2019 VW Jetta GLI

For shoppers that like the GTI but want a sedan

2019 VW Jetta GLI

For shoppers that like the GTI but want a sedan

By Andres Valbuena, Partner, Car-ED.com | March 2019


The 2019 Jetta GLI is a great choice for the shopper that wants performance and style. The new MQB platform is excellent and brings technology updates including the GTI powertrain to this sedan. If you want to make your commute more fun and save thousands over the luxury brands, then definitely take a look at this new Jetta GLI.

What is this vehicle?

The Jetta GLI first launched in the 80’s as the MK1. Back then, it used the same engine as the GTI and also included some better bolstered seats, sport suspension, and other performance tweaks. It was fun to drive and was a great performance version of the Jetta. That same formula carried onto the second generation but then it lost its way in the MK3, including its name. In 2005, the original formula came to be again with the MK4 and carried onto the MK5. That formula of using the same equipment as the GTI kept those performance sedan customers smiling. With the Mk6 Jetta, there were changes made to the platform that impacted the base driving characteristics. Because the Jetta was redesigned towards a lower cost vehicle, some of that cost cutting naturally carried into the GLI. No longer was it a GTI with a trunk. It wasn’t a bad vehicle by any means but it wasn’t as much fun as a GTI.

Finally, with this all-new 2019 model, it’s arguably the best GLI ever – probably because we have an incredible GTI to build from. Golf R brakes, 228hp GTI engine, and the VAQ limited slip differential really makes this GLI shine. We’re finally back to being on par with the GTI.

Who is this vehicle for?

Anyone looking at a Compact Sedan that is focused more on performance and driving.  The 2019 Jetta GLI really makes the driving experience fun.

Beyond just the driving characteristics, the Jetta GLI is really loaded with the latest tech. LED headlamps and taillights, 10 color ambient lighting, KESSY keyless access and push button start, Dual Zone climate control, Front Assist, Blind Spot Monitor, and Rear Traffic Alert – all that STANDARD.

Why is this vehicle important to you, the buyer?

We’ve always seen VW’s as connecting with buyers that want a vehicle more focused on driving characteristics. Some of their past models may have strayed a little from that idea, but this Jetta GLI definitely cements the performance idea. So it’s important to know that they really succeeded in developing a GLI that delivers driving fun. Also note that the equipment levels and features can be compared to luxury sedans that cost much more.

Interesting facts about the Jetta GLI!

  • We believe they succeeded in making a “GTI with a trunk”
  • Comes with a 228hp 4cyl turbo with either a 6sp manual or 7sp DSG automatic transmission
  • Standard 18″ alloy wheels
  • Available premium features include: Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated front leather seating surfaces, and BeatsAudio® sound system
  • Comes with Bumper-to-Bumper Limited Warranty, with 6-years/72,000-miles (whichever occurs first) of transferable coverage
  • There is also a 35th Anniversary Edition which celebrates 35 years of GLI heritage and adds DCC® adaptive damping
  • MSRP starts at $25,995

What Impressed Us / Top Likes:

We are car guys and like cars that perform and handle well. That said, this Jetta GLI definitely fits the bill.

Some highlights for us are:

  • The 228hp GTI engine
  • The tight MQB chassis
  • The available premium features like: Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated front leather seating surfaces, and BeatsAudio® sound system
  • The VAQ limited slip differential
  • The starting price of $25,995
  • The strong and fade free brakes
  • The luxurious interior

Items to Make Better (Least Favorite Things):

There’s not much but here goes:

  • The somewhat stiff suspension may not be everyone’s cup of tea. We approve though.
  • It’s a little quiet, maybe a slightly louder exhaust?
  • Styling could be more aggressive but that’s up to personal preference

Segment and Competitors:

  • Honda Civic SI
  • Subaru WRX
  • Mazda 3
  • Hyundai Elantra Sport
  • We could even see this competing with some luxury models like the Audi A4, Mercedes A220, and the BMW 3 Series

Pricing and Availability:

MSRP starts at $25,995, going all the way up to $29,995 for the Autobahn trim.  Delivery and Handling adds another $895 to this range of pricing.

Available NOW, so don’t wait! 😊

Build you own here: https://www.vw.com/builder/tab/trim/model/jetta-gli/

2019-06-11T20:04:18-04:00Mar 2019|Car Reviews|