The Hot Hatch car category is a vaguely defined arena in which some manufactures compete and others merely dabble. For most, the Volkswagen Golf GTI is the benchmark against which all other hot hatch cars are weighed. For 2017, VW kept the winning formula that the Golf GTI has had and added a few standard features to some trim points. It’s otherwise unchanged from the 2016 model year.
Most who loosely define what constitutes a hot hatch versus other compact hatchbacks will point to performance metrics and handling characteristics. These items are also what differentiate the Volkswagen Golf from the Golf GTI. The GTI model has a larger displacement engine, better running gear for superior handling, and several performance-enhancing and visually engaging exterior elements.