2021 Toyota Corolla vs 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI

2021 Toyota Corolla
2021 Toyota Corolla
$20,025MSRP
Overview
Overview
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2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
$29,880MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2021 Toyota Corolla
$20,025MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
$29,880MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now

CarGurus highlights

Winning Vehicle Image

According to CarGurus experts, the overall rating for the 2021 Toyota Corolla is 7.8 out of 10, while the 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI scores 8.0 out of 10. Based on these ratings, the 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI is the recommended choice for its superior performance, advanced technology, and driver-centric design.

Overview

MSRP

$20,025

MSRP

$29,880

Average price

$19,304

Average price

$29,197

Listings

2425

Listings

102
Ratings & Reviews
User Reviews
User Reviews

Expert reviews

7.8 out of 10

Expert reviews

8.0 out of 10
Pros
  • Standard advanced safety features
  • Fun to drive
  • Manual transmission available
Cons
  • Noisy
  • Outdated technology
Pros
  • Powerful engine
  • Manual transmission available
  • Great handling
Cons
  • Potentially polarizing design
  • Unintuitive technology
  • Prices rise quickly

2021 Toyota Corolla Reviews Summary

Everybody knows somebody who owns or has owned a Toyota Corolla. Thanks to a deserved reputation for affordability, reliability, and efficiency, the Corolla is what comes to mind when all you want is a cheap, dependable, and thrifty set of wheels.

Over the nameplate’s 55-year history, Toyota built a handful of Corollas that were anything but rolling appliances. But those fun-to-drive gems were relative rarities. Under the tenure of Akio Toyoda, the automaker’s current president and a man who loves to drive, the Corolla has become something more than a bore. It’s a car that makes you want to cruise instead of snooze.

We’re talking about the Corolla SE and XSE, of course. Toyota still makes dull and duller versions of its compact car, but the SE and XSE trim levels add some spice to the basic commuter-car recipe.

This year, the 2021 Toyota Corolla SE and XSE are available in a new limited-production Apex Edition flavor. It’s got a track-tuned sport suspension, a lowered ride height, revised steering calibration, a sport exhaust system, and lightweight 18-inch gloss black aluminum wheels that you can wrap in optional summer performance tires. Unfortunately, it also comes with a “Lookit me, Officer, I like to go fast!” body kit.

Fearing this would be the example Toyota sent to us for review, we instead happily accepted the key fob to a Barcelona Red Corolla XSE and discovered that you don’t need the Apex Edition treatment to enjoy driving this car.

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI Reviews Summary

With its updated engine, revised suspension, and tech-forward interior, the latest iteration of Volkswagen’s legendary GTI looks ready to do battle with the Hyundai Veloster N as well as the upcoming Honda Civic Si and Subaru WRX. With regards to performance, the new GTI leaves almost nothing to be desired.
Popular Features & Specs

Engine

1.8L 139 hp I4

Engine

2.0L 241 hp I4

Drive Train

FWD

Drive Train

FWD

Seating Capacity

5

Seating Capacity

5

Horsepower

Horsepower

241 hp @ 5000 rpm

MPG City

30

MPG City

25

MPG Highway

38

MPG Highway

34
2021 Toyota Corolla
2021 Toyota Corolla
$20,025MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
$29,880MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2021 Toyota Corolla
$20,025MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
$29,880MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now

CarGurus highlights

Winning Vehicle Image

According to CarGurus experts, the overall rating for the 2021 Toyota Corolla is 7.8 out of 10, while the 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI scores 8.0 out of 10. Based on these ratings, the 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI is the recommended choice for its superior performance, advanced technology, and driver-centric design.

Overview
MSRP
$20,025
$29,880
Average price
$19,304
$29,197
Listings
Ratings & Reviews
User reviews
4.2
4.8
Expert reviews

7.8 out of 10

Read full review

8.0 out of 10

Read full review
Pros & cons
Pros
  • Standard advanced safety features
  • Fun to drive
  • Manual transmission available
Cons
  • Noisy
  • Outdated technology
Pros
  • Powerful engine
  • Manual transmission available
  • Great handling
Cons
  • Potentially polarizing design
  • Unintuitive technology
  • Prices rise quickly
Summary

Everybody knows somebody who owns or has owned a Toyota Corolla. Thanks to a deserved reputation for affordability, reliability, and efficiency, the Corolla is what comes to mind when all you want is a cheap, dependable, and thrifty set of wheels.

Over the nameplate’s 55-year history, Toyota built a handful of Corollas that were anything but rolling appliances. But those fun-to-drive gems were relative rarities. Under the tenure of Akio Toyoda, the automaker’s current president and a man who loves to drive, the Corolla has become something more than a bore. It’s a car that makes you want to cruise instead of snooze.

We’re talking about the Corolla SE and XSE, of course. Toyota still makes dull and duller versions of its compact car, but the SE and XSE trim levels add some spice to the basic commuter-car recipe.

This year, the 2021 Toyota Corolla SE and XSE are available in a new limited-production Apex Edition flavor. It’s got a track-tuned sport suspension, a lowered ride height, revised steering calibration, a sport exhaust system, and lightweight 18-inch gloss black aluminum wheels that you can wrap in optional summer performance tires. Unfortunately, it also comes with a “Lookit me, Officer, I like to go fast!” body kit.

Fearing this would be the example Toyota sent to us for review, we instead happily accepted the key fob to a Barcelona Red Corolla XSE and discovered that you don’t need the Apex Edition treatment to enjoy driving this car.

With its updated engine, revised suspension, and tech-forward interior, the latest iteration of Volkswagen’s legendary GTI looks ready to do battle with the Hyundai Veloster N as well as the upcoming Honda Civic Si and Subaru WRX. With regards to performance, the new GTI leaves almost nothing to be desired.
Video
Popular Features & Specs
Engine
1.8L 139 hp I4
2.0L 241 hp I4
Drive Train
FWD
FWD
Seating Capacity
5
5
Horsepower
241 hp @ 5000 rpm
MPG City
30
25
MPG Highway
38
34
Look and feel
2021 Toyota Corolla
8/10
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
7/10
The 2021 Toyota Corolla, particularly in its 12th-generation form, was one of the most attractive Corollas in recent history. The SE and XSE trims added sporty design elements like sport-design bumpers, a mesh grille insert, a subtle body kit, twin-outlet exhaust, and 18-inch aluminum wheels. The Celestite Gray metallic paint with a blue undertone made the Corolla genuinely appealing. However, some design aspects, such as the hood shut line and the over-styled rear bumper, detracted from its overall look. The Apex Edition amplified these stranger design elements. The Corolla L, LE, and XLE trims offered a more anonymous look, while the Corolla Hybrid provided an affordable path to 50+ mpg. In contrast, the 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI, despite having all-new body panels, retained a familiar look that might not be immediately distinguishable from its predecessor. The new GTI was longer and lower, with a stable silhouette and a short wheelbase that promised nimbleness. The front end featured a subtle honeycomb-patterned air intake and a signature red accent line running between the LED headlights. Optional light bars and standard LED fog lights added drama to the front end. Aerodynamic improvements included redesigned side-view mirrors and underbody paneling. The GTI came with red brake calipers and varying wheel sizes depending on the trim. The color palette included staple colors and some fun options like Atlantic Blue Metallic and Kings Red Metallic.
Performance
2021 Toyota Corolla
8/10
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
10/10
The 2021 Toyota Corolla SE and XSE were equipped with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 169 horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 151 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 rpm. This engine paired with a Dynamic Shift CVT, paddle shifters, and a Sport driving mode. A six-speed manual gearbox was available for an extra $200. The CVT used a mechanical first gear to eliminate drivetrain slip, and its ten programmed ratios helped hide typical CVT traits. The Corolla sat on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform, which provided a low center of gravity and enjoyable driving dynamics. The SE and XSE trims featured 18-inch aluminum wheels and 225/40 all-season tires. The Corolla XSE demonstrated predictable handling characteristics and was engaging enough for a compact car. The EPA estimated the Corolla XSE's fuel economy at 34 mpg combined, and it averaged 31.1 mpg in real-world driving. The 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI featured a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 241 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 273 lb-ft of torque at 1,750 rpm. This engine was an updated version of the EA888 engine from the Mk7 GTI, with integrated exhaust headers for better heat management. The GTI offered a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic (DSG) with paddle shifters. Front-wheel drive was the only option. The EPA estimated the GTI's fuel economy at 24 mpg city, 34 highway, and 28 combined with the manual transmission, and slightly better with the DSG. The GTI's retuned suspension, electronic torque-sensing limited-slip differential, and various drive modes contributed to its excellent handling. The top-tier Autobahn trim featured DCC adaptive damping for even better performance.
Form and function
2021 Toyota Corolla
6/10
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
9/10
The 2021 Toyota Corolla XSE offered numerous upgrades, including SofTex leatherette seats with striped fabric inserts, front-seat heating, and eight-way power driver’s seat adjustment. This feature provided added comfort and a commanding driving position. The rear seats offered good support but had tight headroom and legroom, with no air conditioning vents. The Corolla sedan's trunk provided 13.1 cubic feet of cargo space, while the hatchback offered 17.8 cubic feet. However, the sedan's trunk lacked an inside handle for easy closing. The 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI balanced performance and practicality with 19.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat and 34.5 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. The GTI's center stack was angled toward the driver, featuring a "light and sight" panel for adjusting headlights and defogging settings. Rear legroom was surprisingly good, making the GTI suitable for a family of four. The GTI's interior was driver-centric, with thoughtful design elements enhancing the driving experience.
Technology
2021 Toyota Corolla
9/10
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
7/10
The 2021 Toyota Corolla added Android Auto as standard equipment, joining Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, and SiriusXM satellite radio. Every Corolla also included a free year of Safety Connect services and a three-month Wi-Fi hotspot trial. The SE and XSE trims featured an 8-inch touchscreen, with the XSE offering Service Connect and Remote Connect. The SE and XSE also had a nine-speaker JBL premium sound system, dynamic voice recognition, and dynamic navigation. The infotainment system was user-friendly, with physical knobs and shortcut buttons. However, the radio knobs could be hard to grasp, and the JBL sound system lacked clarity. The 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI boasted a fully digital driver information display with customizable gauge displays and 30 ambient lighting profiles. The display spanned 10.25 inches and was standard on all trims. The infotainment system featured an 8.25-inch touchscreen in the S trim and a 10-inch display with navigation in the SE and Autobahn trims. Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Bluetooth connectivity were standard. The SE and Autobahn trims included a 9-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system. However, the touch-capacitive volume and climate controls were frustrating to use. Volkswagen's Car-Net system offered various features, some at extra cost, including Remote Access, Safe and Secure, and Hotspot.
Safety
2021 Toyota Corolla
9/10
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
7/10
The 2021 Toyota Corolla came with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (TSS 2.0), which included adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, pedestrian and cyclist detection, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assistance, lane-centering assistance, and automatic high-beam headlights. The Corolla also added rear side-impact airbags and a blind-spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alert. The adaptive cruise control and lane-centering assistance had some quirks, but overall, the safety features performed well. The 2020 Corolla earned a "Top Safety Pick" rating from the IIHS and a 5-star overall rating from the NHTSA. The 2021 model awaited re-testing due to the new airbags. The 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI featured IQ.Drive, which included adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and rear traffic alert. However, IQ.Drive was only available on automatic GTIs. All GTI trims came with Park Distance Control, and the Autobahn trim added Park Assist for automatic parking. As a new model, the 2022 GTI had not yet been crash-tested by the NHTSA or IIHS.
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