Sounds a great car, would need to be manual for it to be a true fun GTI though. Not sure why VW are skimping on thier interiors as of late though, they have some bizzare ergonomic ideas at the moment that are annoying people. I'd still prefer what the French offer though, they just seem to edge the rivals with thier finely tuned chassis set ups.
Oh don't me wrong, they are super quick at changing gear, hence the 0-60 time differences. But in a driver's car, two less driver inputs i.e. gear lever and clutch, makes them far less fun and involving to drive. Check out the price difference between a used Porsche with a manual Vs an auto, the manuals are far more sought after and worth several thousand more for this exact reason.
There's a discussion in another of my forums regarding the automated transmissions in modern semi-trucks and how they aren't automatics and have to be driven correctly to avoid going through clutches like crazy. Probably somewhat similar in these cars.
2022 Ford Escape 1.5L Eco-boost white/gray