2021 Volkswagen Golf

2021 MODEL
$23,195 - $23,995 See Inventory Prices
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9.2

Overall Rating

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2021 Volkswagen Golf Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: September 10, 2020
Totan Banerjee's image

Totan Banerjee

Automotive Journalist

The punchy fun to drive Volkswagen Golf is now entering the second year model of its 8th generation vehicle revealed just a year ago. While unveiling the eight-generation Golf the brand Volkswagen showcased the modern appeal of one of their oldest cars. The 2021 Volkswagen Golf will be introduced with minor updates, however, new drivetrain options are introduced for the first time-three new mild-hybrid engine options and two plug-ins.

See detailed review »

Pros

Fun to drive

Punchy performance

Large cargo area

Well calibrated transmission, improves fuel efficiency, performance and lower emissions

Cons

Harsh ride quality due to stiff suspension

Smaller center console

High maintenance than rivals

What's New?

The 2021 VW Golf will introduce minor cosmetic updates in the interior and exterior.


Pictures & Videos

Exterior
Interior
Videos
2021 Volkswagen Golf Detailed Review video

Ratings

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

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


2021 Volkswagen Golf Base

Base

power
147 hp @ 5000 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
31 combined

$23,195 - $23,995


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl 6M) Starting at $23,195 MSRP (27/31/36) 147 hp @ 5000 rpm, 1.4L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-Speed Manual front wheel drive 5
4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl 8A) Starting at $23,995 MSRP (27/31/36) 147 hp @ 5000 rpm, 1.4L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
8-Speed Automatic w/Tiptronic front wheel drive 5

Expert Review

9.2

Overall Rating


Volkswagen Golf is known for its punchier fun to drive nature, although it is not as mightier as the GTI trim but it still pushes the thrill on the roads. Over the past few years, it has remained one of the most recognizable and iconic cars in the world. Powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter 4 cylinder engine the Golf churns out 147 hp which is 90 hp less than the Golf GTI the vehicle does its duty well. The VW Golf comes with a starting price of $23,195, and competes with some of the best performance oriented hatchbacks in the town such


8.3/10
Features

 
 
 

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

8.3/10

The Volkswagen Golf has made things easier and more focused now with eliminating the options which were available earlier in the last gen. The VW Golf TSI and the race track oriented VW Golf GTI are the only available trims now. The one we are reviewing here is the VW Golf TSI that hosts a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It comes standard with many features like a multifunction steering wheel, keyless access, and many more. The Golf TSI gets front wheel drive costing $23,195 for the manual transmission and $23,995 for the automatic.

Trim

Golf TSI

MSRP (MT) (FWD)

$23,195

MSRP (AT) (FWD)

$23,995

Key Features

6.5-inch glass Touchscreen Display

 

Keyless access with push-button start

 

SiriusXM All Access

 

VW Car-Net Security

 

Adaptive Cruise Control

 

Rear Traffic Alert

 

60/40 Split-folding rear seats

 

Automatic Post Collision Braking System

 

Seven Stability-enhancing Systems

Two different variants are available for the Golf, one is mated with manual transmission and the other is mated with automatic transmission, it is totally one choice to go with whatsoever trim while both offer punchier performance with the well calibrated transmission unit. However the automatic version is fuel efficient but does not offer an engaging drive like the manual unit.

2021 Volkswagen Golf Maintenance, Reliability and Warranty

The VW Golf has just entered the second year of its eighth generation model while the updates remain shy for the year, however, it lodged a complete change in its last year, addressing almost all the shortcomings with the vehicle. The consumer ratings report for the 2021 model will soon be updated. However, considering the fact that this iteration goes mostly unchanged over the 2020 model, we believe the consumer report for the 2020 model should give you a proper idea of how it is to live with the Golf in the States.

The previous Volkswagen Golf has managed to gain 82 points out of the maximum 100. Independent ratings and review agency J.D. Power follows a strict marking scheme which is why Golf’s score is not just good but outstanding by segment standards. Detailed scores are mentioned below.

  • Quality and Reliability - 81/100 (Great)
  • Driving Experience - 88/100 (Great)
  • Resale - 78/100 (Great)
  • Dealership Experience - 79/100 (Great)

Clearly, consumers seem to be happy with the performance and experience imparted by this hatchback. The only let down here would be the Dealership Experience criterion which is not a surprise as VW seems to be notorious in this parameter. Maybe this is the reason why the Golf isn’t doing as well as it is doing in the European countries. That said, VW needs to get on its toes if it aims to dominate the segment.

Volkswagen takes the safety of its customers very seriously. In 2019, they recalled a certain batch of Golfs to replace the coil spring from the rear suspension. They suspected that it may fracture prematurely in harsh driving conditions. This quick reaction from Volkswagen clearly suggests that the Golf may be an entry-level car in their lineup, but it is just as important to them as bigger cars in their stable.

As a result of their ability to react on such issues, the 2020 model of the Golf Hatchback hasn’t been issued any recalls according to NHTSA. Hence, VW does gain some reliability and trustworthiness from its consumers as the issues once fixed do not repeat in the future.

The 5 year Cost to own table for the VW Golf TSI will be updated soon, since it is a new generation vehicle drawing conclusions from the older version pre 2020 will not justify the original costs that one has to pay for the vehicle’s maintenance, repair, fuel expense and other charts.

Warranty

For the 2020 model of the Volkswagen Golf, the brand revised its warranty package. Although the updated warranty is shorter, the brand now provides two years of complimentary maintenance.

Criteria

Period

Limited Warranty

Covers 4 years or 50,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty

Covers 4 years or 50,000 miles

Complimentary Maintenance

Covered for 2 years or 20,000 miles

2021 Volkswagen Golf Buying Advice

The car has only 2 trims to offer and the only difference between the two is the transmission, one is manual and the other is automatic, so it’s totally one's choice to choose the trim they want. Apart from is a powerful turbocharged engine, it packs many features like Adaptive cruise control, rear traffic alert, VW car-net security, and all safety features that a hatchback can have at this price point.

Is buying a used Volkswagen Golf a good idea?

If you are looking ahead to sell your old Volkswagen Golf we can help you find the best value. The Volkswagen Golf retains its value quite well unlike some of its other rivals. For the first year, the Golf tends to lose between 20% to 25% of its value in the first year. The german car maker is known for the quality drive and vehicles that it comes with. However, after sales service and the high maintenance cost of these hatchbacks have remained a major issue. 

Buying one used VW Golf vehicle requires deep knowledge about the vehicle. A fishy deal can land you up with overall costs similar to a new vehicle. Let us help you with buying a used Volkswagen Golf and get you the right deal for your money. 

2021 Volkswagen Golf Engine and Performance

9.9/10

Powering the Golf is a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine that produces a decent amount of power. The 2020 model of the Golf is having an fwd setup and uses a 6-speed manual transmission or an 8-speed automatic transmission; the same will be continued in the 2021 variant too.Coming to the power it produces, this engine delivers 147 hp and 184 pound-feet of torque. 

The hatchback has decent figures of power and torque output, however, the performance oriented GTI trim adds 90 more horses from the turbocharged 2.0L engine, which is all you need for a zippy performance. However, still the TSI feels punchy to drive and most importantly it gets the work done.

Models

2021 Volkswagen Golf

2020 Honda Civic Hatchback

2020 Hyundai Elantra 

2020 Toyota Corolla 

MSRP

$23,195

$21,650

$21,380

$22,290

Engine

1.4L turbocharged inline four-cylinder

1.5L turbocharged inline four-cylinder

2.0L inline four-cylinder

2.0L inline four-cylinder

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

FWD

FWD

Transmission

6-speed Manual

6-speed Manual

6-speed Auto with SHIFTRONIC

6-Speed Manual with OVERDRIVE

Power

147 hp @ 5,000 rpm

174 hp @ 6,000 rpm

161 hp @ 6,200 rpm

169 hp @ 6,600 rpm

Torque

184 lb-ft @ 1,400 rpm

162 lb-ft @ 1,700 rpm

150 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm

151 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm

The Golf is the one with the smallest engine in the segment and also the one which produces the least power however the torque figures of the Golf are the highest. The Honda Civic is the most powerful in the segment. Higher torque figures at lower rpm translates to sprint and punchier acceleration. 

2021 Volkswagen Golf Acceleration and Braking Performance

The Volkswagen Golf sprints from 0-60 mph in just 7.6 seconds and crosses the quarter-mile mark in 15.9 seconds. Being not so good in terms of performance and engine power output these figures are far better than all its close rivals. 

The Volkswagen Golf has got disc brakes on all the 4 wheels. The braking performance of this car won’t disappoint anyone when on an open road. Feel of the pedals are nice and they feel sure-footed at all times too.

Models

2021 Volkswagen Golf

2020 Honda Civic Hatchback

2020 Hyundai Elantra 

2020 Toyota Corolla 

0-60 (seconds)

7.6 

8.2 

9.0

8.3 

Quarter-Mile (seconds)

15.9 

14.7 

16.8 

16.4 

Top Speed (MPH)

139 

125

116

112 

60-0 (feet)

129 

115 

119 

125 

Being the lightest vehicle in the segment the Golf takes the lead in terms of the fastest car in the segment. None in the competition cross the 8-second mark. Coming to the braking part the brake is least powerful and takes longest to come to a halt. 

2021 Volkswagen Golf Fuel Economy

9.9/10

This 1.4-liter turbocharged engine has an EPA estimated 29/25/32 mpg city/highway/combined with the automatic, although it is rumored that the 2021 Volkswagen Golf would have a change in its MPG figures from the 2020 model.

This Golf hatchback has a fuel tank capacity of 13.2 gallons and it will give you about 422 miles of driving when on a full tank and with the automatic variant.

Models

2021 Volkswagen Golf

2020 Honda Civic Hatchback

2020 Hyundai Elantra 

2020 Toyota Corolla 

MPG (City)

29

31

25

28

MPG (Highway)

37

40

32

37

MPG (Combined)

34

34

27

33

Fuel Tank Capacity (Gallons)

13.2 

12.4 

14.0 

13.2 

Range (City/Highway/Combined; Miles)

382/462/448 

359/434/396

350/448/378

369/488/409

The Honda Civic Hatchback and the VW Golf performs the best in terms of fuel economy, however, the Civic takes a + point when it comes to MPG highway.

2021 Volkswagen Golf Interior

9.9/10

The interior of the Golf comes standard with a lot of features and the interior is a meritable point of the Golf. The major highlight of the interior is the use of touchpads instead of buttons, even the climate and volume controls have got the touchpad underneath the infotainment screen. This new update in the car has fewer buttons and is bound to raise a mixed response.

The interior got refurbishment. The manufacturer of the car has used large quantities of hard-touch plastic for the dashboard, which is slightly outdated when compared to its competition. However, the design still looks good despite its age. The car has got heated, leather-curved, and engaging steering wheel, V-Tex Leatherette upholstery. There are not any additional packages that the brand provides to choose from to make the interior more class or premium.

Seating in this hatchback is a bit of work, fitting 3 adults in the rear will prove to be uncomfortable over long distances, legroom is quite generous in the front and the seating in the front is also comfortable as the credit goes to the multi-way manually-adjustable front seats with lumbar support, also the seats come heated to make your chilly day warm. The visibility from the driver seat is adequate and the massive doors of the Golf provide hassle-free ingress and egress. This car offers decent space in the inside but lacks behind in front of the competition because of its small size.

Models

2021 Volkswagen Golf

2020 Honda Civic Hatchback

2020 Hyundai Elantra 

2020 Toyota Corolla 

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Legroom; inches)

38.4/55.9/41.2

39.3/56.9/42/3

39.1/56.2/42.2

38.4/53.9/42.0

Rear (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Legroom; inches)

38.1/53.9/35.6

37.4/55.0/36.0

38.5/55.4/34.8

37.6/54.5/29.9

The interior dimensions and seating capacity of the car have upgraded, the car stands head-to-head with its competition. It is more spacious than the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla as it has got 22.8 cubic feet of trunk.

How’s the 2021 Volkswagen Golf’s Infotainment system?

The Volkswagen Golf has now got a whole touch screen and opened up many arrays to a detailed infotainment system. The infotainment comes with both 8” and 10” touch screens. The car has also got an amazing voice assistance system features the 10” screen comes with Alexa and also Volkswagen's “Hello Volkswagen”. 

Apart from offering full smartphone iteration from standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the car is not that much entertaining in the infotainment system. The car offers HD radio and one USB-C input and a six-speaker audio system is equipped in the car and as well as Bluetooth 

Some of the highlights of the infotainment system are as follows:

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

2021 Volkswagen Golf Exterior

8.7/10

Golf is one of the dependable and conservative hatchbacks in the industry, it looks different from the Mk7 but at the end, it’s a Golf only. However the car has not got any obvious changes, starting with the car’s new front fascia, the new matrix LED headlights which come with 22 individual LEDs per headlight.

It is a Golf only but look closely and one can notice a new wheel design, a new C-pillar plus, and coming to the rear there is a pair of new angular IQ headlights. The car also gets 16-inches alloy wheels and a panoramic sunroof as standard; however, the 16-inch alloys put the car behind the competition as the rivals of the Golf offer 18-inch alloys as standard on higher trims.

There is a phrase that is mostly used for the Volkswagen Golf that is “The Toy Car” the car is designed in a way that many think this car looks like a toy car however it is surely not.

Models

2021 Volkswagen Golf

2020 Honda Civic Hatchback

2020 Hyundai Elantra 

2020 Toyota Corolla 

Curb Weight (lbs)

2,939 

2,901 

3,040 

3,060 

Length (inches)

167.6

177.9

170.9

172.0

Width (inches)

70.8

70.8

70.7

70.5

Height (inches)

58.2

56.5

57.7

57.1

Ground Clearance (inches)

5.4

5.1

5.9

5.1

Wheelbase (inches)

103.8

106.3

104.3

103.9

The Golf is the lightest with the shortest and tall compact in the list. VW has got decent ground clearance and beats w of its competition except for the Hyundai Elantra.

2021 Volkswagen Golf Safety

9.0/10

The NHTSA awarded the 2020 VW Golf with a 5-star overall safety rating and when tested by IIHS, it scored top marks of good in five out of 6 categories. VW has now made all safety features standard which was earlier optional.

Some of the standout safety features are as follows:

  • Dual front and front side airbags, front and rear curtain airbags
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System
  • Automatic Post-Collision Braking System
  • Intelligent Crash Response System
  • Rear Traffic Alert
  • Blind Spot Monitor
  • Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring

2021 Volkswagen Golf Competition

9.3/10

2021 Volkswagen Golf vs 2020 Honda Civic Hatchback

The Honda Civic is more comfortable and provides more cargo space than the Golf, but the Golf provides better performance and is quicker than the Civic. Also, the handling and driving dynamics of the Golf are better than the Civic. Both are offered at nearly the same price but the Golf provides more value for money.

2021 Volkswagen Golf vs 2020 Toyota Corolla

While having more power than the VW Golf, the Toyota Corolla comes at the cost of a stiffer ride which fiddles the driving dynamics, and offers an average handling when compared to that of the Golf. Providing the least luggage space takes the term “Practicality” from the Corolla. Being offered at an expensive price than that of the Toyota Corolla the Golf is a better choice.

2021 Volkswagen Golf Final Verdict

This car is a nice compact and is affordable and practical too. Even though it’s a bit more expensive than the competition, it surely is value for money. However, in some departments It does not perform as well as the competition. The car looks amazing from the outside. The brand has made it more charismatic. Overall the Golf is surely a better choice than the competition.

Used Volkswagen Golf for Sale


Car Name Deals Starting Price Number of Listings
2020 Volkswagen Golf 1 Great Deals Out of 668 $18,900 668 Listings
2019 Volkswagen Golf 13 Great Deals Out of 397 $12,995 397 Listings
2018 Volkswagen Golf 3 Great Deals Out of 74 $12,988 74 Listings
2017 Volkswagen Golf 15 Great Deals Out of 171 $10,500 171 Listings
2016 Volkswagen Golf 15 Great Deals Out of 104 $8,400 104 Listings
2015 Volkswagen Golf 38 Great Deals Out of 238 $6,999 238 Listings
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