Car Reviews
Volkswagen Jetta GLI

THIS HOT HATCHBACK MAKES THE FUN-TO-DRIVE JETTA EVEN BETTER

Like some of the world’s best-known celebrities, among car cognoscenti, some models need only one name (think Corvette or 911). Well, here’s another to add to that list: the GLI, the performance-oriented edition of the compact Volkswagen Jetta sedan.

When designing this close relative of the souped-up Golf hatchback known as the GTI, the GLI’s engineers basically lifted the good stuff from the hot hatchback and transplanted it into the already-fun-to-drive seventh-generation Jetta.

The transformation starts with shoehorning the same 228-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine under the Jetta’s hood. Power is sent to the front wheels via a slick close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox with a precise feel (a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission is an option).

With that much power on tap, it’s no surprise that the GLI moves out smartly. Beefed-up suspension, steering and brake hardware also make the transition, creating one of the most entertaining sports sedans on the road today. 

Strengths

  • Back seat has room for two adults.
  • Reasonable price tag and 32 m.p.g. on the highway make it a surprisingly responsible choice. 

 

Weaknesses

  • Its looks aren’t flashy enough to satisfy some buyers.
  • The DSG automatic is nice, but the manual is a joy to use.

 

Bottom Line

  • Low-key looks mean no one will know how much fun you’re having.

 

Pricing

  • Base Price: $25,995
  • As Tested: $31,185  

 

M.P.G. (city/highway)

  • 25/32 (2.0L I4/manual)