The 2.0L turbo is a peppy thing in the GTI. The torque curve peaks out early and the lack of really noticeable turbo lag makes for a fairly fun motor, even if it does seem underpowered compared to other hot hatches in the segment. In VW's quest for cabin comfort, there isn't the same engine note you'll hear from other raspy 4-bangers, but the tradeoff is worth it I think.
The interior is clean and organized, though some might say it borders on boring and Spartan. Greys and blacks abound, save for the plaid seats, which are fun, but also do a decent job of staying clean over the long term. Going on four years, the seats aren't showing noticeable signs of wear.
The driving position and visibility are, on the whole, solid. The main complaint is a rather thick rear hatch pillar that makes for a driver blind spot on the passenger rear quarter, but otherwise the visibility is excellent compared to the slit views of other cars, that seem more like German pillboxes on Normandy. My girlfiend, whose limbs do not have near the same proportion I do, has some trouble getting into a decent driving position, and attributes this to a layout built more for taller folks than shorter. Trade-off is I can't fit into the driver seat of her MX-5. Horses for courses.
With rear seats up, the GTI fits an admirable amount of stuff for its size, and while the rear seats don't fold completely flat, the resulting cargo bed only has a slight rise. There are pockets everywhere for stuff, including a rather smart 1L cupholder in the door well, and room in that same pocket for an umbrella or emergency hi-viz vest/jacket.