By Alexi Falson, 28 Jul, 2021
Review - 2021 Volkswagen Golf
AF By Alexi Falson June 17, 2021
The Volkswagen Golf is one of the most famous cars on the road today. Since its introduction nearly 50-years ago, the Golf has earned itself a reputation for taking a no-nonsense approach to covering the basics of motoring that reflects Volkswagen’s name as the German term for “People’s Car.”
Now in its eighth-generation, the Golf has been steadily creeping up in terms of prices, with the latest generation receiving a price-hike of more than $4,000 over the outgoing model. With that in mind, does the latest VW Golf perform well enough to justify the price jump while maintaining the lead over its key rivals?
Let’s find out.
Starting Price: $29,350
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How Much Does It Cost?
The VW Golf lineup kicks off at $29,350 (before on-road costs) for the entry-level 110TSI fitted with a manual gearbox, with the option of an automatic transmission bringing the price tag up to $31,950. VW offers three higher variants, in the form of the Life which is priced at $34,250, R-Line which is priced at $37,450 and the range-topping GTI which comes in at $53,100.
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What Features Does the Volkswagen Golf Have?
The base model 110TSI Golf comes generously equipped with a number of features you might not expect. These include 16-inch alloy wheels, LED head and tail lights, three-zone climate control, a set of two digital displays - a 10.25-inch driver digital cockpit and 8.25-inch infotainment system - fitted with four USB-C ports and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, rear view camera, as well as a host of safety equipment which we’ll cover later in the review as standard.
Stepping up to the 110TSI Life adds a larger 10-inch infotainment system with wireless smartphone charging and satellite navigation as standard, 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry with push-button start, 10-colour ambient LED lighting, folding mirrors, as well as a revised and more customisable digital cockpit display.
The R-Line variant includes some sporty touches in the form of larger 18-inch Bergamo alloy wheels, R-Line exterior and interior styling tweaks, sport seats in the front of the cabin, sports-tuned suspension, as well as LED performance headlights, dark tinted rear windows and 30-colour ambient lighting.
Volkswagen’s flagship GTI receives all the premium features of the R-Line, but adds a significantly more powerful engine, faster transmission and steering setup, as well as unique GTI-badging across the exterior and interior.
- 16-inch ‘Norfolk’ alloy wheels
- LED head and tail lights as standard
- 8.25-inch infotainment system
- 10.25-inch digital cockpit
- Adaptive cruise control
- Wireless charging & app connect (110TSI Life)
- 18-inch ‘Bergamo’ alloys (R-Line)
- LED performance headlights with Light Assist (R-Line)
- Sports suspension (R-Line)
Is it Comfortable to Drive?
The Volkswagen Golf is an absolute pleasure to drive, and it’s no wonder VW has cemented itself as the industry’s benchmark for comfortable and premium ride qualities. You can chalk this up to VW’s exceptional attention to detail, stringent quality control and more specifically in the Golf, a sophisticated multi-link suspension installed on even the cheapest 110TSI.
While at times, in the urban environment, the suspension can feel a little bit firmer than its competitors, overall the balance and comfort of the Golf is far superior to a number of its key rivals, offering a level of refinement that is typically reserved for much more expensive vehicles. The Volkswagen Golf is perhaps the best riding car in its market segment, and you’d be forgiven for assuming that its competitors are merely playing catch-up to Volkswagen.
Is it Practical and Spacious?
Another area that the Golf excels is its ability to accommodate a family’s-worth of people and luggage in a package that doesn’t look possible for a hatchback with its proportions. This is, again, thanks to VW’s attention to detail in terms of occupant comfort and practicality. VW realises that this is a key priority for buyers, and as a result, the front of the cabin feels spacious while offering a host of practical spaces for people and their belongings.
The redesigned central console with a much smaller gear lever allows for more storage in the center of the cabin, with a purpose-built smartphone storage area and a set of cup-holders. In the rear of the cabin, there’s more than enough room for even the tallest of passengers, meaning leg and head room will not be an issue for those in the back of the car for longer road trips.
In terms of cargo storage capacity in the boot, the VW Golf can swallow up 381L of luggage, which extends to 1237L with the rear-seats folded down.
Is it Safe?
The latest Volkswagen Golf has been awarded the maximum Five Star Safety Rating from ANCAP, with the entry-level 110TSI receiving Volkswagen’s full suite of IQ.Drive safety technologies. This includes adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, lane-follow assist on the highway, as well as autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, automatic parking and fatigue monitoring.
Is it Fuel Efficient?
The Volkswagen Golf range, with the exception of the range-topping GTI, is powered by a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which is officially rated at 5.8L per 100km on a combined cycle with an automatic transmission, or 6L per 100km with a manual gearbox. The range-topping GTI’s more powerful engine consumes slightly more petrol than the base model, and is rated at 7L per 100km.
This means that the overall economy of the VW Golf is slightly ahead of its key rival, the Ford Focus (6.4L per 100km), and even the Mazda 3 (6.1L per 100km).
Our Verdict: Is the Volkswagen Golf Worth it?
Even with the recent price hikes factored into the equation, the Volkswagen Golf remains one of the most attractive offerings in its segment of the market. The generous amount of features as standard, as well as the IQ.Drive safety equipment included on the entry-level 110TSI make up for this increase in price.
The Golf is an accomplished all-rounder, and in its eighth-generation, maintains its position as the benchmark to which its competitors will be measured in the years to come. If you’re in the market for a new car, you can get a free quote and see how much OnlineAuto can save you on your next car, or call us on 1300 719 925
Five Specs You Need to Know
- LED head and tail lights standard
- 16-inch alloys standard
- Adaptive cruise control & automatic parking standard
- 381L boot capacity
- Economy: 5.8L per 100km
- All-round performer
- Handsome amount of standard equipment
- IQ.Drive Safety pack included on entry-level variant
- Price increase
- Touch-sensitive controls can be unintuitive
- Expensive options compared to rivals