It has been 46 years since Volkswagen’s iconic hatchback debuted in the United States, and the seventh-generation Golf is the best Golf yet. In its last year of production for this generation, the Golf continues to represent a great value with a compelling combination of style, sporty handling, roominess, fuel efficiency, and technology.
The 2021 Golf is available in one well-equipped trim—the Golf TSI. The value-driven model offers standard 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, KESSY® keyless access with push-button start, leatherette seating surfaces, heated front seats, a panoramic tilt-and-slide sunroof, and heated washer nozzles.
Pricing for the 2021 Volkswagen Golf with a standard six-speed manual transmission starts at $23,195. The eight-speed automatic transmission starts at $23,995. The destination charge for all Golf models is an additional $995.
The seventh-generation Golf features an unmistakable silhouette. The front bumper and chrome-surround grille are flanked on either side by striking LED daytime running lights that provide the Golf a light signature, and meld into the character line that runs the length of the vehicle. At the rear, full standard LED taillights complete the display without distracting from the strong C-pillar and overall grace of the Golf’s lines.
The 2021 Golf TSI comes equipped with 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, wrapped in 205/55 all-season tires. Automatic headlights with rain-sensing windshield wipers are standard as is a panoramic tilt-and-slide sunroof.
From the start, the Golf has offered an expansive cabin for a vehicle of its size. There’s 93.5 cu-ft of interior room, 17.4 cu-ft of cargo space up to the parcel shelf, and 25.0 cu-ft. to the roof. The versatility of the load space is enhanced by a trunk floor that can be moved up or down by 3.9 inches, while the 60:40 split backrest can be folded to give an almost flat cargo area that can accommodate a full-size bicycle.
The standard leatherette-wrapped multi-function steering wheel emphasizes the driver-centric nature of the Golf, and on models with the eight-speed automatic, includes Tiptronic® paddle shifters for increased driver control. This driver-centric design focus is also evident from the center stack, which is angled towards the driver—a trait frequently seen in premium luxury or performance vehicles. White backlighting for the controls further highlights this upscale ambience, as well as the use of premium materials throughout, such as soft-touch plastics and trim pieces available in chrome, aluminum, and piano-black finishes.
The Golf features a raft of comfort and convenience features often found on more expensive vehicles. Power windows (with one-touch up/down from all window switches) and exterior mirrors, along with Climatic® manual air conditioning, cruise control, rearview camera, partial leather-wrapped handbrake and shifter knob, and partial power front seats are standard. It is also equipped with heated washer nozzles; V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces; KESSY keyless access with push-button start; and heated front seats.
MIB Infotainment. All 2021 Golf models feature innovative Volkswagen MIB2 touchscreen infotainment systems. The displays utilize a capacitive-touch sensor (as in smartphone and tablet technology) rather than the more common resistive touchscreens that require pressure, enabling controls like swiping and even pinch-zooming. App-Connect smartphone integration for compatible devices is standard, and offers users the ability to run select smartphone apps directly on the vehicle’s display through services such as Apple CarPlay®, Android AutoTM and MirrorLink®.
The Golf is equipped with the Composition Color unit, which features a 6.5-inch display. The infotainment system includes two USB-C ports, SD Card multimedia interface, and Bluetooth® technology, which can pair two compatible phones simultaneously.
Since its debut for the 2014 model year, Volkswagen Car-Net has allowed Volkswagen owners to get connected to their vehicles. Last year, Car-Net moved into the next generation of integration, with an updated mobile app, a long list of no-charge services for five years, and new subscription options. For model year 2021, Car-Net Services will be offered in three areas: Remote Access, Safe & Secure, and Hotspot. Next year, Volkswagen will introduce Carrier of Choice, giving our customers the option to select a data plan from either VerizonTM or T-Mobile ®. With just a few clicks in the VW Car-Net mobile app or at vw.com/carnet, owners can add their new Volkswagen vehicle to their existing mobile data plan or purchase a new one.
Car-Net Remote Access allows owners the ability to interact with their vehicle from miles away via the mobile app. It is offered at no additional charge for five years from the date of vehicle purchase. Features include remote start and stop (if equipped), remote door lock and unlock, remote honk and flash of lights, last parked location, and remote vehicle status display, which provides information on estimated fuel level and mileage and door and window status.
VW Car-Net skills for Amazon AlexaTM are now available for most new Volkswagen vehicles, is. To set up, owners should open the skills page associated with their car model in their Alexa app and link the skill to their VW Car-Net account. This will allow them to use their voice on an Alexa-enabled device to ask Alexa to send remote commands from the comfort of their own home—for instance: “Alexa, ask Car-Net to honk my horn.”
For vehicles equipped with factory-installed navigation systems, Car-Net can make customers lives easier by locating off-street parking information and sending destinations or points of interest directly to their car from the app. Powered by ParkopediaTM, the Parking Information feature can help make owners’ lives easier by locating off-street parking information. Through the Navigate tab on the app, users can click the “P” icon to show available parking locations, either in the immediate vicinity or near a Point of Interest. Clicking on a specific location will display the address, hours of operation and pricing. Users can also send the location to their car’s navigation system, if so equipped, by clicking the “Send to My VW” button.
Vehicle Health Reports can provide owners easy access to diagnostic information. Reports generate automatically each month after enrollment and are sent directly to the email address in the owner’s profile; owners can also request updated reports anytime through the mobile app. When it’s time for scheduled service, Car-Net can not only notify the customer, but also provides a simple way to schedule a dealer visit.
Family Guardian services and Roadside Call Assist can provide added peace-of-mind no matter who is driving. Speed Alert notifies the owner when the pre-determined maximum speed limit is exceeded. Boundary Alert lets the owner know when the vehicle has traveled outside of a pre-set virtual boundary. Curfew Alert notifies the owner if the vehicle is driven while curfew alert is on. Valet Alert warns if the vehicle is driven more than 0.2 miles from the valet drop-off location. The Car-Net app allows users to control who receives notifications by designating primary and secondary users, with varying levels of control and functionality for each. Notifications can come in the form of text messages, emails, or push notifications from the mobile app itself. If the vehicle is disabled, Roadside Call Assist is available at the touch of the wrench button.
By enrolling in the DriveView™ program, Car-Net users may be eligible for discounted rates from some of the top automotive insurance companies in the country. This program can also help Car-Net users monitor their driving by tracking activities like night driving, hard braking, idle time, and excess speed. These factors all contribute to an overall driving score, which is visible within the mobile app.
Car-Net Safe & Secure is a paid subscription service that includes Information Assistance, Emergency Assistance, Automatic Crash Notification, Anti-Theft Alert, and Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance. The subscription is $99 per year before taxes and fees, and automatically renews annually at the end of the subscription term, unless cancelled. Information Assistance—accessed through the i-call button within the vehicle—allows the driver to speak to a Car-Net agent for support needs, such as points of interest and account services. Emergency Assistance can be accessed through the SOS button in the vehicle, and, if a cellular connection can be established, puts the driver in contact with the Car-Net service center, who can direct emergency responders to the vehicle’s location and notify the user’s Emergency Contact. Provided a cellular connection can be established, Automatic Crash Notification can help automatically notify an operator who can quickly contact first responders in the event of a collision. Anti-Theft Alert sends a push notification to the user if the vehicle’s anti-theft alarm is triggered, and Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance uses Car-Net to assist law enforcement with locating the vehicle in the event that it is stolen.
Car-Net Hotspot allows passengers to access the internet with up to four connected devices simultaneously, including compatible tablets, smartphones, laptops, gaming devices, and more— at 4G LTE-enabled speed. Verizon Wireless or T-Mobile customers with an existing mobile data plan can simply add their Volkswagen vehicle as a new $20 line item to their existing monthly bill; non-Verizon or T-Mobile customers can set up an unlimited plan for $20/month, taxes and fees may apply.
The 2021 Golf features a 1.4-liter turbocharged and direct-injection engine, which makes 147 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The TSI® engine is mated to either a six-speed manual gearbox or an eight-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic.
The engine, internally coded EA211, features an air-to-water heat exchanger built directly into the intake module in place of an intercooler. The exhaust manifold is integrated into the head, reducing the distance that exhaust gases must travel to reach the turbocharger. This integration is designed to allow for faster response and catalytic converter light off. Valves work to regulate coolant flow into the head, which allows for rapid engine (and thus cabin) heating, as well as efficient cooling when the engine reaches normal operating temperature. Both the intake and the exhaust valves feature variable valve timing, which results in both improved low-rpm performance, as well as increased torque throughout the rev range. A relatively high 10:1 compression ratio further helps the engine’s efficiency, yet it still takes regular (87 octane) gasoline.
A Start/Stop System is standard on automatic-transmission models. This technology stops the engine during idle when the brake pedal is held (such as when waiting at a red light). When the brake pedal is released, the engine restarts.
EPA-estimated fuel economy for 2021 Golf models, when equipped with the six-speed manual is 29/39/33 (city/highway/combined) and 29/36/32 when equipped with the optional eight-speed automatic.
The A7 Golf was the first U.S.-market vehicle built on Volkswagen’s MQB modular platform. The unitary construction chassis has two solid-mounted subframes with bolt-on front fenders, and utilizes technologies such as the laser clamp welder, which produces “wobble seam” welds in a wave pattern to help maximize strength in a limited space.
The Golf models’ stamped steel body and chassis boasts a large percentage high-strength, hot-formed steel. This technology allows much of the chassis and body to be constructed from thinner and lighter parts without loss in strength.
The Golf features a strut-type front suspension. At the back, the Golf has a multilink arrangement with coil springs, telescopic dampers, and an anti-roll bar. The rack-and-pinion steering features electric power assist and features a 13.6 to one ratio that allows for 2.76 turns from lock to lock.
All 2021 Golf models are equipped with the XDS® Cross Differential System, which is engineered to act somewhat like an electronic substitute for a traditional mechanical limited-slip differential, working by actively monitoring data from each wheel sensor. If the suspension becomes unloaded, the system automatically applies braking to the driven inside wheel as needed to help reduce understeer (the tendency for the front wheels to run wide). This not only helps the Golf’s stability, but also helps improve handling and cornering performance.
To help protect occupants, the Golf provides a combination of both passive and active safety systems. It features six airbags as standard (front and side airbags for front passengers and side curtain airbags for outboard seating positions), along with a number of electronic safety systems, such as an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Stability Control (ESC).
A standard feature on the 2021 Golf is Volkswagen’s Automatic Post-Collision Braking System. This builds on the premise that a collision is rarely a single, instantaneous action, but rather a series of events that follow the initial impact—the most significant of which can cause additional collisions. The Automatic Post-Collision Braking System helps address this, in certain crash scenarios, by applying the brakes when a primary collision is detected by the airbag sensors, thus potentially reducing residual kinetic energy and, in turn, the chance of additional damage.
The Golf also includes Volkswagen’s Intelligent Crash Response System that shuts off the fuel pump, unlocks the doors, and switches on the hazard lights if the car is involved in certain types of collisions.
All Golf models feature a standard rearview camera.
To meet the demands of American drivers, the 2021 Golf offers a comprehensive suite of driver-assistance technology. Standard features include Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring (Front Assist), Blind Spot Monitor, and Rear Traffic Alert.
Front Assist, standard on all models, is intended to warn drivers of potential frontal collisions (Forward Collision Warning) with vehicles and pedestrians, and in some cases provide automatic braking assistance (Autonomous Emergency Braking).
Within physical system limits, Forward Collision Warning warns the driver of potential critical front-end collision situations, both acoustically and visually by a warning symbol in the instrument cluster if the car is traveling above 18 mph. Furthermore, an automatic jolt of the brakes can warn the driver of the danger. If the driver fails to brake, Autonomous Emergency Braking is activated to help slow the vehicle. If the car is traveling below 18 mph and the system detects a potential front-end collision, Autonomous Emergency Braking activates without a prior acoustic and visual warning. If the brake pedal is applied but the driver brakes too lightly, the brake pressure is increased by the system (Braking Support).
Blind Spot Monitor is standard on the Golf. Blind Spot Monitor uses two radar sensors at the rear of the vehicle to scan the approaching traffic and is intended to warn drivers of the presence of other vehicles in adjacent lanes. If the driver uses the turn signal to indicate a lane change while a vehicle is detected in a blind spot, the system utilizes a flashing LED symbol in the outer area of the side mirrors. Even if the driver does not use a turn signal, the LED symbol in the mirror will illuminate if a vehicle is detected in the blind spot. The system is designed to help alert drivers in specific situations; stationary objects or oncoming vehicles do not trigger warnings, nor do vehicles more than one lane across away from the vehicle.
The Rear Traffic Alert system, standard on the Golf, is intended to detect vehicles approaching from the side that may be difficult for the driver to see while reversing. The system offers a 180-degree view of the back of the car with a range of 65 feet, and will present a visual and an acoustic warning, if a potential collision with a crossing vehicle is detected. If the driver does not react, the system can apply the brakes to help mitigate and, in the best case, can prevent a collision. The system is activated by putting the car in reverse.
Every 2021 Golf comes with a bumper-to-bumper New Vehicle Limited Warranty and Carefree Maintenance Program. The warranty provides coverage for four years or 50,000-miles (whichever occurs first), and can be transferred to a subsequent owner throughout the remainder of its duration. The Carefree Maintenance Program provides scheduled maintenance services for 2 years or 20,000 miles (whichever occurs first) at no additional charge, and can be transferred to a subsequent owner throughout the remainder of its duration.