Wednesday, 18 August 2021

I call it a The Cruise Rocket for its ballistic acceleration. The TCR is fast, loud and user-friendly

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I call it a The Cruise Rocket for its ballistic acceleration. The TCR is fast, loud and user-friendly

Recently drove the #298/300, Golf GTi TCR. VW’s swansong of this current generation of Mk 7 GTi and possibly most popular hatch in Mzansi. Our love affair for this beauty and the beast knows no bounds.

What is it?

The TCR is the most powerful GTi, VW currently builds with the name taken from their TCR race car. It’s the only VeeDubs model that comes fully specced, with the only option being the 3 colours; Pure White, Tornado Red or Pure Grey. I drove a Pure White one. The honeycomb decals stretching from the front to the back passenger doors make it look cheap. But the black, stealthy 18-inch forged alloy wheels, ground-hugging front bumper, bigger exhaust pipes with a massive rear diffuser and boot mounted rear spoiler show the sporty intent of the GTi.

Interior is sedate, changes being the classic GTi tartan seat upholstery and alcantara with a perforated leather steering wheel with a red centre stripe. The driving position is good with lots of adjustment at the seat and steering wheel. The TCR’s cabin has more high-quality plastics than most cars in its segment and the logical design of the dashboard spills over into the infotainment system. Which doesn’t suffer from lag and has clear graphics. For good measure Android Auto and Apple CarPlay thrown in. It’s as intuitive and easy to use.

It’s 213kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine is the most powerful motor fitted to a new GTi. It’s performance was on display in Moloto Road from GP to Mpumalanga’s Kameelrivier dropping my friend Mr Andries Mahlangu. Memorable trip. Got to meet his beloved mom. Priceless. The road has single lanes in some areas where slow moving traffic abounds. Changing modes from comfortable and fuel-efficient Eco mode, to the punchier and more noisy Sport mode. Voila! The slow moving traffic fast disappeared behind me. Drove Mr Andile Gaba and Mr Lonwabo Tumela, on a different kind of road, the undulating and twisty roads to  Haarties. The TCR didn't disappoint. It makes for a comfortable daily drive. With extra radiators to help keep the engine cool and a high-performance braking system with drilled and ventilated front discs. Those brakes worked magic in stopping the TCR. With the price tag of R689 200, it’s not cheap.


Exciting and fun to drive, less thirsty on open roads. Less so on city freeways clogged with fuel burning slow moving traffic. Can’t wait to see what the company does with its next-gen high-performance Golfs. As we draw a curtain on this beloved of hot hatch I want to say a heartfelt “Enkosi kakhulu VW ngomsebenzi ohm” (Thank you very much VW for a job well done). And one caveat, it’s popular with ootsotsi (thieves)!

For more details on The VW Golf GTi TCRvisit

[email protected]; twitter: @mcethe

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Published in Tourism, Cars, Traffic