October 23, 2020


Born to play

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI review: Parting is such sweet sorrow

Farewell, sizzling hatch. Andrew Krok/Roadshow The Volkswagen Golfing GTI is one of the all-time greats,...

Farewell, sizzling hatch.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

The Volkswagen Golfing GTI is one of the all-time greats, paying out 7 generations in the sweet location amongst day by day usability and an outdated-fashioned very good time. In its last year prior to the introduction of an all-new eight era, the Golf’s sizzling-hatch variant proceeds to remind us why it remains a darling of critics and motor vehicle geeks alike.


  • Hatchback capaciousness
  • Fun and pragmatism in equivalent doses
  • Stable cabin tech

Do not Like

  • A person USB port
  • Can drive into highly-priced territory
  • Just-Ok gas economic climate

Unassuming getup

The GTI doesn’t look a lot unique than the Golfing, but that is fantastic, since it is never been a shouty motor vehicle. My Twister Red tester does seize some eyes with its paint coloration, but most of the things that sets the GTI aside can take some effort to find, like the slightly much more aggressive air intakes on the bumper, the practical number of GTI badges or the trick purple features tucked into the LED headlights. Even the eighteen-inch alloy wheels are appropriately sized. It truly is a look that flies under the radar, which is fantastic, since who seriously needs much more factors on their license?

My Autobahn-trim GTI foregoes the ubiquitous plaid seats in favor of one thing far considerably less remarkable: black leather-based. Truthfully, that could be my most important trouble with the GTI. If it ended up possible to keep these outstanding cloth seats on larger trims, I’d be a satisfied camper. That reported, the leather-based-clad cushions aren’t terrible, with loads of assistance and heaters that fire up fairly promptly in chilly temperature. The Golfing is an cheap motor vehicle, but the interior is not exactly discount-basement establish high quality is top rated-notch and most of the plastics aren’t offensively tricky or unattractive. A smattering of piano-black trim breaks up the dashboard’s monotony, way too.

From a household-motor vehicle standpoint, there is certainly loads to like about the GTI. The rear seats have sufficient space and the hatchback’s flat roof supplies much more than plenty of headroom for all occupants. Its 16.5-cubic-foot cargo spot is sufficiently sized for a family’s worthy of of groceries or a few suitcases. Tchotchke storage is a tiny constrained, with sizable doorway pockets but cramped cubbies in the heart console and under the armrest. Slim A-pillars and an upright system implies the GTI also offers up an remarkable perspective, not only of the street ahead but also in just about every other way.

It truly is tricky not to have entertaining

Not just about every athletics motor vehicle needs some sky-superior output figure to return a big number of smiles for every gallon. The GTI helps make do with an amount of money that is not even thought of sporty in a lot of automobiles: Its two.-liter turbocharged engine places out 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, which is much more than plenty of to have a very good time. Almost just about every location on the tachometer is a very good beginning place for entertaining, as the 4-pot spits out plenty of torque to drive the GTI with ample haste, making it effortless to slide into visitors from an on-ramp or shoot ahead at a inexperienced light. It truly is an approachable type of powerband, way too, never emotion like it is overpowering the motor vehicle (or the driver). Even the exhaust be aware is on the demure aspect, creating plenty of bass to audio intriguing without so a lot as to inform the neighbors.

On my tester, that energy helps make its way to the front wheels by a six-speed handbook transmission. The motion amongst the gears is a tiny rubbery, but it is not imprecise, accepting shifts no matter if they arrive with haste or not. The clutch pedal offers just plenty of chunk-place responses to make clean begins possible just about every time and the throttle manipulation in any motor vehicle mode is ample to be certain rev-matched downshifts can be rattled off without upsetting everyone inside of. The steering is immediate, if a tiny light, but it feels completely matched to the relaxation of the GTI.

Like several other cheap very good-time-mobiles, the GTI Autobahn packs a established of adaptive dampers. In Typical mode, the suspension does a very good occupation stopping most of the road’s nastier features from making a mess of the experience high quality, aided by summer season tires that buck the trend of eliminating unwanted millimeters of sidewall. In Sport mode and over and above, points get… stiff, but that is by design and style. If you want to shut the doorway on system roll’s experience, this is the way to do it, but as usually, there is certainly a experience-high quality tradeoff concerned. No subject the mode, this front-generate sizzling 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 truly is front-wheel generate, so there are really couple of predicaments in which overdriving success in anything at all other than a bit of understeer.

Inspite of a turbocharged engine that doesn’t crack output data, the GTI is not the most productive hatchback on the block. The EPA estimates my tester at 24 miles for every gallon city and 32 mpg highway. Whilst my city economic climate lands nearer to twenty mpg, I have no trouble stretching over and above the highway rating, seeing up to 35 mpg if I sustain a light foot and prevent spooling up the turbocharger.

The GTI’s cabin offers outstanding visibility and a uncomplicated structure.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Simple, usable tech

All GTI trims make use of Volkswagen’s MIB II infotainment method, with the base design rocking a six.5-inch touchscreen though SE and Autobahn variants sporting a fancier, glass-protected eight-inch show. It truly is an effortless method to get employed to, with a uncomplicated structure and a brief-obtain dock that disappears from the display till your hand approaches. Navigation is available on the greater show, and though the graphics could experience outdated, location entry is effortless (no matter if utilizing voice or the on-display keyboard) and it can even propose endpoints based mostly on your prior action.

Consumers also get five cost-free many years of VW’s Car or truck-Web Remote Access related-motor vehicle tech, which allows homeowners to use a cell application (available on both phones and smartwatches) to control the GTI’s doorway locks and headlights, and some versions also contain remote begin. A 4G LTE hotspot powered by Verizon Wi-fi is also available, with prepaid programs costing about $twenty for every month.

For its last design year, VW helps make ahead collision warning, blind location checking, automatic emergency braking and rear cross-visitors inform standard on all GTI variants. My Autobahn tester even more boosts security with standard adaptive cruise control, lane-trying to keep help and parking sensors. Practically nothing will work with way too hefty a hand even the lane-trying to keep help does a fairly very good occupation of subtly shifting motor vehicle position without currently being bothersome. There is no state-of-the-art lane-centering, highway-driving trickery right here, but what does appear standard will work really effectively for what it is.

VW’s in-motor vehicle infotainment has been freshened up a couple of instances above the training course of the seventh-era Golfing, and the subsequent-gen GTI ought to insert even much more technological doodads.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Down to brass tacks

Whilst a handbook-transmission GTI S can be experienced for $29,690 (including $995 for location), the price can promptly reach quasi-wonky heights, with my 6MT Autobahn rolling out of the dealership with a $37,940 price tag. There is a very good offer of opposition in this section. There are older guards like the Civic Si, which is down on energy but also down on price (and entertaining variable), but there is certainly 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 generate. The Subaru WRX is in there, way too, but with a new one on the way, it could be worthy of keeping off — then yet again, the identical can be reported of the GTI.

It truly is usually a disgrace to say goodbye to a beloved design, but there is certainly no need to weep above the 2021 Volkswagen GTI. Whilst it remains one of my favored automobiles thanks to its equivalent-dose blend of pragmatism and enjoyment, there is certainly a manufacturer new one on the horizon and it is likely to just take all the very good areas of the existing design though improving the aesthetics, technological know-how and much more. But for now, the existing design scratches just about just about every itch there is.