Recently someone asked our man Doug if there was a “best of all words” car. Many have made the argument that Volkswagen’s iconic GTI offers one of the best combinations of fun, affordability, and practicality. But which generation will go down as the all-time classic?

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Despite the fact that I own one, I wasn’t always a huge fan of the GTI. A college buddy of mine had a very cool MK2, but at 20 years old all I remember was the lack of power. My next experience was test-driving a MK4 with the 1.8T at a dealership. The shifter was rubbery and the car felt heavy and imprecise compared to my ‘95 Prelude. Again, I was a bit disappointed.

It wasn’t until I was a bit older and another friend bought a MK5 did I understand what the GTI had to offer. I ended replacing my Mazda3 with a MK7 GTI, because it offered the same level of performance and interior quality of a German sport sedan, but it kept more than $10,000 in my pocket. The GTI was also more practical and had a bit more character than the other alternatives.

Our friends at Carfection got a chance to drive all seven generations to answer the question: If you are only going to own one GTI, which generation should it be?

Looking back, I regret not appreciating that MK2. Which GTI is your favorite?