2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI review: Parting is such sweet sorrow – Roadshow

Farewell, scorching hatch. 

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

The Volkswagen Golf GTI is one in every of the all-time greats, spending seven generations in the candy location between day-to-day usability and an ragged-genuine safe time. In its closing year sooner than the introduction of an all-new eight generation, the Golf’s scorching-hatch variant continues to remind us why it stays a darling of critics and automobile geeks alike.


  • Hatchback capaciousness
  • Fun and pragmatism in equal doses
  • Fetch cabin tech

Fabricate no longer Love

  • One USB port
  • Can push into expensive territory
  • Merely-OK gasoline economic system

Unassuming getup

The GTI would no longer watch considerable diversified than the Golf, nonetheless that is gorgeous, because it be below no circumstances been a shouty automobile. My Twister Red tester does eradicate some eyes with its paint color, nonetheless many of the stuff that items the GTI apart takes some effort to search out, devour the a minute bit extra aggressive air intakes on the bumper, the edifying decision of GTI badges or the trick purple aspects tucked into the LED headlights. Even the 18-sprint alloy wheels are correctly sized. It is some distance a look that flies below the radar, which is k, because who in point of fact desires extra aspects on their license?

My Autobahn-gorgeous GTI foregoes the ubiquitous plaid seats in desire of something some distance simpler: dusky leather. Honestly, that will per chance merely be my biggest self-discipline with the GTI. If it had been doubtless to protect those gorgeous cloth seats on greater trims, I’d be a tickled camper. That said, the leather-clad cushions are no longer hideous, with a couple of enhance and heaters that fireplace up gorgeous instant in wintry weather. The Golf is an inexpensive automobile, nonetheless the interior is rarely in point of fact exactly prick rate-basement; construct optimistic is noble and a couple of the plastics are no longer offensively no longer easy or shocking. A smattering of piano-dusky gorgeous breaks up the dashboard’s monotony, too.

From a family-automobile perspective, there would possibly be lots to devour regarding the GTI. The rear seats enjoy gigantic dwelling and the hatchback’s flat roof gives extra than ample headroom for all occupants. Its 16.5-cubic-foot cargo affirm is sufficiently sized for a family’s rate of groceries or a pair suitcases. Tchotchke storage is rather small, with enormous door pockets nonetheless tiny cubbies in the middle console and below the armrest. Skinny A-pillars and an comely physique means the GTI additionally gives up a formidable search for, no longer simplest of the boulevard ahead nonetheless additionally in every other path.

It is no longer easy now to no longer enjoy stress-free

Not every sports automobile desires some sky-high output settle to return a sizable decision of smiles per gallon. The GTI makes stop with an amount that won’t in point of fact even idea of sporty in many automobiles: Its 2.0-liter turbocharged engine places out 228 horsepower and 258 pound-toes of torque, which is extra than ample to enjoy a correct time. Almost every location on the tachometer is a correct starting up level for stress-free, as the four-pot spits out ample torque to push the GTI with ample haste, making it straightforward to scamper into site visitors from an on-ramp or shoot ahead at a green light. It is an approachable extra or less powerband, too, below no circumstances feeling devour it be overwhelming the car (or the driver). Even the use model is on the demure aspect, producing ample bass to sound attention-grabbing without so considerable as to alert the neighbors.

On my tester, that vitality makes its attain to the entrance wheels by a six-scoot manual transmission. The dart between the gears is rather rubbery, nonetheless it be no longer imprecise, accepting shifts whether they advance with haste or no longer. The take hang of pedal gives true ample chunk-level suggestions to form soft starts doubtless at any time when and the throttle manipulation in any automobile mode is ample to form obvious rev-matched downshifts would possibly per chance merely also be rattled off without upsetting all and sundry within. The steering is impart, if rather light, nonetheless it feels perfectly matched to the remainder of the GTI.

Love several other inexpensive safe-time-mobiles, the GTI Autobahn packs a affirm of adaptive dampers. In Customary mode, the suspension does a correct job combating many of the boulevard’s nastier aspects from making a huge amount of the jog optimistic, aided by summer tires that buck the pattern of removing undesirable millimeters of sidewall. In Sport mode and past, things gather… stiff, nonetheless that is by construct. Within the event you take to enjoy to shut the door on physique roll’s face, here is the attain to stop it, nonetheless as frequently, there would possibly be a jog-optimistic tradeoff fervent. No topic the mode, this entrance-force scorching hatch is a perennial hoot. Toss it trusty into a nook, cackle as the two-liter’s torque pulls you out the different aspect, rinse and repeat. It is entrance-wheel force, so there are completely a pair of cases where overdriving ends in anything other than rather of understeer.

Despite a turbocharged engine that would no longer smash output records, the GTI is rarely in point of fact the most attention-grabbing hatchback on the block. The EPA estimates my tester at 24 miles per gallon city and 32 mpg toll road. While my city economic system lands closer to 20 mpg, I don’t enjoy any self-discipline stretching past the toll road ranking, seeing as a lot as 35 mpg if I retain a gentle foot and steer obvious of spooling up the turbocharger.

The GTI’s cabin gives gorgeous visibility and an effortless layout. 

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Straightforward, usable tech

All GTI trims form exercise of Volkswagen‘s MIB II infotainment machine, with the tainted mannequin rocking a 6.5-sprint touchscreen whereas SE and Autobahn variants wearing a fancier, glass-lined 8-sprint demonstrate. It is an effortless machine to assemble former to, with a straightforward layout and a instant-gather admission to dock that disappears from the display unless your hand approaches. Navigation is accessible on the increased demonstrate, and whereas the graphics would possibly per chance feel ragged, fade location entry is easy (whether the exercise of recount or the on-display keyboard) and it must even counsel endpoints in accordance along with your prior process.

Buyers additionally gather 5 free years of VW’s Automobile-Win Remote Win admission to connected-automobile tech, which enables householders to make exercise of a mobile app (accessible on each telephones and smartwatches) to manipulate the GTI’s door locks and headlights, and a few models additionally embody distant delivery. A 4G LTE hotspot powered by Verizon Wi-fi is additionally accessible, with prepaid plans costing about $20 monthly.

For its closing mannequin year, VW makes ahead collision warning, blind location monitoring, automatic emergency braking and rear atrocious-site visitors alert in fashion on all GTI variants. My Autobahn tester additional enhances security with in fashion adaptive cruise adjust, lane-retaining reduction and parking sensors. Nothing works with too heavy a hand; even the lane-retaining reduction does a beautiful safe job of subtly changing automobile affirm without being disturbing. There is no effective lane-centering, toll road-driving trickery here, nonetheless what does come in fashion works very effectively for what it is.

VW’s in-automobile infotainment has been freshened up a pair of cases over the route of the seventh-generation Golf, and the next-gen GTI would possibly per chance merely smooth add even extra technological doodads. 

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Down to brass tacks

While a manual-transmission GTI S would possibly per chance merely also be had for $29,690 (including $995 for fade location), the model can instant attain quasi-wonky heights, with my 6MT Autobahn rolling out of the dealership with a $37,940 model imprint. There is a correct deal of opponents in this section. There are older guards devour the Civic Si, which is down on vitality nonetheless additionally down on model (and stress-free tell), nonetheless there would possibly be orderly new rivals on the horizon, devour the Mazda3 Turbo, that will pack 250 hp and 320 lb-toes of torque along with all-wheel force. The Subaru WRX is in there, too, nonetheless with a brand new one on the attain, it could in point of fact per chance merely be rate retaining off — nonetheless, the same would possibly per chance merely also be said of the GTI.

It is frequently a disgrace to express goodbye to a most genuine mannequin, nonetheless there is no enjoy to shout over the 2021 Volkswagen GTI. While it stays one in every of my celebrated automobiles thanks to its equal-dose mix of pragmatism and pleasure, there would possibly be a model new one on the horizon and it be at risk of take the total safe parts of the fresh mannequin whereas making improvements to the aesthetics, technology and extra. Nevertheless for now, the fresh mannequin scratches true about every itch there is.




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