2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Review

Here's some good news; a German sports sedan really can be had for less than $30k. While VW’s GTI gets all the enthusiast attention, the marque’s Jetta GLI does everything its hatchbacked sibling does — while also delivering a deep trunk and a far more spacious back seat.

Granted, the GLI’s interior treatment is a notch down from the GTI’s, but you can have wireless smartphone charging, an adjustable suspension system and a WIFI hotspot with the Autobahn trim package (at a slightly higher price point). That reconfigurable digital instrument panel you see here comes with it as well.

The front-wheel drive Jetta GLI’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine makes 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. And no, it won’t set the road on fire, but it’s enough to be entertaining nonetheless. My test car’s powertrain also included an unexpected surprise — a six-speed manual transmission.

(Look at the previous photo again.)

This means you’ll get a healthy serving of athleticism right alongside all of that practicality, and at a lower price point than the GTI’s. In other words, you get to have your pudding right alongside your meat.

(Pink Floyd fans will get this. Go ask one if you didn’t.)

Bottom line, the 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI is a nicely equipped ride with handsome styling, good power, accurate steering, strong brakes, a comfortable ride, engaging handling — and oh, by the way, a 28 mpg fuel economy average.


In other words, I like it.

Pricing starts at $26,245.

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© 2019 Automobiles Illustrated