2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI review: Parting is such sweet sorrow

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

Farewell, warm hatch.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

The Volkswagen Golfing GTI is one particular of the all-time greats, spending 7 generations in the sweet place among every day usability and an old-fashioned excellent time. In its last year just before the introduction of an all-new 8 technology, the Golf’s warm-hatch variant continues to remind us why it stays a darling of critics and motor vehicle geeks alike.


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

Don’t Like

  • 1 USB port
  • Can press into costly territory
  • Just-Ok fuel financial state

Unassuming getup

The GTI will not seem a lot distinctive than the Golfing, but that’s fine, since it truly is hardly ever been a shouty motor vehicle. My Twister Pink tester does get some eyes with its paint colour, but most of the things that sets the GTI apart normally takes some effort to find, like the a little bit far more intense air intakes on the bumper, the smart range of GTI badges or the trick pink aspects tucked into the LED headlights. Even the 18-inch alloy wheels are correctly sized. It truly is a seem that flies less than the radar, which is fine, since who genuinely wants far more points on their license?

My Autobahn-trim GTI foregoes the ubiquitous plaid seats in favor of a little something significantly less fascinating: black leather. Truthfully, that might be my greatest challenge with the GTI. If it ended up possible to keep these exceptional cloth seats on larger trims, I’d be a joyful camper. That mentioned, the leather-clad cushions usually are not undesirable, with a good deal of support and heaters that hearth up really swiftly in chilly weather. The Golfing is an low-cost motor vehicle, but the interior isn’t really precisely discount-basement create excellent is leading-notch and most of the plastics usually are not offensively tricky or unsightly. A smattering of piano-black trim breaks up the dashboard’s monotony, way too.

From a relatives-motor vehicle perspective, there is certainly a good deal to like about the GTI. The rear seats have ample area and the hatchback’s flat roof supplies far more than enough headroom for all occupants. Its 16.five-cubic-foot cargo space is sufficiently sized for a family’s really worth of groceries or a few suitcases. Tchotchke storage is a minor confined, with sizable doorway pockets but cramped cubbies in the middle console and less than the armrest. Slender A-pillars and an upright system means the GTI also provides up an outstanding look at, not only of the highway ahead but also in each other course.

It truly is tricky not to have pleasurable

Not each sports activities motor vehicle wants some sky-significant output determine to return a significant range of smiles for each gallon. The GTI will make do with an quantity that isn’t really even regarded as sporty in many autos: Its two.-liter turbocharged motor puts out 228 horsepower and 258 pound-toes of torque, which is far more than enough to have a excellent time. Almost each place on the tachometer is a excellent setting up stage for pleasurable, as the 4-pot spits out enough torque to press the GTI with enough haste, building it straightforward to slide into targeted traffic from an on-ramp or shoot ahead at a green light. It truly is an approachable kind of powerband, way too, hardly ever feeling like it truly is too much to handle the motor vehicle (or the driver). Even the exhaust observe is on the demure side, making enough bass to sound fascinating without so a lot as to notify the neighbors.

On my tester, that energy will make its way to the entrance wheels by a six-speed manual transmission. The action among the gears is a minor rubbery, but it truly is not imprecise, accepting shifts irrespective of whether they arrive with haste or not. The clutch pedal provides just enough bite-stage suggestions to make easy begins possible each time and the throttle manipulation in any motor vehicle mode is enough to make sure rev-matched downshifts can be rattled off without upsetting everyone inside of. The steering is immediate, if a minor light, but it feels beautifully matched to the rest of the GTI.

Like various other low-cost excellent-time-mobiles, the GTI Autobahn packs a set of adaptive dampers. In Usual mode, the suspension does a excellent occupation protecting against most of the road’s nastier aspects from building a mess of the journey excellent, aided by summer time tires that buck the trend of reducing unwanted millimeters of sidewall. In Activity mode and beyond, points get… stiff, but that’s by structure. If you want to shut the doorway on system roll’s encounter, this is the way to do it, but as usually, there is certainly a journey-excellent tradeoff associated. No make a difference the mode, this entrance-travel warm hatch is a perennial hoot. Toss it into a corner, cackle as the two-liter’s torque pulls you out the other side, rinse and repeat. It truly is entrance-wheel travel, so there are pretty couple of predicaments the place overdriving outcomes in nearly anything other than a little bit of understeer.

Despite a turbocharged motor that will not crack output documents, the GTI isn’t really the most productive hatchback on the block. The EPA estimates my tester at 24 miles for each gallon metropolis and 32 mpg highway. While my metropolis financial state lands nearer to twenty mpg, I have no challenge stretching beyond the highway score, viewing up to 35 mpg if I preserve a light foot and steer clear of spooling up the turbocharger.

The GTI’s cabin provides exceptional visibility and a easy structure.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Simple, usable tech

All GTI trims make use of Volkswagen’s MIB II infotainment process, with the base product rocking a 6.five-inch touchscreen whilst SE and Autobahn variants sporting a fancier, glass-included eight-inch display screen. It truly is an straightforward process to get utilized to, with a easy structure and a fast-accessibility dock that disappears from the display screen right up until your hand strategies. Navigation is accessible on the larger sized display screen, and whilst the graphics might feel old, vacation spot entry is straightforward (irrespective of whether using voice or the on-display screen keyboard) and it can even endorse endpoints based mostly on your prior exercise.

Prospective buyers also get five cost-free years of VW’s Automobile-Net Distant Access linked-motor vehicle tech, which will allow entrepreneurs to use a cellular application (accessible on the two phones and smartwatches) to manage the GTI’s doorway locks and headlights, and some types also consist of distant commence. A 4G LTE hotspot run by Verizon Wireless is also accessible, with prepaid strategies costing about $twenty for each month.

For its last product year, VW will make forward collision warning, blind place checking, computerized emergency braking and rear cross-targeted traffic notify standard on all GTI variants. My Autobahn tester even further boosts safety with standard adaptive cruise manage, lane-holding guide and parking sensors. Absolutely nothing functions with way too major a hand even the lane-holding guide does a really excellent occupation of subtly modifying motor vehicle situation without becoming bothersome. You can find no state-of-the-art lane-centering, highway-driving trickery listed here, but what does come standard functions pretty perfectly for what it is.

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

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Down to brass tacks

While a manual-transmission GTI S can be had for $29,690 (including $995 for vacation spot), the selling price can swiftly get to quasi-wonky heights, with my 6MT Autobahn rolling out of the dealership with a $37,940 selling price tag. You can find a excellent deal of levels of competition in this phase. There are older guards like the Civic Si, which is down on energy but also down on selling price (and pleasurable 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 travel. The Subaru WRX is in there, way too, but with a new one particular on the way, it might be really worth keeping off — then once more, the identical can be mentioned of the GTI.

It truly is usually a shame to say goodbye to a beloved product, but there is certainly no will need to weep above the 2021 Volkswagen GTI. While it stays one particular of my favored autos thanks to its equivalent-dose mix of pragmatism and pleasure, there is certainly a brand new one particular on the horizon and it truly is very likely to just take all the excellent elements of the existing product whilst boosting the aesthetics, technological innovation and far more. But for now, the existing product scratches just about each itch there is.