2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI vs 2016 Ford Focus ST

The Golf GTI has offered hot hatch perfection to the driving world for decades, so it only makes sense that the model continues to do it right. Still, other automakers are now bringing it some stiff competition, and many shoppers are weighing their other options. One of the most common comparisons is between the 2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI vs 2016 Ford Focus ST. Both models are attractive and sporty choices, though their styling is quite different. The Golf GTI continues to pull from the appearance of the standard Golf, but with a honeycomb grille and bumper, Austin alloy wheels and slatted fog lights hinting at its athletic side. The Focus ST is a tad more dramatic than its standard counterpart, but this is most noticeable in the ST bumper, bold grille and aggressive stance. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and we think both models have something to offer when it comes to style.

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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.

How do you choose between the Golf GTI and the Focus ST?

When selecting a performance model, it’s only natural to look at the performance specs to help you decide. In many ways the vehicles are similar, with sport suspension, front and rear disc brakes and standard six-speed manual transmissions. At first glance the 2016 Ford Focus appears to have a better engine, pulling 252 horsepower from its engine in comparison to the 210 horsepower the GTI offers without adding on the Performance Package. We can’t deny the Focus ST looks more impressive on paper, but reality is often different when it comes to driving dynamics.

In test drives from Car and Driver, the 2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI earns a faster 0-60 time of 5.8 seconds compared to the Focus ST, which took 6.3 seconds to get up to speed. The GTI is limited to a top speed of 124 mpg, compared to 150 with the Focus ST, but for daily driving the GTI is more spirited. The Focus ST has also earned criticism for torque steer, while the GTI has only received high praise for its driving style. The Performance Package not only boosts the vehicle’s speed, but adds on larger vented disc brakes and the VAQ limited-slip differential. The ST does have an electronic limited-slip differential, but it does not have the dual-clutch automatic transmission option as is available for the GTI.

There are a few other areas in which the 2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI excels. Not only does it have better fuel economy thanks to the more efficient engine, but it is a bit roomier than the Ford Focus ST. This is especially noticeable for rear seating, making the Focus ST a less practical option as a fun daily driver. Another key thing to consider is safety, with the GTI offering a host of available driver assistance features, which are not available for the Focus ST at all. Keep in mind, the Golf GTI offers a line of trims, while the Focus ST is just one trim within the Focus lineup. This means it has fewer options overall.

We could say much more about these two models, comparing features both standard and available, but the real way to decide is to stop by Garnet Volkswagen and test drive the 2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI for yourself.

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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