Tuesday, January 28, 2020

2019 VW Jetta GLI 2.0T 35th Anniversary Edition: The Sporty Performance Version

Highlight: Jetta’s interior cabin is larger than most of the vehicles in the segment.

Test Vehicles MSRP: $27,890 (S Model: $19,640)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; a rearview camera; daytime running lights; an automatic post collision braking system; a hill start assist system; and a tire pressure monitoring system

Standard Equipment (S Model): 16-inch alloy wheels; a 6-speed manual transmission; adjustable front seats; cloth seats; a tilt/telescopic steering wheel; a 6.5-inch infotainment screen; single zone manual climate control system; an eco mode selection system; and electric parking brake  

Standard Equipment (GLI): 18-inch wheels; 2.0-liter, 16-valve; 228-horsepower; a 6-speed manual transmission; ventilated front and solid rear disc brakes with red brake calipers; electro-mechanical power steering with variable assistance; an electronic stability control; automatic headlights; heated foldable power adjustable side mirrors with integrated turn signals; GLI grille, bumpers, side skirts and exterior trim; chrome dual exhaust tips; 4 mode adaptive chassis control; black roof; side mirror caps and rear deck spoiler; a dual zone automatic climate control system; a leather-like three spoke steering wheel; heated front seats; 60/40 rear split seat with center armrest; GLI interior; a black headliner; front seat center console with armrest and storage; auto dimming rearview mirror; 10-customizable interior colors; stainless steel pedal cluster and footrests; driving mode selection system; forward collision warning and autonomous emergency front brake assist system; a blind spot monitor with a rear traffic alert system; and a 6-speaker sound system

Options: None

Other Trim Levels:

R-Line; SE; SEL; and GTI 

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 4-speaker with AM/FM

Bluetooth Connectivity: Standard

USB Connectivity: Standard

Apple/Android Connectivity: Standard

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 6 years or 72,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 6 years or 72,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 1.4-liter, 4-cylinder turbo/147-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage:

What’s New: With the seventh-generation Jetta compact sedan being all-new for the model year, a 35th Anniversary Edition trim is available, which showcases the sporty aspects of the vehicle.

Why: For the 2019 model year, the wheelbase, the length and the shoulder room are significantly more in some instances than the outgoing model.

The Jetta’s size places the vehicle in a segment that is larger than a traditional compact, but significantly smaller than most midsize sedans.  

Depending upon the trim, VW’s new volume sedan is available with a new 6-speed manual or an all-new 8-speed automatic transmission. The all-new Jetta is available with two engines.

While the 4-cylinder, 184-horsepower engine is a carryover, the base SE model we reviewed was fueled by the brand’s new 148-horsepower turbocharged engine. The new 1.4-liter engine is a hare short in terms of horsepower, when compared to last year’s model. According to, the engine is capable of racking up 450 miles on a full tank of gas. To enhance the driving range and maximize fuel efficiency, our test vehicle was equipped with an off-on start-stop engine.
The Jetta is available with 16, 17 and 18-inch tires. All Jettas now come with alloy wheels, as opposed to wheel covers.

Inside the vehicle, the interior designers have created two touchscreen infotainment centers, a 6.5-inch screen or an 8.0-inch screen. The larger screen is screen for the SEL model.

And, the compact Jetta is available with the latest safety driving aids too. Those features can range from a blind spot monitor with a rear-traffic cross alert system to a lane keep assist system to a forward collision warning system to a radar activated cruise control system. These features are only available on select trims.

Moreover, the all-new Jetta is available with such premium features as a power panoramic roof to a heated steering wheel to leather seats with both a cooling and heating system to a keyless entry system to a memory operated power driver’s seat.

We were able to get our hands on the sporty looking GLI model, which was powered by a 2.8-liter engine, with its 18-inch wheels. The GLI model we reviewed, with its fun-to-drive, 6-speed manual transmission, was powered by a peppy 228-horsepower. For those seeking a sportier version of the Jetta, the 35th Anniversary Edition we reviewed is worth considering.

Lastly, the Jetta offers one of the strongest new vehicle warranties in the industry, 6 years or 72,000 miles.

But: For those expecting a dramatic shift, the exterior styling for the 2019 Jetta is more evolutionary than revolutionary. Traditionalists will love the styling.

And with the exception of the Japanese makes from Mazda, Honda, Subaru and Toyota, pricing for the German-engineered VW starts out higher than the other compacts. While the noted models are available in a hatchback configuration, the Jetta is only available as four door sedan.

The new Jetta has slightly less headroom than the model it replaced. And the CD player and the adjustable front center armrest have been traded-in for a fixed front center armrest. The SE trim we reviewed also deletes SiriusXM radio from the option list. One will need to step up to the top of the line SEL trim or use a smartphone to play the subscription-based service through its App.

Lastly, the manual transmission is only available on the base S trim and the sportier GTI trim.

Verdict: The 35th Anniversary Edition is a standout in the compact segment. Not only is it larger and roomier than its competitors, its fun-to-drive too. VW has managed to offer a number of trims. Our 35th Anniversary Edition is VW’s version of a poor man’s Audi, which is the luxury sibling to the mainstream brand.

Competition: Hyundai Elantra; Honda Civic; Nissan Sentra; Kia Forte; Mazda3; Subaru Impreza; and Toyota Corolla

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