Volkswagen’s Golf has been a favorite of college students, Y-generation and as a sporty, economical and especially affordable second car. And the peppy 2021 Golf TSI hatch, exemplifies this appeal.
The TSI gets its lively grunt from a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that puts out 147-hp and 184 lb/ft of torque. Coupled to the tested 6-speed manual transmission (an 8-speed automatic is optionally available), the TSI gets EPA mileage estimates of 29 city, 39-highway mpg. Now those are fairly close to hybrid numbers.
Performance wise and at low speeds, downshifts are frequent but at higher rpm’s the TSI had good spunk, especially when the turbo kicked in. At idle, the engine is especially quiet, not normally a trait of four bangers, but a testament to VW’s fine engineering.
Golf TSI also sports a functional and nicely designed interior with a racy flat-bottom steering wheel for a sporty touch.
Leatherette covered seats are thickly padded with sensible lateral support, and are comfy over long hauls.
A 6.5-inch touchscreen is on the small size compared to carmakers that are boasting huge screens on their vehicle offerings. It’s commendable though that VW stayed with functionally large and simple to use HVAC controls. Nothing fancy here but appreciated compared to some vehicles that are complicated and require several touches on a screen for simple operations. Golf’s can be used by customary feel, without having to take the eyes off the road.
Below the HVAC controls is a rubber coated small item storage bin that seems could have been better used for a wireless phone charger. There are, however, receptacles for wired charging.
Over on the analog gauge cluster, there’s a driver information display for alerts, features and Golf functions. The speedometer printed to 160 mph, but that’s presumably for Autobahn motoring.
Rear seat space can easily accommodate two adults. Three youngsters could fit but center passengers would have a high transaxle hump to contend with.
In an effort to evidently save cost, the TSI had a nylon sun roof shade instead of a hard cover. As such, we found that the sun’s rays still seep through making for a tepid interior in summer.
Back in the spacious cargo area, that measures 28 inches deep, 46.5 wide and 28 high, Golf’s hatch (manual) design affords excellent storage space. Need more space, flip the 60/40 rear seatbacks and cargo depth increases to 59 inches. Plus, there’s a pass-thru to carry skis or lengthy items. Liftover into the cargo area is a low 27 inches for easy loading of heavy, bulky items.
Shod with Hankook GT 205/55R16 tires, TSI rides smoothly with a bit of tautness. Its suspension nicely soaks up most modest road imperfections and thanks to its compact size, Golf parks easily with a tight turning radius.
Golf TSI comes standard with a host of safety features such as front assist collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian monitoring, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, anti-slip regulation/engine brake assist, electronic stability control w/electronic differential lock, tire pressure monitoring and more.
TSI’s base price of $23,195 had no extra cost items as most important feature’s car buyers want today, is included. The only extra cost was for delivery of $995. This took the bottom-line to an affordable $24,190. So priced, buyers get good content and precise German engineering at an exceptional price.
Added to this, the Golf TSI gets a full five stars from the government’s overall safety ratings; five for driver frontal crash, four for passenger; five each for front/rear seat side crash; and four for rollover.
Warranty wise, Golf offers a 4 year/50K mile limited that includes powertrain components; 7/100K corrosion protection; 2/20K Carefree Maintenance; and 3/36K 24-hour roadside assistance.