At $28,500, Does This 2018 Volkswagen GTI SE Add Up?

The seller touts Arizona’s lack of sales tax on private party transactions as a price enticement.

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Nice Price or No Dice 2018 VW GTI
Photo: Craigslist

The GTI has long been one of the best cars out there, and these days it is the last of the Golf line sold in the U.S. Let’s see if today’s Nice Price or No Dice Mk7 SE is priced to keep that streak going.

Auto racing is a sport for the wealthy, or at the very least, the wealthy-adjacent. That being said, the 1993 BMW 318is which was the object of yesterday’s consideration, could put you on the track, or parking lot gymkhana, for a mere $5,000. Unfortunately for the seller, that stripped-for-lightness 3 Series couldn’t take the checkered at that price, earning a disappointing 76 percent No Dice loss. I guess that’s better than a DNF, though.

Image for article titled At $28,500, Does This 2018 Volkswagen GTI SE Add Up?
Photo: Craigslist
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I don’t quite know how to take the mathematical machinations the seller of today’s 2018 Volkswagen GTI SE offers in advocacy of the price they have set for the car. The deal being touted in the ad is that the car is being offered for sale in Arizona as a private party transaction, and apparently, Arizona doesn’t apply the State’s 9 percent sales tax to such private party exchanges. According to some back-of-the-napkin calculations the seller offers, that makes the car a much better deal than would be buying a similar model from a dealership. It all makes sense if you use the seller’s valuations across the board but perhaps fall down somewhat when considered against other private party sales options. Still, you have to applaud Arizona for that regressive-tax loophole.

Image for article titled At $28,500, Does This 2018 Volkswagen GTI SE Add Up?
Photo: Craigslist
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Another important question regarding the car’s value is whether it is actually of value — regardless of price — simply as a car. Luckily, this is a GTI and I think we can all agree that this is a model of car that in the fun department gives barrels of monkeys a run for their money. Adding to the attraction, this one is an SE model and carries the desirable performance package.

That latter bit means that on top of the 220-horsepower 2-liter turbo four and six-speed stick, this GTI offers a limited-slip differential and Papa Bear-sized brakes taken from the even hotter Golf R. The SE option adds a larger screen for the infotainment system, plus a bunch of sensors on the outside that make things like blindspot monitoring, collision warning, and pedestrian targeting… er, presence warnings possible.

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Image for article titled At $28,500, Does This 2018 Volkswagen GTI SE Add Up?
Photo: Craigslist

The rest of this 20,750-mile GTI looks to be holding up its end of the bargain too. The car wears black paint with the obligatory GTI red trim as well as factory-spec Dallas alloys. With so few miles, it’s likely that it’s also sporting its factory tires, an observation the ad doesn’t seem to refute.

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Image for article titled At $28,500, Does This 2018 Volkswagen GTI SE Add Up?
Photo: Craigslist

Inside, the only letdown is the lack of plaid cloth upholstery, long a tradition in the hot VW hatch. Instead, there’s leatherette on the heavily-bolstered front buckets and back bench, and real leather on the flat-bottom steering wheel and shift boot. The car is modern enough that the center screen supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which seems to be a popular choice these days. There’s also a slew of comfort and convenience features that should make this GTI a very enjoyable place to do business.

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Image for article titled At $28,500, Does This 2018 Volkswagen GTI SE Add Up?
Photo: Craigslist

That business could be accomplished without much worry too since the seller claims the car still has at least a year left on its bumper-to-bumper factory warranty. The title, it should also be noted, is clean as a bean.

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That just leaves the price, and that has us circling back to the seller’s assertion that the $28,500 asked for the car is a great deal, considering its locale. Here is the justification given for that price:

Please note that in Arizona, private party sales do not incur sales tax, so this is like buying the same car from a dealer for under 27k (since they’d charge tax and a doc fee). Dealers are charging $29.9k for an equivalent SE GTI, and then add 9% tax and a $500 doc fee and you’re at $33,000!

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Image for article titled At $28,500, Does This 2018 Volkswagen GTI SE Add Up?
Photo: Craigslist

That all makes sense in context, but what about in our voting? What’s your take on this GTI and that $28,500 asking? Does that seem like a deal for the car as, and where, it sits? Or, does that simply not add up?

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You decide!

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Phoenix, Arizona, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Don R. for the hookup!

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