I have driven every sport compact made and the GTI tops them all. It's amazingly comfortable for long road trips, at 6'5" I still have plenty of room and a child seat can still fit behind me. The seats are amazing and I have no issues for hours behind the wheel, the seat heaters are great and go all the way up the backrest unlike most Japanese and American cars that just do the seat bottom. Interior quality is seriously Audi quality, light years ahead of others in this class. The best thing by far about the GTI though is the power and handling... this engine is massively underrated by VW, actual power figures verified by me taking a trip to the dyno put this car at around 250HP and 280TQ. at the crank.
It drives like a sports car, low to the ground, holds corners like it's on rails, doesn't sway when the big trucks pass at 70+ mph. It gets an honest 32 mpg. The heating and cooling system is excellent. In dash GPS and steady cruise control make traveling a breeze. It has excellent pick up for getting up to speed on the interstates and a smooth transmission. Mine has a moon roof which is nice in the rain but not in the North Carolina summer sun.
This car is great for someone like me who loves a small 4-door hatch but also likes having fun. This car really gets up and goes when you step on the gas and it's so much fun to jump on the highway and go for a ride. Although it's not the best on gas it's not bad. I get a lot of miles out of my tank and it's usually a good time. Even though the car is small you can actually fit quite a lot of stuff in the back end with the seats down. I moved clear across the country and fit the majority of my small stuff in this car. It has been an awesome journey since I've had this awesome car. Even though it did have one trip to the mechanic and cost quite a bit for the repair, it runs like new even after almost 80,000 miles.