How to buy the best used VW Golf GTI for your money

18 June 2021 - 10:42 By Motoring Reporter
The Golf GTI remains one of the most popular hot-hatches on the market.
The Golf GTI remains one of the most popular hot-hatches on the market.
Image: Supplied

If you’re a fan of a certain three-letter badge that has been applied to Volkswagen hot hatches since 1976, you’ll be well aware the new Golf 8 GTI is on its way to SA. But with new-vehicle price hikes climbing above inflation, it’s likely to cost a pretty penny when it finally touches down in the third quarter. 

A possible solution, then, is to take a look at the used market, which is flush with seventh-generation versions of Wolfsburg’s venerable front-driven hot hatch (nearly 15,000 examples have been sold locally since mid-2013, after all). Question is, which registration years will give you the best bang for your buck? 

If you restrict your search for a used GTI to the five most recent registration years, that takes you neatly back to 2017, when the facelifted Golf 7 made local landfall. 

While it’s certainly tempting to grab a low-mileage used car from 2021, AutoTrader’s data shows the average listed price for such a Golf GTI is a lofty R723,701. Why is this figure so far above the since-discontinued Golf 7 GTI’s last listed new price of R620,300?

Well, it’s been inflated by the presence of a small handful of limited-edition TCR units – a model that benefits from various enhancements, including a power hike to 213kW, and thus typically commands a far higher price on the used market – registered at the start of this year.

With median mileage still attractively low at less than 8,000km, the average price for a 2020 model listed on the platform is a slightly more palatable R667,524. Still, since most of SA’s 300-strong allocation of the aforementioned TCR was sold in 2020, there are a number of standard GTIs from that year available for well below this figure. 

“While the numbers might suggest older year-model GTIs tend to provide the strongest value for potential buyers, don’t let high average listed prices in other years put you off searching for the right car with the right mileage. If you’re happy to avoid the pricier special editions, there are plenty of great deals to be had,” said AutoTrader CEO, George Mienie.

Indeed, the TCR’s presence in the two latest model years goes some way to explaining the gulf between the average listed prices of 2021 and 2019, with the latter’s coming in almost R200,000 lower, despite average mileage still sitting below the 40,000km mark. 

The difference in average listed price for 2018 (R467,453) compared to 2021 increases to more than R250,000. VW Golf GTI models registered in 2017, meanwhile, average a listing price of R449,711, though this figure is again driven up by the presence of a few examples of the ultra-exclusive three-door, two-seater Clubsport S (just 47 came to SA, each boasting 228kW and a six-speed manual gearbox) launched early that year. 

Some parting advice? If you’re looking for the best value (and are not prepared to pay the premium for the sought-after limited-edition versions), focus on the standard 169kW model and search for examples with listing prices and mileage lower than the averages in the table below.

VW Golf GTI average mileage & price by year model (Source: AutoTrader, January to May 2021.
VW Golf GTI average mileage & price by year model (Source: AutoTrader, January to May 2021.
Image: Supplied

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