2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI review: Parting is such sweet sorrow

Farewell, very hot hatch.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

The Volkswagen Golfing GTI is 1 of the all-time greats, paying out 7 generations in the sweet location in between each day usability and an old-fashioned very good time. In its remaining calendar year before the introduction of an all-new eight era, the Golf’s very hot-hatch variant proceeds to remind us why it remains a darling of critics and motor vehicle geeks alike.


  • Hatchback capaciousness
  • Entertaining and pragmatism in equal doses
  • Sound cabin tech

Really don’t Like

  • 1 USB port
  • Can force into expensive territory
  • Just-Alright gasoline overall economy

Unassuming getup

The GTI does not look much distinct than the Golfing, but that’s good, simply because it really is in no way been a shouty motor vehicle. My Tornado Purple tester does grab some eyes with its paint coloration, but most of the things that sets the GTI aside will take some exertion to locate, like the slightly extra aggressive air intakes on the bumper, the wise variety of GTI badges or the trick purple things tucked into the LED headlights. Even the 18-inch alloy wheels are properly sized. It’s a look that flies less than the radar, which is good, simply because who truly demands extra points on their license?

My Autobahn-trim GTI foregoes the ubiquitous plaid seats in favor of something considerably fewer thrilling: black leather-based. Truthfully, that may be my most significant problem with the GTI. If it had been achievable to keep individuals excellent cloth seats on better trims, I would be a content camper. That mentioned, the leather-based-clad cushions are not undesirable, with plenty of aid and heaters that hearth up quite quickly in chilly weather conditions. The Golfing is an low-cost motor vehicle, but the interior is not accurately discount-basement establish high-quality is top rated-notch and most of the plastics are not offensively tough or ugly. A smattering of piano-black trim breaks up the dashboard’s monotony, much too.

From a family-motor vehicle viewpoint, there’s plenty to like about the GTI. The rear seats have sufficient space and the hatchback’s flat roof presents extra than enough headroom for all occupants. Its 16.5-cubic-foot cargo area is sufficiently sized for a family’s really worth of groceries or a couple suitcases. Tchotchke storage is a very little restricted, with sizable door pockets but cramped cubbies in the center console and less than the armrest. Skinny A-pillars and an upright human body signifies the GTI also provides up an remarkable watch, not only of the highway ahead but also in every other direction.

It’s tough not to have fun

Not every athletics motor vehicle demands some sky-high output figure to return a big variety of smiles per gallon. The GTI makes do with an volume that is not even thought of sporty in many cars: Its two.-liter turbocharged engine places out 228 horsepower and 258 pound-ft of torque, which is extra than enough to have a very good time. Pretty much every location on the tachometer is a very good starting place for fun, as the 4-pot spits out enough torque to force the GTI with enough haste, generating it uncomplicated to slide into website traffic from an on-ramp or shoot ahead at a green gentle. It’s an approachable type of powerband, much too, in no way experience like it really is overpowering the motor vehicle (or the driver). Even the exhaust notice is on the demure aspect, building enough bass to audio appealing without the need of so much as to notify the neighbors.

On my tester, that energy makes its way to the entrance wheels by way of a 6-speed guide transmission. The action in between the gears is a very little rubbery, but it really is not imprecise, accepting shifts no matter whether they arrive with haste or not. The clutch pedal provides just enough chunk-place comments to make easy commences achievable every time and the throttle manipulation in any car method is enough to assure rev-matched downshifts can be rattled off without the need of upsetting all people inside. The steering is direct, if a very little gentle, but it feels correctly matched to the relaxation of the GTI.

Like various other low-cost very good-time-mobiles, the GTI Autobahn packs a set of adaptive dampers. In Regular method, the suspension does a very good work protecting against most of the road’s nastier things from generating a mess of the journey high-quality, aided by summer tires that buck the pattern of removing undesired millimeters of sidewall. In Activity method and outside of, factors get… rigid, but that’s by style and design. If you want to shut the door on human body roll’s encounter, this is the way to do it, but as usually, there’s a journey-high-quality tradeoff involved. No subject the method, this entrance-drive very hot hatch is a perennial hoot. Toss it into a corner, cackle as the two-liter’s torque pulls you out the other aspect, rinse and repeat. It’s entrance-wheel drive, so there are quite several cases where overdriving benefits in anything other than a bit of understeer.

Despite a turbocharged engine that does not crack output data, the GTI is not the most successful hatchback on the block. The EPA estimates my tester at 24 miles per gallon city and 32 mpg highway. Even though my city overall economy lands nearer to 20 mpg, I have no problem stretching outside of the highway score, viewing up to 35 mpg if I sustain a gentle foot and steer clear of spooling up the turbocharger.

The GTI’s cabin provides excellent visibility and a uncomplicated layout.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Clear-cut, usable tech

All GTI trims make use of Volkswagen’s MIB II infotainment process, with the foundation product rocking a 6.5-inch touchscreen although SE and Autobahn variants sporting a fancier, glass-covered eight-inch screen. It’s an uncomplicated process to get applied to, with a uncomplicated layout and a rapid-entry dock that disappears from the monitor until finally your hand strategies. Navigation is obtainable on the much larger screen, and although the graphics may experience old, spot entry is uncomplicated (no matter whether using voice or the on-monitor keyboard) and it can even recommend endpoints based mostly on your prior action.

Buyers also get 5 free several years of VW’s Car-Net Remote Entry connected-motor vehicle tech, which permits proprietors to use a mobile application (obtainable on each telephones and smartwatches) to control the GTI’s door locks and headlights, and some models also include remote start out. A 4G LTE hotspot powered by Verizon Wireless is also obtainable, with pay as you go options costing about $20 per thirty day period.

For its remaining product calendar year, VW makes forward collision warning, blind location monitoring, computerized emergency braking and rear cross-website traffic notify typical on all GTI variants. My Autobahn tester further boosts security with typical adaptive cruise control, lane-holding assist and parking sensors. Nothing at all performs with much too large a hand even the lane-holding assist does a quite very good work of subtly switching car placement without the need of getting bothersome. There’s no superior lane-centering, highway-driving trickery below, but what does occur typical performs quite nicely for what it is.

VW’s in-motor vehicle infotainment has been freshened up a several moments in excess of the class of the seventh-era Golfing, and the up coming-gen GTI ought to insert even extra technological doodads.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Down to brass tacks

Even though a guide-transmission GTI S can be experienced for $29,690 (such as $995 for spot), the selling price can quickly access quasi-wonky heights, with my 6MT Autobahn rolling out of the dealership with a $37,940 selling price tag. There’s a very good offer of opposition in this phase. There are older guards like the Civic Si, which is down on energy but also down on selling price (and fun variable), but there’s neat new rivals on the horizon, like the Mazda3 Turbo, which will pack 250 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque in conjunction with all-wheel drive. The Subaru WRX is in there, much too, but with a new 1 on the way, it may be really worth keeping off — then once again, the similar can be mentioned of the GTI.

It’s usually a disgrace to say goodbye to a beloved product, but there’s no require to weep in excess of the 2021 Volkswagen GTI. Even though it remains 1 of my preferred cars thanks to its equal-dose blend of pragmatism and pleasure, there’s a brand new 1 on the horizon and it really is likely to take all the very good parts of the recent product although improving the aesthetics, technology and extra. But for now, the recent product scratches just about every itch there is.