$30,000 Can Get You Fast Speed in the 2021 Volkswagen GTI

Supercars offer top speeds and high performance, but they also come with a high price tag. Luckily, some vehicles perform well and are still affordable. In fact, the 2021 Volkswagen GTI is number one on U.S. News’ list “Best Compact Cars for 2021.” Here’s what makes the 2021 GTI a standout.

The 2021 Volkswagen GTI’s acceleration

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The 2021 Volkswagen GTI boasts a 228-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine and great handling. U.S. News found it “provides spirited acceleration as soon as you hit the gas pedal, and power continues to come on strong as you move faster.”

The GTI comes with a manual transmission or an available seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. U.S. News says the automatic “performs snappy shifts during energetic driving.” All trims have front-wheel drive. The GTI comes standard with a limited-slip differential plus a multi-mode vehicle dynamics selector. Though it offers excellent performance, the GTI doesn’t have the best fuel efficiency.

2021 Volkswagen GTI pricing

The 2021 GTI is a little expensive for its class. The base model starts at $28,695. There are only three trims, and the SE starts at $32,665. The top-trim Autobahn starts at $36,945.

Though several advanced safety features are standard, more come with the Autobahn trim. A manual stick shift is standard on all trims. Switching to an automatic transmission costs $800 more.

Overview of the GTI

U.S. News awarded the 2021 GTI a favorable overall score. It earned an 8.4 out of 10. It also placed in a three-way tie with the Honda Civic and Mazda3 for this year’s best compact car. The GTI succeeds through a combination of “price, performance, and function,” U.S. News explains. A redesign is expected for the 2022 model year.


This five-seat car boasts quality finishes, a spacious interior, and lots of cargo space. Its 22.8 cubic feet of cargo capacity increases to 52.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. That’s more space than most other compact cars offer. The interior has high-quality materials and soft-touch plastics. The cloth upholstery in the base trim is plaid. Higher trims have leather upholstery.


The infotainment system can be a bit slow, but it’s easy to use. A 6.5-inch touchscreen is standard in the base trim, and an eight-inch version is available on the other two trims. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are standard, as are “VW’s Car-Net telematics system, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a USB port, a six-speaker stereo, and Bluetooth,” U.S. News reports. Available tech features include “navigation, satellite radio, an additional USB port, wireless smartphone integration, and an eight-speaker Fender premium stereo.”

Safety features

The 2021 GTI comes standard with a number of advanced safety features. They include automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and a rearview camera. In addition, adaptive headlights, automatic high-beams, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and automatic parking assist are available.


The 2021 Volkswagen GTI offers plenty of performance and speed. However, it’s an all-around great compact car that’s worth a look if you’re searching for a zippy compact providing comfort and quality. Overall, the GTI has “thrilling handling, solid acceleration, and a refined, spacious cabin,” U.S. News says.