment system that brings App-Connect with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink, whereas the available Ford SYNC 3 system lacks this smartphone connectivity.

Is the 2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI the right model for you? Stop by Volkswagen of Springfield to check it out for yourself and take it for a test drive.

2016 VW Golf GTI exterior styling
2016 Ford Focus ST exterior styling
2016 VW Golf GTI interior technology and features
2016 Ford Focus ST interior technology and features

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