2021 Volkswagen Golf

MSRP $23,195 - $37,745

Ranked #1 in Hatchback

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2021 Volkswagen Golf Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: August 21, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


The Golf has always been that car that defines what Volkswagen is and has always been an important car for them throughout history. It certainly is the bread earner for the automaker internationally but has been failing to garner attention in its basic avatar in the US market. As to that, the brand is now planning the phasing out of the regular version by this year’s end giving more priority to the hotter GTI’s and R’s. But that hasn't stopped Volkswagen from giving this car one last proper goodbye. For that, the 2021 Golf TSI now comes with an fascinating list of standard features which include bigger wheels, more tech and even a full-size panoramic glass roof.

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See detailed review »

Pros

Precise steering

Excellent ride and handling

Roomy and versatile cabin

Cons

Small touchscreen

Aged tech

Not that powerful

What's New?

The basic 2021 Golf TSI gets a bunch of new and exciting standard features 

16-inch alloy wheels, hands-free entry system

Leatherette upholstery, and a panoramic sunroof


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$23195

bodystyle

4dr Hatchback

passenger capacity

5

top speed

155 mph

drivetrain

front wheel drive

engine type

displacement

85 cu.in.

horsepower

147 hp @ 5000 rpm

torque

184 lb.-ft.. @ 1400 rpm

transmission

6 speed Manual

chassis

suspension front

Independent front strut suspension w/anti-roll bar

brake rotors (f/r)

11.3/10.7 in.

dimensions

wheelbase

103.8 in.

length

167.6 in.

width

70.8 in.

height

58.2 in.

curb weight

2963 lbs.

ground clearance

5.4 in.

capacity

passenger volume

93.5 cu ft.

cargo volume

53.7 cu ft.

towing capacity

3500 lbs.

payload capacity

1021 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

5.6 sec.

warranty

basic warranty

4 yr./ 50000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

4 yr./ 50000 mi.

corrosion warranty

7 yr./ 100000 mi.

roadside assistance

Yes


Pictures & Videos


Trims

Base$23,195 onwards

Autobahn$37,745 onwards

Colors and Styles

2021 Volkswagen Golf in Deep Black Pearl color
Deep Black Pearl

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Pricing and Features

8.3

Engine and Performance

9.9

Fuel Economy

9.9

Interior

9.9

Exterior

8.7

Safety

9.0

Competition

9.3

9.2

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

9.2

Overall Rating


For this last model year, the Golf is made available in a single trim with prices starting just over $23,195. Available in both a 6-speed manual and an 8-speed automatic there is a Golf for everyone. Volkwagen also provides a lot of optional equipment which improve the functionality of the car albeit for additional cost. The Volkswagen Golf will rival the likes of the Honda Civic Hatchback, Hyundai Veloster, and Toyota Corolla Hatchback. The 2021 Golf is surely not the most affordable one but sure has some charm going for it.

2021 Volkswagen Golf Hatchback front angle view
2021 Volkswagen Golf Hatchback rear angle view

9.9/10
Engine and Performance

9.9/10
Fuel Economy

9.9/10
Interior

8.7/10
Exterior

9.0/10
Safety

9.3/10
Competition


2021 Volkswagen Golf Features

For this model year, the Golf is available only in one standard trim level. As this being the last year of current generation golf in the market and also the roads end for the regular hatch, they have decided to equip the car with all possible features and make it a more wholesome package. The price for the manual Golf TSI starts at $23,195 while the automatic one comes for $800 more. 

It comes with all the bells and whistles you can ask for in a small hatchback like Keyless access with push-button start, Adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, panoramic sunroof, automatics headlamps with LED DRLs, faux leather seats, a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment display and a lot more.

Trim

Golf TSI

MSRP (MT) (FWD)

$23,195

MSRP (AT) (FWD)

$23,995

Key Features

6.5-inch glass touchscreen Infotainment Display

 

Heated, 6-way partial power-adjustable front seats with adjustable lumbar support.

 

V-Tex leather upholstery

 

Keyless access with push-button start

 

Rain-sensing windshield wipers and heated washer nozzles

 

Automatic Headlamps with LED DRLs

 

Adaptive Cruise Control

 

Power-operated and heated ORVMs.

 

60/40 Split-folding rear seats

Which Trim should you buy?

There is only one trim and that is the 1.4 TSI which essentially is the most basic Golf you can put your money on. The only choice you’re getting with this car is on whether to go for the six-speed manual or the 8-speed automatic. Both ways there is nothing much differentiating them in terms of pricing or when it comes to standard equipment and ultimately boils down to preference. Go a bit lavish with options and the most expensive Golf can set you well over 25 grand which is not a lot for such a special car.

2021 Volkswagen Golf Engine and Performance

9.9/10

The 2021 Golf TSI is available with just one engine option and that is a 1.4L turbocharged inline-4 motor which is good enough for 147hp and 184lb-ft of torque. Not a lot but when you consider that this is a fairly lightweight hatchback, it seems to be quite enough. Volkswagen is famous for its TSI motors and this one here as well is a gem of an engine. This comes paired with either a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission. For daily city drives, the engine is pretty adequate and keeps the car at pace with the traffic but it is once you hit the highway, you need a bit of planning before executing any overtaking maneuvers.

2021 Volkswagen Golf Hatchback driving view

The engine is no slouch by any means, but any progression in pace from highway speeds does slightly start to strain the engine. It is though a quite refined motor and you can barely hear it breathing while being inside the cabin. There is a noticeable bit of turbo lag below 1,500 rpms but if you are in the automatic, then you won’t even feel that much as the transmission efficiently keeps the revs at the right powerband most of the time.

Models

2021 Volkswagen Golf

2021 Honda Civic Hatchback

2021 Hyundai Veloster

2021 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

MSRP

$23,195

$23,300

$18,900

$20,715

Engine 

1.4L turbo Inline-4

1.5L turbo Inline-4

2.0L Inline-4

2.0L Inline-4

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

FWD

FWD

Transmission

8-speed automatic

CVT

6-speed automatic 

CVT

Power 

147 hp @ 5,000 rpm

174 hp @ 6,000 rpm

147 hp @6,200 rpm

168 hp @ 6,600 rpm

Torque

184 lb-ft @ 1,400 rpm

162 lb-ft @ 1,700 rpm

132 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm

151 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm

0-60 MPH (sec)

7.5 

8.2

8.8

8.5

Quarter mile (sec)

15.9 

14.7 

16.6

16.4 

Top Speed (MPH)

139 

125

120

112 

Talking about competition, the Honda is the one that puts out the highest horsepower number on paper but it has lesser torque than the Golf despite the higher displacement. This might be due to the fact that Honda has to fit in a CVT that goes with the same engine. The Veloster with its naturally aspirated 2.0L inline-4 is the least powerful of the bunch and that too is not by a lot. 

Toyota, while being quite a lot powerful, is still slower than the Golf, primarily because of the deficiency of torque, something which the Golf benefits from thanks to the turbo. The 7.5 second run to 60 by the Golf is the only sub 8 second run in this comparison, at least in their automatic guises.

How well does the 2021 Volkswagen Golf handle?

Unlike its sportier fraternal twin—the zippy GTI—the regular Golf boasts a compliant ride that won't grow tiresome during long drives or on rough pavement. This doesn't mean that it's a slouch around corners. It hugs the road tightly and imparts an athletic feel to the driver that encourages back-road antics. 

2021 Volkswagen Golf Hatchback ride and handle

The 2021 Golf's steering is unerring and uncharacteristically quick for this class. This responsive helm is one of the features that make this affordable, utilitarian car so enjoyable to drive. VW’s progressive steering system is one of the best out there, especially at this price, getting more sensitive the more it’s turned for easier parallel parking moves, for example, then having more resistance on center to respond quickly and directly on turns. 

2021 Volkswagen Golf Braking Performance

The 2021 VW Golf comes with quite a decent braking hardware with 11.3-inch rotors at the front and 10.7-inch rotors at the back. The stopping power of the car is also quite effective and while the weight of the car is also quite less, the brakes are solid enough to keep the car under control and make it stop effectively under hard braking conditions. Further to aid the braking, the car comes with Autonomous emergency braking with brake assist and ABS with EBD.

Models

2021 Volkswagen Golf

2021 Honda Civic Hatchback

2021 Hyundai Veloster

2021 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

Brake Rotors: Front (inches)

11.3

11.1

12

11.5

Brake Rotors: Rear (inches)

10.7

10.2

10.3

10.5

Curb Weight (lbs.)

2,939 

2,901 

2,855

3,060 

60-0 MPH (feet)

129 

115 

N/A

125 

The Golf and Corolla are pretty much equal in terms of braking hardware but the slightly bigger front disc combined with the lower curb weight makes the car stop sooner than the Golf. The Civic is the one to beat when it comes to braking as the excellent hardware on offer and the slight advantage in weight anchors it down to a standstill in a jiffy. There is no official data on what the Veloster could achieve, but the bigger front disc does mean it's strong from the hardware perspective.

2021 Volkswagen Golf Fuel Economy

9.9/10

So the 2021 Golf is neither very good at being fuel-efficient, nor is it any worse. The manual ones are obviously better in terms of efficiency and have been rated by the EPA 29 mpg for city, 39 for highway, and 33 combined. While if you are having the automatic Golf with you, then the figures come down to 29/36/32 mpg. But a relatively larger fuel tank of 13.2 gallons means that a tank range of 400 miles above is quite practical and Golf will make most of the trips in one go.

Models

2021 Volkswagen Golf

2021 Honda Civic Hatchback

2021 Hyundai Veloster

2021 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

MPG (City)

29

31

27

28

MPG (Highway)

36

40

34

37

MPG (Combined)

32

34

30

33

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

13.2 

12.4 

13.2 

13.2 

Range (City/Highway/Combined, in Miles)

382/475/416

384/496/422

356/448/396

369/488/436

Honda without any doubt is the most fuel-efficient car here and that is because Honda is quite famous for making pretty efficient engines. It is also quite surprising when you realize the fact that it is also one of the most powerful engines in this comparison. In the case of the Hyundai Veloster and the Toyota Corolla, the bigger displacement engines may be one possible reason for low fuel efficiency and both take a blow when it comes to the overall tank range, especially the Veloster. The golf does slot in between with an acceptable tank range of 382 miles, which is not too far off from the best.

2021 Volkswagen Golf Interior

9.9/10

Interiors haven’t aged as well as the exterior in the 2021 Volkswagen Golf TSI. Though it is still a pretty comfortable place to be in, it just feels a bit old now. The interior looks a bit plain for our taste and has seen better times. That said, the functionality level is one of the best and it is also quite a nice place to spend long hours on the road. Looking from outside, the car seems like a small one but surprisingly it is pretty spacious inside and has quite a lot of space. The wide, spartan dashboard leans into the driver, but the center stack feels a generation old because it is. The 2021 Golf’s analog cluster doesn’t feel out of date or place, but the overwhelming dark plastic all over the cabin can’t be offset by standard synthetic leather seats that are heated. 

2021 Volkswagen Golf Hatchback cockpit area

The front seats are pretty low set and it is a climb down from outside to get into the seats. The relatively low seating position gives you a tucked-in feeling and that makes the overall driving experience quite sporty. The seats are quite supportive as well with the side bolstering holding you firmly in place and also the cushioning being quite perfect for long drives. For two, the rear seats feel as good as the front ones with good shoulder and knee room. Unfortunately, the absence of climate vents or any kind of phone connectivity options is such a missed opportunity if you ask us.

Models

2021 Volkswagen Golf

2021 Honda Civic Hatchback

2021 Hyundai Veloster

2021 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

Seating Capacity

5

5

4

5

Front Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

38.4/55.9/41.2

39.3/56.9/42.3

36.9/56.0/42.6

38.4/53.9/42.0

Rear Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

38.1/53.9/35.6

37.4/55.0/36.0

35.9/54.3/34.1

37.6/54.5/29.9

Cargo Capacity (cu-ft)

17.4

11.9

19.9

13.1

Talking about the numbers, it's the Civic that has the most spacious front and rear row seats as Honda decided to trade the boot space with the cabin space thus it has the smallest and nearly non-existent boot. On the other hand in Veloster, Hyundai folks thought of exactly the opposite and traded the cabin space for the boot space. So while the Veloster has the biggest trunk, the cabin is pretty tight. The Golf somehow managed to find a middle ground and is just perfect in terms of both cabin and boot space. Standout interior features in the 2021 Volkswagen Golf include:

  • Simulated leather seats
  • Heated front seats
  • Interior ambient lighting
  • 60/40 Split-folding rear seats
  • Synthetic leather-wrapped steering wheel

What’s there to keep you entertained?

This is the part that probably has taken the biggest hit in the 2021 Golf. The infotainment display is a 6.5-inch touchscreen which looks ages old as we are used to seeing much larger displays and also it is not very good to use either. That said, it does come with all the features that you can think of like wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, wireless charging pad, in-car wifi hotspot, and USB ports.

2021 Volkswagen Golf Hatchback infotainment screen

The display though is a bit slow to respond and feels laggy at times. It can get stuck every once in a while and even drops calls when on Bluetooth. While the icons are quite big and the menu is also fairly easy to navigate, the whole experience is just not rich enough. Standout infotainment features in the 2021 Volkswagen Golf are: 

  • Android and iOS App connect feature
  • Bluetooth technology with audio streaming
  • USB-C port
  • 6.5” touchscreen display
  • AM/FM
  • Car-Net hotspot.

2021 Volkswagen Golf Exterior

8.7/10

The design of Volkswagen Golf’s exterior has aged relatively well if we compare them to the interior. The car does look old and we know that an all-new Golf is just around the corner. While our friends across the seas have already received the updated Golf, we are still stuck with the older one for one more year. There is particularly nothing new about this design as it still looks pretty much the same as it used to be a year back and still does share cues from previous generations.

2021 Volkswagen Golf Hatchback 

A low-rising hood, short overhangs, and a relatively compact wheelbase stretch between 16-inch wheels on the Golf TSI. LED daytime running lights create a visual line that rings around the five doors to the LED taillights at the rear, and the lower grille spans the breadth of the face for a low, wide look. This isn’t a rather new design and it is quite contemporary to Golf, something that we all loved and still do. The Golf is unmistakably one of the best-looking hatchbacks in the town with no instance of overdoing and we still give it points for how it masks its age behind those curves.

Models

2021 Volkswagen Golf

2021 Honda Civic Hatchback

2021 Hyundai Veloster

2021 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

Curb weight (lbs)

2,939 

2,901 

2,855

3,060 

Length (inches)

167.6

177.9

166.9

172.0

Width (Inches)

70.8

70.8

70.9

70.5

Height (Inches)

58.2

56.5

55.1

57.1

Ground clearance (inches)

5.4

5.1

5.6

5.1

Wheelbase (inches)

103.8

106.3

104.3

103.9

The Volkswagen Golf is pretty much the smallest car here in terms of length and wheelbase. This is quite evident by the way it looks as Golf appears quite compact and tight. The biggest car though here happens to be the Honda Civic which is quite a lot bigger than the Golf when we talk about dimensions. The Corolla is surprisingly the heaviest car here but when you look at it, the Corolla looks like a pretty compact and lightweight car. Standout exterior features in the 2021 Volkswagen Golf include: 

  • Automatic headlamps with DRLs
  •  LED tail lamps
  • Panoramic Sunroof
  • 16-inch alloy wheels
  • Keyless entry

2021 Volkswagen Golf Safety

9.0/10

A lot of safety features that come as optional extras in much more expensive cars are part of the standard equipment list in the 2021 Golf. This has helped the car get “5 stars” from NHTSA for overall safety while in individual front and rollover crash tests, the car received just “4 stars”. Also, the IIHS rates the 2021 Golf at “Good” in five of its six crash tests, but only “Acceptable” in the front passenger-side overlap test. 

When it comes to advanced driver assistance aids, the 2021 Golf comes fitted with Automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot monitoring as standard. Also, it has got you covered in all the basic equipment including a tire pressure monitoring system, six airbags, ABS with EBD, traction control, and electronic control as part of standard fitment. Standout safety features in the 2021 Volkswagen Golf: 

  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Post-collision braking
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert 

2021 Volkswagen Golf Competition

9.3/10

2021 Volkswagen Golf vs 2021 Honda Civic Hatchback

Just like the Golf, the Civic also has a huge fan base. The Honda Civic is a pretty famous car throughout the globe for how reliable it is and how good a value proposition it offers. It is a pretty well-packed car, has a very powerful and fuel-efficient motor, is quite spacious inside and is cheaper than the Golf as well. Though the Civic is not as good to drive as the Golf and also misses out on a few features that the Golf comes standard with. So it's more about a personal taste and if asked, we will pick the Golf over the Civic.

2021 Honda Civic Hatchback

2021 Volkswagen Golf vs 2021 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

The Toyota Corolla with its quirky styling might be to everyone’s liking but it is also a pretty famous car and while its sedan cousin sells a lot more than the hatchback counterpart, it is still a pretty decent car for the money. It has bulletproof reliability, the 2.0L engine is powerful yet more efficient than the Golf. It's just the interior that is not as spacious as the Golf and that is where the Corolla starts to lose the battle. 

2021 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

2021 Volkswagen Golf vs 2021 Hyundai Veloster

The Hyundai Veloster with its unique three-door design might interest a lot of people but there is much more to the Veloster’s story than being a three-door hatchback. It is quite a lot cheaper than all the others but that doesn’t make it a less premium car. The interior feels equally upmarket and even the quality of materials used feels good. The engine is quite peppy and is a delight to rev hard. The Veloster may not be as good of a car as the Golf but it certainly is a very good car for the money and our pick among the two will be the Veloster.

2021 Hyundai Veloster

 

2021 Volkswagen Golf Final Verdict

The Volkswagen Golf is not just a car but more like an old friend. A very good friend with whom you have shared a lot of memories. And that is the case as at some or other point of our lives, this small Volkswagen gave us quite a handful of moments to hold on to. Well, this is not the last generation of Golf and certainly, we aren’t saying goodbye to it. It might not be the best in anything, but it sure does blend in the right traits of everything, which we presume would be the main driving factor for a prospective customer when shopping through this specific price bracket.

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