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Trailer towing with VW GTI

I really like the VW GTI. I have a small sailboat (Sunfish) I would like to tow, as well as a trailer-hitch bike rack I’d like to use on this car. The salesman says they can put on a hitch, but not sure how much I can tow (not much, evidently). VW website is no help, saying “not recommended” but ask your dealer. I’ve seen VWs and other small cars in Europe with hitches. How much do you think I can safely tow with this car?

This has been spelled out in the owner’s manual of every car I have ever owned; it SHOULD also be in yours. On my Corolla it’s 1500 lbs, on my Sentra it’s 1000 lbs. Both these cars are similar in weight to yout GTI, but less powerful.

Please re-read your manual, or ask someone more knowledgeable that the salesman at your dealership.

The website was very helpful: ‘not recommended’ is pretty clear to me. Many of the small cars you see with hitches in Europe are diesels, most of the rest do not have highly-tuned turbo 4s. That said, I wouldn’t have any problem putting a hitch on to use a bike rack. What it the total weight of the Sunfish+trailer? How far, how often, over what type of terrain will you tow it?

We did this before and a Sunfish weighs 150 lbs rigged, the trailer may weigh 150 lbs…that’s 300 lbs. IMVHO, you’re not towing yet till you get well north of 500 lbs and the car can handle it easily…you won’t even know it’s there…unless you forget to de rig the mast. If you can safely mount a hitch, and don’t throw the maximum 800 lbs or what ever in the cabin; all is ok regardless of what the manual says. My concern would be a special rear end configuration that I’m not aware of that prevented safe hitch attachment.
We checked the European Civic (about 2000lbs) not diesel, same motor and body weight v American Civic (No tow) in another post, and the biggest difference seemed to be in the warranty. Though I don’t think 2k lbs is safe towing in any of these cars; and will agree, there may be some structural difference between the two, 300 lbs certainly is safe in a comparable model. I used to easily tow 300lb fishing boat trailer and motor with my two stroke SAAB. It had a three speed and 44 hp ? I though cars were better today.

The trick is finding something to bolt the trailer hitch TO…Lots of holes and big flat washers I guess…

I don’t own the car; I was test driving it and the question came up. Don’t have the owner’s manual. I just don’t see the need to buy an SUV to tow a 500lb trailer or carry my bike.

Quite correct, the GTI can easily pull a small tralier. But if it is not spelled out in the manual, your warranty would be refused if you had a drive train problem.