Although it seems dramatic, there aren’t many front-wheel-drive Volkswagen Jetta GLIs left in the world. The GLI is marketed as a performance variant of the Jetta, which is absolutely acceptable for rental. It is fully equipped with features and character. Its powertrain, which comes standard with a nimble 228 horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine and six-speed manual gearbox, is crucial. A four-door car with a manual transmission is as common as common sense. (VW provides an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic for a little premium.) Although newer than the GLI, its nearest rivals, the Honda Civic Si and the Hyundai Elantra N, share a similar love of driving fun. The 244-hp Golf GTI hatchback, the GLI’s erstwhile equal, has overtaken it in terms of age, but it’s still enjoyable to drive. Leather upholstery and heated and ventilated front seats are included as standard. Even though the GLI has been around longer than its rivals, it is nevertheless deserving of praise for completing our 75-mph highway fuel economy test at 36 mpg.


What has changed for 2024?

With the exception of a special 40th Anniversary model, the VW Jetta GLI remains largely unchanged in 2024. Only 1984 (the year the Jetta GLI was released; not the title of the well-known George Orwell book) will be constructed. Even better than that, the beginning price of the GLI is drastically reduced for the anniversary edition, which includes some interesting additional badging inside. It includes custom-made fabric seats as standard equipment.

Cost and Which One to Purchase

The Autobahn is a fully equipped trim level that includes every improvement that was previously an option as standard equipment. This includes wireless charging, heated and ventilated power front seats, adjustable dampers, a digital gauge cluster, leather interior, a strong audio system, and a panoramic sunroof. Customers can still select a manual or automatic gearbox, but the latter is more expensive.

Performance – Engine, Transmission, and Other

A 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine with 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque powers the GLI. (This engine has a 241-hp variant for the Mk8 GTI.) A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox is an option in addition to the regular six-speed manual gearbox. No matter the gearbox, acceleration is much faster than with the 158-hp engine in the base Jetta. In our tests, the six-speed manual GLI reached 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, beating out a Honda Civic Si with comparable equipment by 0.7 seconds. Rowing the stick-shift model was simple and enjoyable. The automatic’s hesitation to downshift during vigorous cornering was our only issue with it. Speaking of corners, the Jetta GLI has responsive steering, powerful brakes, and a comfortable ride thanks to its adjustable dampers. However, it could use a set of summer tyres to match the firm cornering grip of its hatchback GTI sibling.

Fuel efficiency and actual MPG

The Jetta GLI receives separate fuel-economy ratings since it shares a turbocharged four-cylinder with two different gearboxes. According to estimates, the six-speed manual gearbox gets 26 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the interstate. According to government statistics, models with the optional seven-speed automatic can expect to get 26 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. On our 75 mph fuel-economy route, which is a part of our thorough testing programme, we tested a GLI with each gearbox, and both produced an amazing 36 mpg on the highway. Visit the EPA website to learn more about the Jetta GLI’s fuel efficiency.

Cargo, Comfort, and the Interior

The GLI shares the same fundamental design and enough passenger room as the regular Jetta, but some red trim adds a little more flair. We simply wish Volkswagen used better-quality materials in some of the interior components. The molded-in stitching on the dashboard and the rough, slick plastic on the doors are particularly uncomfortable. A 10.3-inch digital gauge cluster, programmable ambient interior lighting, heated and ventilated front seats, and a panoramic sunroof are just a few of the luxury standard equipment that the GLI possesses. The most athletic Jetta is surprisingly useful. Seven carry-on luggage fit in the spacious trunk of the compact automobile.

Connectivity and Information

The Jetta GLI offers an easy-to-use infotainment system with an 8.0-inch touchscreen that supports Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hotspot that requires a subscription. Additionally, it features wireless device charging and a 400-watt, eight-speaker BeatsAudio sound system.

Features for Driver Assistance and Safety

Standard driver-assistance features on the Jetta GLI include automatic high lights and lane-keeping assistance. Visit the websites of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for more details regarding the Jetta GLI’s crash test results. Important safety elements include