2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback

MSRP $28,595 - $36,495

Ranked #2 in Hatchback

8.9

Overall Rating

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2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: September 8, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


The Volkswagen Golf GTI MK7 steps into its 2021 model year now and there’s barely anything that needs to be changed. With that being said, the 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI gets no major changes over its predecessor. However, you do get some new exterior accents along with a revised infotainment system. With a starting price of $28,695, the 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI offers you just the right dose of power, fun, and practicality that you would generally seek in a premium hatchback.

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Pros

Manual transmission ups the delight and enthusiast factor

Power-packed performance

Loaded with all modern technology

High-quality interior materials

Cons

Intrusive central tunnel for rear passengers

Stiff suspension setup

What's New?

No major changes for 2021


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$28595

bodystyle

4dr Hatchback

passenger capacity

5

top speed

155 mph

drivetrain

front wheel drive

engine type

displacement

121 cu.in.

horsepower

228 hp @ 5000 rpm

torque

258 lb.-ft.. @ 1500 rpm

transmission

6 speed Manual

chassis

brake rotors (f/r)

11.3/10.7 in.

dimensions

wheelbase

103.6 in.

length

168 in.

width

70.8 in.

height

57.8 in.

curb weight

3062 lbs.

ground clearance

5.1 in.

capacity

passenger volume

93.5 cu ft.

cargo volume

52.7 cu ft.

towing capacity

3500 lbs.

payload capacity

959 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

S$28,595 onwards

SE$32,195 onwards

Autobahn$36,495 onwards

Colors and Styles

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback 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

9.1

Fuel Economy

9.9

Interior

8.7

Exterior

8.7

Safety

9.0

Competition

9.3

8.9

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

8.9

Overall Rating


Yes, the GTI is not as furious as the famed Golf R, but its 228 hp turbo motor is capable enough to push it from 0-60 MPH in just 6.0 seconds. A stiffer suspension setup, 6-speed manual transmission, and precise handling to spice up your athletic recipe on the streets. An optional adap[tive suspension eases its grooves around corners while an upscale yet spacious cabin ensures there’s a good amount of room for everyone. Although the Golf GTI receives good competition from the likes of Hyundai Veloster N, Mini Cooper JCW, and Honda Civic Type-R, its overall balanced equation remains unparalleled though. 


9.1/10
Engine and Performance

9.9/10
Fuel Economy

8.7/10
Interior

8.7/10
Exterior

9.0/10
Safety

9.3/10
Competition


2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback Features

The 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI is available in three trim levels i.e. S, SE, and Autobahn. Though a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine remains constant, you can get either of these trims with a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed automatic transmission. Prices for the 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI vary from $28,695 to $37,745, depending on your choice and configuration. 

Thankfully, all the trim levels of the 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI are aptly loaded with most of the features you would need on a daily basis. Even in the base “S” model, you get features like 18’ inch wheels, limited-slip differential, performance brakes, heated front seats, 6.5-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, and many more. 

Trims

Volkswagen Golf GTI S

Volkswagen Golf GTI SE

Volkswagen Golf GTI Autobahn

MSRP (Manual)

$28,695

$32,665

$36,945

MSRP (Automatic)

$29,495

$33,465

$37,745

Key Features

Six-speaker audio system

Adds/Upgrades to GTI S

Adds/Upgrades to GTI SE

 

VW Car-Net App-Connect

18" 5-spoke two-tone machined alloy wheel

Electromechanical progressive power steering system

 

18" 5-spoke two-tone machined alloy wheel

8" touchscreen sound system

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)

 

VAQ front limited-slip differential

Panoramic sunroof

Illuminated door sills and interior ambient lighting

 

Driving Mode Selection

Leather Seating Surfaces

High Beam Control

     

Heated front seats

Which Trim should you buy?

Since there’s no great mechanical change across the three levels of the 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI, it all comes down to the features you want in your premium hot hatch. Our pick though is the mid-tier “SE” trim owing to its balanced feature packaging. Along with leather upholstery, sunroof, 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment, the “SE” gets advanced safety systems like blind-spot monitoring, forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection, and more. 

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback Engine and Performance

9.1/10

The 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 228 horsepower and a torque of 258lb-ft. This sole engine choice with the GTI can be had with either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The engine barely has any turbo lag and is always wide awake to pull all the way to redline and onto the next gear, bringing up illegal speeds quite quickly. Power is distributed between the front two wheels with a strong and linear surge and the Golf GTI hits the 0-60 MPH mark in 6.0-seconds. 

The DSG transmission ensures that the shifts are as quick as cracks of a whip, along with the accompanying comical "fart" which is something we are a big fan of. The overall driving experience is quite pleasing, as it posters around town with its healthy torque wave low down in the rev range and can easily cruise on the highways with ample power on tap. Typical of VW mannerisms, the Golf GTI feels planted on the highway and requires zero corrections, making it a great long-distance cruiser.

Model

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI

2021 Honda Civic Type R

2021 Hyundai Veloster N

2021 MINI Hardtop 2-Door JCW

MSRP

$28,695

$37,895

$32,250

$33,900

Engine

2.0-liter turbo inline-4

2.0-liter turbo inline-4

2.0-liter turbo inline-4

2.0-liter turbo inline-4

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

FWD

FWD

Transmission

6-Speed Manual

6-Speed Manual

6-Speed Manual

8-Speed Automatic

Power (hp @ rpm)

228 @ 4700

306 @ 6500 

275 @ 6000

228 @ 5200

Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)

258 @ 1500

295 @ 2500

260 @ 1450

236 @ 1250 rpm

0-60 MPH (sec)

6.0 

5.0 

5.5

5.9

Quarter-Mile (sec)

14.5

12.7 

14.2

14.6

Top Speed (MPH)

155

147

139 

153

While all its rivals are front-wheel-drive and have a similar 2.0-liter turbocharged Inline-4 under their hood, the 2021 Hyundai Veloster N and the 2021 Honda Civic Type R make a lot more power and torque. These figures ensure that the Type R is the fastest to 60 MPH, doing it in 5 seconds flat, while the Veloster N is just half a second behind at 5.5 seconds. However, both of these cars are trumped by the Golf GTI and the MINI Hardtop 2-Door JCW when it comes to top speed.

How well does the 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI handle?

While the Golf GTI handles pretty well in its base guise, adding the VAQ front differential just takes it to another level, as it correctly reassigns power depending on the conditions, the angle of the steering wheel, and the level of throttle input you give, which makes this hatch a hoot to push around. Although you can experience lift-off oversteer when driving it hard, the chassis is so beautifully balanced, that it snaps back into place without scaring the living daylights out of you.

If you spend the extra moolah and opt for the Autobahn trim, you will also get VW's Dynamic Chassis Control adaptive dampers, which give you the option to choose between different driving modes, with respect to which it stiffens up the dampers for you in real-time. So you can putter around town in Comfort Mode with the DCC switching to an ultra-compliant and comfortable damping setting, or you can move to Sport Mode, where everything stiffens up for better handling and power delivery. The ride overall, in typical German fashion, is excellent, and the ride is not unbearably harsh, nor excessively floaty.

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI Braking Performance

Engine power alone does not result in a great driving experience. It's the control over power that is equally important. Surely the standard engine is averagely fast, but if you’re opting for the GTI version of the VW Golf, then the need of having a proper braking system is a must. Fortunately, Volkswagen has loaded the Golf GTI with 13.4 inches front wheel vented discs and 12.2 inches rear disc brakes which bring this hot-hatch to a stop in just 110 feet from 60 MPH. The brakes offer a good bite from the calipers and induce great confidence under hard braking. While it’s not the best in the segment, it’s only a few feet shy of the leader.

Model

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI

2021 Honda Civic Type R

2021 Hyundai Veloster N

2021 MINI Hardtop 2-Door JCW

Brake Rotors: Front (inches)

13.4

13.8

13.6

11.6

Brake Rotors: Rear (inches)

12.2

12

12.4

10.2

Curb Weight (lbs)

3,133

3,100

3,166

2,845

60-0 (feet)

110

107

112

N/A

From the above table, it is pretty clear that the Honda Civic Type R offers the biggest sized brakes, and because of its lighter weight, it takes the lead here by stopping within the shortest possible distance of just 107 feet. The Hyundai Veloster N manages an almost similar level of performance, while the lightest option, the Mini, performance is yet not ascertained.

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback Fuel Economy

9.9/10

While fuel economy is not exactly something one would be expecting from a hot-hatch, as the regular Golf exists to fulfill that very purpose, the Golf GTI did take us by surprise by returning 23 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway. Not only does it return one of the best fuel economies out of all its rivals, with its 13.2-gallon gas tank, it can also go on for a distance of almost 400 miles on a single tank. 

No wonders though and the GTI does have the worst fuel economy amongst all its rivals. The 2.0L Turbocharged Inline-4 engine doesn’t get cylinder deactivation, but with the brilliant coasting and auto start/stop feature as standard, a light foot on the rightmost pedal is quite rewarding.

Model

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI

2021 Honda Civic Type R

2021 Hyundai Veloster N

2021 MINI Hardtop 2-Door JCW

MPG (City)

23

22

22

26

MPG (Highway)

30

28

28

34

MPG (Combined)

26

25

25

29

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

13.2

12.4

13.2

11.6

Range (City/Highway/Combined) (miles)

303/396/343

273/347/310

290/383/330

302/394/336

Due to the much higher horsepower and torque figures on tap, the Honda Civic Type R and the Hyundai Veloster N score poorly when it comes to fuel economy. The 2021 MINI Hardtop 2-Door JCW being the lightest of the bunch, extracts the highest fuel economy numbers, at 26 MPG in the city, and a whopping 34 MPG on the highway. Its 11.6-gallon tank falls short, or it could’ve run more than 400 miles on a full tank of gas.

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback Interior

8.7/10

Volkswagen is known for making excellent interiors with top-tier levels of quality and the same can be said about the 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI. As for the S model, it is fitted with the classic tartan fabric color scheme called Clark Plaid, paying tribute to the original GTI of the 70s. The golf ball gear knob on the manual and the uber-cool integrated ambient light just falls perfectly in between retro and modern. The SE and the Autobahn trim get synthetic leather upholstery as standard, while the entire range gets a leather steering wheel as standard. The dash is well laid out, with all the controls being placed ergonomically. 

The design of the interior is quite classic, but the inclusion of multiple screens just uplifts the cabin to give it a very modern vibe. We must mention that Volkswagen has done away with the large gear shifter on the automatic version, and moved to a much smaller one to lessen the clutter and free up more interior space. Although it is a five-seater, it can comfortably seat only four, as the tunnel running down the center of the car makes the center seat just about useless. The front seats are heavily bolstered to keep the occupants in place when taking a sharp turn, and the cushioning is quite firm as well. The rear seats are wide and flat, allowing passengers to make themselves comfortable at the back. 

Model

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI

2021 Honda Civic Type R

2021 Hyundai Veloster N

2021 MINI Hardtop 2-Door JCW

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

4

Front Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Legroom) (inches)

38.4/55.9/41.2

39.3/56.9/42.3

38.1/56.0/42.6

40.3/50.6/41.4

Rear Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Legroom) (inches)

38.1/53.9/35.6

37.4/55.0/35.9

35.9/54.3/34.1

34.9/47.8/30.8

Trunk Capacity (cubic feet)

17.4

25.7

19.9

8.7

As standard, the Golf GTI gets you heated front seats while the higher models also bring in amenities like a power-adjustable driver’s seat. While the Golf has always been a fairly spacious hatch, the removal of buttons from the center console has changed how the cabin looks, as everything can now be controlled via the infotainment system. 

The center console in the GTI also houses 2 X USB-C ports for connectivity and fast charging. Although the Honda Civic Type R and the MINI Hardtop 2-Door JCW offer more space up front, the Golf GTI is the most spacious at the back, with the JCW barely offering a real seat. In terms of cargo capacity, Volkswagen assumes the third position with a trunk volume of 17.4 cu.-ft and stays just behind the segment leaders, Honda and Hyundai, that have a total space of 25.7 and 19.9 cu.-ft. Key interior features in the 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI are:

  • Dual-Zone Automatic Climate Control
  • Refrigerated/Cooled Box
  • Sports Steering Wheel
  • Emergency Communication System
  • Rear Seat Center Armrest with Pass-Thru
  • Driver and Passenger Heated-Cushions
  • Audio Theft Deterrent
  • VW Car-Net Hotspot internet Access
  • Smart Device Integration
  • Speed-Sensitive Volume

What’s there to keep you entertained?

The entry-level S trim gets the MIB II infotainment interface from Volkswagen, with a rather small 6.5-inch capacitive touchscreen. The system features an SD card slot, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto smartphone integration, plus MirrorLink and a USB-C port. 

The mid-tier SE trim and the higher “Autobahn” trim get the MIB III infotainment system, with a.0-inch touchscreen infotainment. Also standard now is HD Radio, SiriusXM satellite radio, and navigation along with it. Opting for the Autobahn variant gets you a Fender Premium Audio sound system with eight speakers, along with voice-activated navigation. Key infotainment features in the 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI are:

  • 8.0-inch MIB III infotainment touchscreen
  • Wired Android Auto support
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay support
  • SiriusXM
  • Fender premium audio system with 8 speakers

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback Exterior

8.7/10

Since its major redesign in 2019, the Volkswagen Golf GTI hasn’t changed much, but it still looks stunning from the outside. The decision of not going overboard with sharp corners and creases seems perfect, as the overall design of the vehicle, very true to VW’s DNA, looks understated and outright handsome.

The front face with the trapezoidal bottom grille and LED headlights look business, and the strong shoulder line extends from the fender to the rear of the vehicle, where you are greeted with really sharp looking all-LED tail lights, and two exhaust tips that give the posterior of the vehicle a classy, yet sporty look.

Model

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI

2021 Honda Civic Type R

2021 Hyundai Veloster N

2021 MINI Hardtop 2-Door JCW

Curb Weight (lbs)

3,133

3,100

3,166

2,845

Length (inches)

168.0

179.4

167.9

152.5

Width (inches)

70.8

73.9

71.3

68

Height (inches)

57.8

56.5

55.1

55.7

Ground Clearance (inches)

5.1

4.1

4.3

5.6

Wheelbase (inches)

103.6

106.3

104.3

98.2

Perhaps one of the most subtle design elements in the Golf GTI are the extremely fine lines that make it look more mature than it was intended to be. We must say we love the new alloy wheel design that the SE and Autobahn trim get, as they look premium. When compared to its rivals, the Volkswagen Golf GTI is the second heaviest of the lot, only to be trumped by the heavier and wider Hyundai Veloster N. The Mini is the lightest and has the shortest wheelbase of 98.2 inches, as compared to the Honda Civic Type-R that is the longest with a wheelbase of 106.3 inches. The Volkswagen Golf GTI gets a considerable ground clearance of 5.1 inches. Key exterior features in the 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI are:

  • Blacked-Out Spoiler
  • Black Grille
  • Chrome Tip Dual-Exhaust
  • Fully Galvanized Steel Body
  • Front and Rear Mud Flaps
  • Powered and Remote Heated ORVMs

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback Safety

9.0/10

Just like every other aspect, Volkswagen has also prioritized making the Golf GTI a safe vehicle. Based on the Volkswagen Group’s updated MQB platform. The 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI is built on the latest that the V.A.G has to offer. With its impeccable build quality, the Golf GTI scores a five-star overall safety rating in the NHTSA’s tests, and the IIHS has given the GTI a review that's similar, with maximum Good ratings in every crashworthiness category except one; for the small overlap front test on the passenger side, in which the GTI was only rated as Acceptable.

The Volkswagen Golf GTI also comes standard with blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection - known as Front Assist, post-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, park distance control, lane-keep assist, and auto high beams apart from the usual array of passive safety systems. It also gets a system called Intelligent Crash Response, which automatically unlocks all doors, disables the fuel pump, and turns on the hazard lights. Key safety features in the 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI are:

  • Side-Impact Bars
  • Forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking
  • Blind-spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert
  • Post-collision safety system
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • 4-Wheel Ventilated Disc Brakes
  • Anti-Whiplash Front Head Restraints

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback Competition

9.3/10

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI vs 2021 Honda Civic Type R

Although it is a sedan, the Honda Civic Type-R is the ultimate contender on this list. It gets a peppy 2.0L engine pushing out a class-leading 306 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. It does a 0-60 in 5.0 seconds and complements all that oomph with really precise driving dynamics. However, the Civic Type-R also charges a premium for this as it's the most expensive offering in this class with prices starting from $37,895. The Type-R also trumps the Golf GTI in terms of interior and trunk space.

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI vs 2021 Hyundai Veloster N

The 2021 Hyundai Veloster N is the newest rival in the hot hatch class when compared against veterans such as the Golf GTI or the Civic Type-R. With prices starting from $32,250, it is more expensive than the Golf GTI, However, its 2.0L turbocharged engine cranks out a higher power figure of 275 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, thus making it faster and more powerful than the VW. The Veloster N gets a more spacious and tech-laden interior as compared to the Golf GTI.

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI vs 2021 Mini Hardtop 2 Door John Cooper Works

The British hot-hatch, the Mini Hardtop 2-Door John Cooper Works, starts at $33,900, making it more expensive than the Golf GTI, whilst offering an equal amount of performance from its 2.0L turbocharged engine that produces 228 hp and 236 lb-ft. Although the cabin is really tiny and can realistically only suit two, its heritage and looks really trump everything else on the list when it comes to recognition. Its compact dimensions and lighter weight really aid in making it agile and fast, whilst getting good fuel economy.

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback Final Verdict

The new Volkswagen Golf GTI has a powerful engine, a lightning-quick gearbox, an intuitive infotainment system with advanced technologies, a really well-built interior, an elegant and minimal exterior, a decent amount of space, and most importantly good fuel economy; all of these under $30,000. The vehicle also performs exceptionally well on the safety and reliability front. The MK7 Golf GTI comes with our letter of recommendation if you’re in the market to buy a hot hatch that can do it all without really breaking the bank.

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