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Volkswagen goes stylish with revamped Jetta GLI
Upgraded power goes a long way
Published Friday, June 28, 2019 1:00 pm
by Winfred Cross | For The Charlotte Post

The 2019 Jetta has extra muscle under the hood.

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Volkswagen’s revamped Jetta is a stylish success with one glaring flaw: captain, it’s got now power. Well, Scotty, you can beam up the GLI to give the Jetta the boost it sorely needs.

How much of a power boost do you get if you select the Jetta GLI? You jump from a meager 147 horsepower to a robust 228 hp. That’s a noticeable difference, especially when you throw in the 207 pounds-feet of torque. This GLI is a different beast all together.

My test car was a 35th anniversary edition, which is different from the S or the Autobahn. The GLI harkens back to the GLI days when it was more of a sports car. Yes, each gets the same engine but the anniversary edition gets DCC, which is a four-mode selectable chassis.

You can do normal, sport, comfort or customize your own setting. You can feel a difference certainly when it’s in sport mode. The already crisp shifting DSG, seven-speed transmission shifts quicker and the suspension is stiffer. You can let the auto transmission do it’s thing or you can use the paddle shifters. I suggest you try them. The automatic transmission is fine, but you can have some great fun with those paddles.

Does the GLI drive differently than the regular Jetta? Yes, it does. You can reach 60 mph much quicker and you can attack some twisty roads with more authority. You will not be afraid to pass or make quick lane changes The 2.0-liter turbo-charged four-cylinder is the kind of engine that should be standard in every Jetta. The GLI’s steering also gets tweaked. It’s more responsive and allows more feed back as to what’s going on at the wheels.

Even if you select the sport mode, the GLI rides comfortably, or comfortable enough so it doesn’t bother you.The four-wheel dependent suspension feels typically like what you get in higher priced German sedans. The GLI also get some cosmetically distinguishing features. The 18-inch polished wheel get red coloring where the edge meets the tires. Inside, the black cloth seats get red stitching, 35th anniversary tags, scuff plates, floor mats and red and black touches on the dash.

All of these features are heaped upon the recently revised Jetta, which is a good thing in itself. The body is no longer frumpy or staid. It’s sleek and fashionable. The interior has upscale touches like selectable ambient LED lighting, stainless steel pedals, touch screen, dual auto climate control, leather wrapped three-spoke steering wheel with tilt and telescoping feature.

The GLI also comes with cruise control, blind-spot detection, electric parking brake, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

In this age of crossovers and SUVs (and Volkswagen makes plenty of both) it’s good to see a company still providing quality compact sedans that offer a satisfying driving experience. The regular Jetta is good, but the GLI brings the car’s chassis to life. It’s not a sports sedan per se, but it is a sporty alternative to the mundane.

My Jetta GLI didn’t have any options so the as-tested price was $27,890, which included $895 for destination. Volkswagen gives you a lot for that price. With an overall mileage rating of 28 miles per gallon, the car is powerful as well as fuel-efficient. You can step up to the Autobahn version and still be under $30,000. That gives you a sunroof and leather seats but takes away the adjustable suspension and a few anniversary features. The S version is an entry-level version that starts a little over $25,000. It should be released later this summer.


• Great engine

• Better handling

• Lots more torque

• Priced reasonably


• All Jettas need this engine

Email Winfred Cross at cross@alldaytech.com.


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