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2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI review: Parting is such sweet sorrow

Farewell, hot hatch. Andrew Krok/Roadshow The Volkswagen Golfing GTI is a single of the all-time...

Farewell, hot hatch.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

The Volkswagen Golfing GTI is a single of the all-time greats, expending seven generations in the sweet spot between day by day usability and an old-fashioned fantastic time. In its last 12 months in advance of the introduction of an all-new 8 generation, the Golf’s hot-hatch variant carries on to remind us why it stays a darling of critics and vehicle geeks alike.


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

Don’t Like

  • A person USB port
  • Can drive into expensive territory
  • Just-Okay fuel economic system

Unassuming getup

The GTI does not seem considerably unique than the Golfing, but that’s fantastic, simply because it is under no circumstances been a shouty vehicle. My Twister Crimson tester does get some eyes with its paint color, but most of the stuff that sets the GTI apart usually takes some effort to obtain, like the a bit far more intense air intakes on the bumper, the practical range of GTI badges or the trick crimson things tucked into the LED headlights. Even the 18-inch alloy wheels are appropriately sized. It truly is a seem that flies underneath the radar, which is fantastic, simply because who actually desires far more details on their license?

My Autobahn-trim GTI foregoes the ubiquitous plaid seats in favor of a thing far a lot less exciting: black leather. Honestly, that might be my biggest dilemma with the GTI. If it ended up possible to retain these fantastic cloth seats on larger trims, I would be a delighted camper. That claimed, the leather-clad cushions aren’t terrible, with a great deal of guidance and heaters that fireplace up fairly immediately in chilly weather. The Golfing is an reasonably priced vehicle, but the inside is just not precisely cut price-basement construct high-quality is top rated-notch and most of the plastics aren’t offensively tricky or unsightly. A smattering of piano-black trim breaks up the dashboard’s monotony, also.

From a relatives-vehicle viewpoint, you can find a great deal to like about the GTI. The rear seats have ample area and the hatchback’s flat roof offers far more than sufficient headroom for all occupants. Its sixteen.5-cubic-foot cargo region is adequately sized for a family’s worth of groceries or a pair suitcases. Tchotchke storage is a small confined, with sizable doorway pockets but cramped cubbies in the centre console and underneath the armrest. Thin A-pillars and an upright system implies the GTI also provides up an amazing watch, not only of the road forward but also in each other way.

It truly is tricky not to have enjoyable

Not each athletics vehicle desires some sky-superior output figure to return a massive range of smiles per gallon. The GTI makes do with an total that is just not even deemed sporty in several autos: Its 2.-liter turbocharged engine places out 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, which is far more than sufficient to have a fantastic time. Practically each spot on the tachometer is a fantastic beginning place for enjoyable, as the 4-pot spits out sufficient torque to drive the GTI with enough haste, earning it simple to slide into targeted visitors from an on-ramp or shoot forward at a inexperienced mild. It truly is an approachable kind of powerband, also, under no circumstances sensation like it is mind-boggling the vehicle (or the driver). Even the exhaust take note is on the demure facet, producing sufficient bass to audio fascinating without the need of so considerably as to inform the neighbors.

On my tester, that electric power makes its way to the entrance wheels by means of a 6-pace handbook transmission. The action between the gears is a small rubbery, but it is not imprecise, accepting shifts regardless of whether they get there with haste or not. The clutch pedal provides just sufficient chunk-place opinions to make smooth commences possible each time and the throttle manipulation in any auto method is enough to be certain rev-matched downshifts can be rattled off without the need of upsetting every person within. The steering is immediate, if a small mild, but it feels beautifully matched to the relaxation of the GTI.

Like many other reasonably priced fantastic-time-mobiles, the GTI Autobahn packs a set of adaptive dampers. In Normal method, the suspension does a fantastic work preventing most of the road’s nastier things from earning a mess of the journey high-quality, aided by summertime tires that buck the trend of eliminating unwelcome millimeters of sidewall. In Sport method and outside of, issues get… rigid, but that’s 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 generally, you can find a journey-high-quality tradeoff included. No issue the method, this entrance-push 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 truly is entrance-wheel push, so there are incredibly couple of predicaments where by overdriving success in something other than a bit of understeer.

Regardless of a turbocharged engine that does not crack output documents, the GTI is just not the most productive hatchback on the block. The EPA estimates my tester at 24 miles per gallon town and 32 mpg freeway. When my town economic system lands nearer to twenty mpg, I have no dilemma stretching outside of the freeway ranking, viewing up to 35 mpg if I maintain a mild foot and stay clear of spooling up the turbocharger.

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

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Easy, 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-included eight-inch display. It truly is an simple method to get employed to, with a uncomplicated layout and a speedy-accessibility dock that disappears from the display until eventually your hand methods. Navigation is obtainable on the larger display, and though the graphics might really feel old, vacation spot entry is simple (regardless of whether making use of voice or the on-display keyboard) and it can even propose endpoints centered on your prior exercise.

Prospective buyers also get 5 free decades of VW’s Car-Web Remote Access linked-vehicle tech, which enables entrepreneurs to use a cell application (obtainable on both equally telephones and smartwatches) to manage the GTI’s doorway locks and headlights, and some designs also include remote begin. A 4G LTE hotspot powered by Verizon Wi-fi is also obtainable, with prepaid designs costing about $twenty per thirty day period.

For its last design 12 months, VW makes forward collision warning, blind spot checking, computerized emergency braking and rear cross-targeted visitors inform normal on all GTI variants. My Autobahn tester more boosts safety with normal adaptive cruise manage, lane-keeping help and parking sensors. Practically nothing operates with also large a hand even the lane-keeping help does a fairly fantastic work of subtly transforming auto posture without the need of staying bothersome. There’s no advanced lane-centering, freeway-driving trickery listed here, but what does appear normal operates incredibly very well for what it is.

VW’s in-vehicle infotainment has been freshened up a couple of periods over the study course of the seventh-generation Golfing, and the subsequent-gen GTI should really include even far more technological doodads.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Down to brass tacks

When a handbook-transmission GTI S can be had for $29,690 (such as $995 for vacation spot), the price tag can immediately get to quasi-wonky heights, with my 6MT Autobahn rolling out of the dealership with a $37,940 price tag tag. There’s a fantastic offer of competition in this segment. There are more mature guards like the Civic Si, which is down on electric power but also down on price tag (and enjoyable component), but you can find 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 push. The Subaru WRX is in there, also, but with a new a single on the way, it might be worth keeping off — then yet again, the very same can be claimed of the GTI.

It truly is generally a disgrace to say goodbye to a beloved design, but you can find no need to have to weep over the 2021 Volkswagen GTI. When it stays a single of my beloved autos thanks to its equivalent-dose mix of pragmatism and pleasure, you can find a brand name new a single on the horizon and it is possible to acquire all the fantastic components of the existing design though enhancing the aesthetics, engineering and far more. But for now, the existing design scratches just about each itch there is.