Volkswagen Golf R Estate 2021 review

Volkswagen Golf R Estate 2021 review

October 4, 2021 Off By Joe K

What exactly is it? The new Golf R Estate has arrived, almost a year after we first drove the latest Golf R hatchback, bringing with it several recent developments that promise to make it an even faster and more rounded car than its predecessor. Here is the Volkswagen Golf R Estate 2021 review.

The popular Volkswagen estate has long been a fan favorite. Its combination of performance and practicality has traditionally made it a popular choice for those attempting to balance a desire for real driver enjoyment with a need for more than adequate load-carrying capacity.
The new model builds on the standard Golf estate in much the same way it replaces it, with typically subtle exterior styling changes that distinguish it as the line’s flagship without going overboard on unnecessary design flourishes.

Front Bumper of Volkswagen Golf R Estate

Volkswagen Golf R Estate 2021 headlights

The front bumper is distinctive with larger air ducts and gloss black elements include:

  • Illuminated strip through the grille that serves as a daytime running light
  • Standard LED headlights
  • Matt chrome-look mirror housings
  • Wider sills
  • Anodized aluminum roof rails
  • New rear bumper housing a quartet of chromed tailpipes.

The new model is 71mm longer than the previous model, measuring 4633mm in length. A longer wheelbase, which is stretched to 2686mm, accounts for 66mm of this increase.
A slew of R-specific features adds to the appeal of the interior, which, despite an abundance of glossy black plastic, feels agreeably solid in terms of build. A new multifunction steering wheel with a drive mode button, highly supportive front sport seats, brushed aluminum pedals, new sill, dashboard trim elements, and unique R-themed graphics for the instrument and infotainment displays are all available.

Volkswagen Golf R Estate 2021 Capacity

The longer wheelbase gives the Golf R estate more rear-seat space than its predecessor or the most recent Golf R hatchback. The increased rear overhang also provides an impressive 611 liters of luggage space beneath the cargo blind, which rises to 1642 liters when the split-folding back seat is stowed.

The philosophy behind the powertrain, like the subtlety evident in the styling, hasn’t changed much. The new Golf R estate retains the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine. The EA888-designated unit has reached the fifth generation. The combustion process has been tweaked slightly, and the exhaust has been reworked, among other minor changes. Power increases by 20bhp to 316bhp, while torque increases by 30lb-ft to 310lb-ft.

It still drives all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with R-specific paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel.

The big news, however, is the debut of a heavily redesigned 4Motion four-wheel-drive system. It now has two electronically controlled clutches on the rear axle for more accurate drive distribution between the front and rear wheels and individual drive to each of the rear wheels as part of a new torque-vectoring function.

The Golf R is the same Magna-developed system used by Audi in the new third-generation RS3 and by Cupra with the Formentor VZ5. It gives the Golf R estate a programmable drift function for the first time since it was introduced to the Volkswagen line-up in 2015.

Volkswagen Golf R Estate 2021 Performance Package

With the addition of an optional Performance Package, our test car now has six driving modes: Comfort, Sport, Race, Nürburgring, Drift, and Individual. They are accessed via a physical button in the dashboard’s center, which launches a menu on the infotainment display. Then, you’re done with another touch of the screen. As you scroll through them, the graphics on the digital instrument display change color to keep you informed of how you have configured the car.

All of this is supported by an updated MacPherson-strut front and multi-link rear suspension setup that includes :

  • Volkswagen’s DCC variable-rate dampers
  • A 20mm lower ride height
  • More significant negative camber to the front wheels
  • Modified transverse-link mounts
  • Different hub carriers than those found on standard Golf estate models.

Driving Experience of Volkswagen Golf R Estate 2021

How does it feel?

Configuring the new Golf R Estate to suit any driving situation is complicated due to the wide range of driving modes available. In some cases, the difference in character is negligible, particularly between Sport, Race, and Nürburgring, where the nuances in the setup can be challenging to discern. The result, however, is a fantastic range of ability between Comfort on one end and dynamism on the other.

Volkswagen Golf R Estate 2021 Speed

The real-world pace is undeniably fast, with a quick step-off and wonderfully tractable qualities throughout the mid-range. Volkswagen claims a 0-62mph time of 4.9 seconds, which is 0.1 seconds slower than the previous Golf R estate with the Performance Package released in 2018. However, it is the overall effortlessness of the performance that defines it. There is always a solid desire to overtake in lower gears with such readily available torque, and a wide range of ratios allows for relaxed cruising at typical highway speeds in higher gears. The top speed is nominally limited to 155mph, but with the Performance Package, it is increased to 168mph.

The engine’s tone is milder in Comfort, but it takes on a raspier and more expressive style in Race, Nürburgring, and Drift, were pops and crackles through the exhaust on the overrun.

Volkswagen Golf R Estate 2021 Driving Experience

All of this is supported by excellent dynamics. Responsive and accurate steering in the more sporty driving modes ensures that directional changes are always quick and crisp. The electromechanical system also has more weighting and feel than previous Golf estate models, giving the driver more confidence on more tough roads.

The new four-wheel-drive system has a more rear-biased drive apportionment, resulting in more neutral handling. The front wheels still pull you out of corners, but the ability to send different amounts of drive to each of the rear wheels reduces understeer, giving the car a more planted feel. Our test car’s optional 235/35 R19 Bridgestone Potenza S005 tires also have more traction and grip.

Body roll is well-controlled thanks to the adaptive damping’s fast-acting qualities and overall body structure stiffness improvements. Nonetheless, the Golf R estate never feels as secure as the smaller, lighter, and ultimately more nimble Golf R hatchback.

Many prospective buyers are unlikely to take the new Golf R estate to a racetrack or a skidpan to test various driving modes. But if they do, the new model will drift at seemingly impossible angles.

Despite our test car’s optional 19in tires, the ride is predictably firm in the more sporting driving modes. However, it relaxes and is impressively unobtrusive in Comfort mode. There is, however, a constant roar from the low-profile rubber, most noticeably at the front end, taking the edge off the otherwise impressive refinement.

Volkswagen Golf R Estate 2021 review
Should I purchase Volkswagen Golf R Estate 2021?

The new Golf R estate is a very appealing everyday driving proposition. It’s quick, fun to drive, engaging, safe on the road, and efficient. It also comes with 268 liters more boot space than its Golf R hatchback sibling.

However, it is far from a steal. Based on the German price of €51,585, UK buyers can expect to pay up to £41,000. In addition, it may cost a little more than £2000 for the optional Performance Package in the UK next year.