2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI review: Parting is such sweet sorrow

Farewell, hot hatch.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

The Volkswagen Golfing GTI is 1 of the all-time greats, investing 7 generations in the sweet place among daily usability and an outdated-fashioned very good time. In its final 12 months ahead of the introduction of an all-new 8 technology, the Golf’s hot-hatch variant proceeds to remind us why it stays a darling of critics and automobile geeks alike.


  • Hatchback capaciousness
  • Enjoyment and pragmatism in equivalent doses
  • Solid cabin tech

Never Like

  • A person USB port
  • Can press into pricey territory
  • Just-Okay fuel economic system

Unassuming getup

The GTI would not look significantly different than the Golfing, but that is high-quality, simply because it really is in no way been a shouty automobile. My Twister Purple tester does seize some eyes with its paint colour, but most of the stuff that sets the GTI aside takes some hard work to locate, like the a little extra intense air intakes on the bumper, the smart selection of GTI badges or the trick crimson aspects tucked into the LED headlights. Even the 18-inch alloy wheels are correctly sized. It really is a look that flies beneath the radar, which is high-quality, simply because who really requirements extra points on their license?

My Autobahn-trim GTI foregoes the ubiquitous plaid seats in favor of a thing significantly much less interesting: black leather. Actually, that could be my largest dilemma with the GTI. If it have been probable to retain these great fabric seats on increased trims, I would be a delighted camper. That explained, the leather-clad cushions are not lousy, with a great deal of guidance and heaters that hearth up pretty speedily in chilly weather. The Golfing is an affordable automobile, but the inside just isn’t specifically deal-basement develop good quality is major-notch and most of the plastics are not offensively challenging or unpleasant. A smattering of piano-black trim breaks up the dashboard’s monotony, much too.

From a relatives-automobile point of view, there is a great deal to like about the GTI. The rear seats have sufficient house and the hatchback’s flat roof supplies extra than plenty of headroom for all occupants. Its sixteen.5-cubic-foot cargo location is adequately sized for a family’s really worth of groceries or a couple suitcases. Tchotchke storage is a minimal confined, with sizable doorway pockets but cramped cubbies in the centre console and beneath the armrest. Slender A-pillars and an upright human body suggests the GTI also presents up an impressive check out, not only of the road forward but also in each other way.

It really is challenging not to have entertaining

Not each sporting activities automobile requirements some sky-large output figure to return a huge selection of smiles per gallon. The GTI can make do with an total that just isn’t even viewed as sporty in many automobiles: Its two.-liter turbocharged engine places out 228 horsepower and 258 pound-ft of torque, which is extra than plenty of to have a very good time. Virtually each place on the tachometer is a very good commencing place for entertaining, as the four-pot spits out plenty of torque to press the GTI with enough haste, generating it effortless to slide into targeted visitors from an on-ramp or shoot forward at a green mild. It really is an approachable variety of powerband, much too, in no way feeling like it really is overpowering the automobile (or the driver). Even the exhaust be aware is on the demure facet, building plenty of bass to sound interesting with no so significantly as to warn the neighbors.

On my tester, that electrical power can make its way to the front wheels by way of a six-pace handbook transmission. The action among the gears is a minimal rubbery, but it really is not imprecise, accepting shifts whether they arrive with haste or not. The clutch pedal presents just plenty of bite-place opinions to make smooth starts probable each time and the throttle manipulation in any car or truck mode is enough to assure rev-matched downshifts can be rattled off with no upsetting everyone within. The steering is direct, if a minimal mild, but it feels flawlessly matched to the rest of the GTI.

Like a number of other affordable very good-time-mobiles, the GTI Autobahn packs a set of adaptive dampers. In Usual mode, the suspension does a very good work preventing most of the road’s nastier aspects from generating a mess of the experience good quality, aided by summer tires that buck the development of doing away with unwelcome millimeters of sidewall. In Activity mode and further than, factors get… rigid, but that is by design and style. If you want to shut the doorway on human body roll’s experience, this is the way to do it, but as constantly, there is a experience-good quality tradeoff included. No issue the mode, this front-drive hot hatch is a perennial hoot. Toss it into a corner, cackle as the two-liter’s torque pulls you out the other facet, rinse and repeat. It really is front-wheel drive, so there are very couple situations where by overdriving success in anything other than a little bit of understeer.

Despite a turbocharged engine that would not split output data, the GTI just isn’t the most successful hatchback on the block. The EPA estimates my tester at 24 miles per gallon city and 32 mpg highway. Although my city economic system lands closer to twenty mpg, I have no dilemma stretching further than the highway ranking, seeing up to 35 mpg if I keep a mild foot and avoid spooling up the turbocharger.

The GTI’s cabin presents great visibility and a straightforward format.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Uncomplicated, usable tech

All GTI trims make use of Volkswagen’s MIB II infotainment program, with the base model rocking a six.5-inch touchscreen although SE and Autobahn variants sporting a fancier, glass-coated eight-inch display. It really is an effortless program to get made use of to, with a straightforward format and a swift-obtain dock that disappears from the display right until your hand approaches. Navigation is accessible on the bigger display, and although the graphics could really feel outdated, location entry is effortless (whether utilizing voice or the on-display keyboard) and it can even suggest endpoints primarily based on your prior action.

Purchasers also get five no cost many years of VW’s Automobile-Internet Distant Entry linked-automobile tech, which enables proprietors to use a cell application (accessible on the two phones and smartwatches) to regulate the GTI’s doorway locks and headlights, and some types also contain remote start off. A 4G LTE hotspot powered by Verizon Wireless is also accessible, with pay as you go plans costing about $twenty per month.

For its final model 12 months, VW can make ahead collision warning, blind place checking, computerized crisis braking and rear cross-targeted visitors warn common on all GTI variants. My Autobahn tester further enhances security with common adaptive cruise regulate, lane-preserving assist and parking sensors. Practically nothing performs with much too weighty a hand even the lane-preserving assist does a pretty very good work of subtly shifting car or truck posture with no getting frustrating. You will find no highly developed lane-centering, highway-driving trickery listed here, but what does occur common performs very effectively for what it is.

VW’s in-automobile infotainment has been freshened up a couple occasions over the course of the seventh-technology Golfing, and the next-gen GTI should really include even extra technological doodads.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Down to brass tacks

Although a handbook-transmission GTI S can be had for $29,690 (which include $995 for location), the selling price can speedily access quasi-wonky heights, with my 6MT Autobahn rolling out of the dealership with a $37,940 selling price tag. You will find a very good deal of opposition in this segment. There are older guards like the Civic Si, which is down on electrical power but also down on selling price (and entertaining aspect), but there is 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 could be really worth holding off — then yet again, the same can be explained of the GTI.

It really is constantly a disgrace to say goodbye to a beloved model, but there is no need to weep over the 2021 Volkswagen GTI. Although it stays 1 of my preferred automobiles many thanks to its equivalent-dose mix of pragmatism and pleasure, there is a brand new 1 on the horizon and it really is most likely to consider all the very good areas of the current model although improving the aesthetics, technologies and extra. But for now, the current model scratches just about each itch there is. 

Maria J. Danford

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