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Thursday, October 1, 2020

2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 2.0T S: The Brand's Sports-Tuned Compact Sedan

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

Test Vehicle's MSRP: $27,165

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; forward collision warning and autonomous emergency front brake assist system; a blind spot monitor with a rear traffic alert system; and a tire pressure monitoring system

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; and a 6-speaker sound system 


Options: Grey exterior paint

Other Trim Levels:

GLI Autobahn 

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 6-speaker with AM/FM 

Bluetooth Connectivity: Standard

USB Connectivity: Standard

Apple/Android Connectivity: Standard

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

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

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage: 30-city/40-hwy

What’s New: After being restyled during the 2019 model year, the VW Jetta GLI is a carryover model. Wi-Fi is now standard.


Why: The sixth generation Jetta GLI was reworked during the 2019 model year. The wheelbase, the length and the shoulder room are significantly more in some instances than the outgoing model.

The Jetta GLI, which is a sportier version of the Jetta, size places the vehicle in a segment that is larger than traditional compacts, but significantly smaller than most midsize sedans. The Jetta GLI also has a lower profile than a typical Jetta.  

We were able to get our hands on the sporty looking GLI S model, which was powered by a 2.0-liter engine, with its 18-inch wheels. The GLI is available in two trims: S and Autobahn. The GLI model we reviewed, with its fun-to-drive, 6-speed manual transmission, was powered by a peppy 228-horsepower. An optional automatic transmission is available too. For those who are familiar with the VW portfolio, the GLI is known as the GTI of sports sedans.

The GLI Autobahn adds wireless charging and a Black package. The Black package can be outfitted with such features as black 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels, roof, spoiler and mirror caps.

Inside the vehicle, the Jetta is equipped an easy-to-use 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system and red stitching trimming the seats.

And, the compact Jetta GLI 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.

We were able to get our hands on the sporty looking GLI S model, which was powered by a 2.0-liter engine, with its 18-inch wheels. The GLI is available in two trims: S and Autobahn. The Jetta GLI model we reviewed, with its fun-to-drive, 6-speed manual transmission, was powered by a peppy 228-horsepower. For those who are familiar with the VW portfolio, the GLI is known as the GTI of sports sedans.

The sporty four door sedan featured a MacPherson strut suspension mated with a multi-link rear suspension. The vehicle also contained anti-roll bars, a sport-tuned gas-filled shock absorbers, stiffer springs and larger brakes than a typical Jetta.

Moreover, the GLI Autobahn adds wireless charging, a power driver's seat and a higher end audio system. Furthermore, to distinguish the racier Autobahn in terms of an exterior package, a new Black package available is available. It can be outfitted with such features as black 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels, roof, spoiler and mirror caps.

But: After a redesign in 2019, one will notice that the exterior styling for the Jetta GLI is more evolutionary than revolutionary. Traditionalists will love the styling, while those seeking a more dramatic change will have to look elsewhere.

Moreover, pricing for the Jetta GLI is higher than both the Honda Civic Si and the Hyundai Elantra GT.

Lastly, the new car bumper-to-bumper warranty and the powertrain warranty has been downgraded, as a result of VW’s improved quality.

Verdict: The Jetta GLI is a standout in the compact segment. Not only is it larger and roomier than its competitors, the vehicle is fun-to-drive too, especially, when outfitted with the 6-speed manual.

Competition: Honda Civic Si; Hyundai Elantra GT N Line; and Subaru WRX


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