Refined, elegant, and mature in a way almost no other hatchbacks in America are, the 2015 Volkswagen GTI not only boasts a strong and vibrant fan base for its past models, but a strong and growing population of drivers of its newest, seventh-generation, version as well.

It’s also a driver’s car, even with all of the modern traction control, torque delivery, and electric steering Volkswagen can throw at it. As Bengt Halvorson noted in Motor Authority’s first drive of the GTI, “And altogether, the knockout punch here is how fluid and unflustered the 2015 GTI feels through this 'trick.' Most notably, somewhere between the differential system, the steering, and the front-end geometry, VW seems to have completely quelled torque steer.”

It’s not just about putting the power to the ground, though that’s always an issue for a front-drive performance car. The GTI also delivers the handling goods when asked politely—especially if you opt for the Performance Pack. “Without the Performance Pack, the 2015 GTI gets by with an all-electronic e-diff system, essentially leaving torque-transfer duty to the brakes. It's likely you'll want to check that box if you have track driving in mind.”

The GTI, however, even in base form, delivers a maturity that’s unmatched in the hot hatch segment, as Halvorson explained perfectly: “As it is, though, the GTI is hands down the grownup of the hot-hatch group. For its dynamic prowess, quick steering, and immense torque on tap, the GTI is the small performance car we'd pick for a long daily commute, or a cross-country drive. Ride quality is great; the interior is definitely the quietest of this class; and the standard seats are not only well-bolstered but generously sized and genuinely comfortable for a wide range of driver types. There's no seat option like the Recaros in the Focus ST, but we're fine with that.”

2015 Volkswagen GTI

2015 Volkswagen GTI

Fans of the GTI will also be quick to point out another of its strong suits: interior design and quality. The Subaru WRX may be quicker and more powerful, and all-wheel drive, and cheaper in many instances, but, as we noted in our first drive, “The [GTI’s] interior is hands-down the best of any small hatchback anywhere close to this price, with nicely coordinated materials, matched surfaces, and consistent button faces and lighting. All the details are right, in a way that few other sub-$30k performance cars get.”

With all of this going for it, the 2015 Volkswagen GTI certainly deserves its place among the 15 nominees for Motor Authority’s Best Car To Buy 2015 award—but will it have what it takes to come out on top? Find out tomorrow, November 10th, when we announce the winner.