The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta is all-new this year with improvements inside and out. The Jetta lineup includes five trims powered by a modest 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. Those who want a bit more fun should look at the performance-focused Jetta GLI.
The GLI is different enough from the rest of the Jetta lineup that Volkswagen treats it like a different car. It comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque paired to a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic. Those are solid numbers for a compact sedan and they make the Jetta GLI a heck of a lot of fun.
It’s available in three trims starting with the base S at $25,995 equipped with standard features including a leather-wrapped shift knob and sport steering wheel, stainless pedal caps, 10-color ambient lighting, and heated front seats with cloth surfaces. There’s also a 6-speaker audio system with a 6.5-inch touchscreen and one USB port.
Safety features are standard across the lineup so you don’t have to get the top trim for the best safety. Every Jetta GLI includes forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitor with rear traffic alert, and automatic post-collision braking.
The 35th Anniversary Edition is priced form $26,995 with unique badging and black accents as well as an adaptive damping system and Comfort drive mode. This is in addition to the standard drive modes of Normal, Sport, Eco, and Custom.
At the top of the lineup is the Autobahn priced from $29,195 with a slew of additional features. It has a power panoramic tilt-and-slide sunroof, 18-inch dark grey aluminum alloy wheels with red stripe, 8-way power driver’s seat with lumbar and memory, leather seating surfaces, and an 8-speaker BeatsAudio system with 8.0-inch touchscreen.
Our test car was the base Jetta S with an automatic transmission, which is available for an additional $800 across the lineup. It’s a spirited drive that, while not sports-car peppy, is plenty of fun. It’s more hot hatchback than milquetoast sedan.
Inside it’s roomy and comfortable with supportive front seats that have mild bolstering so even larger frames won’t feel squished. There’s room for two adults in back and, yes, you can fit three comfortably. It’s surprisingly spacious for a compact sedan.
That space extends to the trunk where there’s 14.1 cubic feet for cargo. The rear seats make the space more versatile by split-folding 60/40 to accommodate longer items.
The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI has sporty styling backed up by a responsive engine with a comfortable and roomy interior. If you’re looking for the right balance between the fun of a hatchback and the practicality of a small sedan, the Jetta GLI delivers.