2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Review

Jetta GLI

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2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Overview

The Volkswagen Jetta GLI is a compact sport sedan, in the same arena as the celebrated Honda Civic Si and Subaru WRX. It also runs in the same circles as several sporty compact hatchbacks, including the Hyundai Elantra GT N Line, MINI Cooper S, and Volkswagen’s own Golf GTI. For 2020, it gets light updates, including a new generation of the Car-Net telematics system.

Versus the regular Jetta, the Jetta GLI has a unique front fascia, body kit, rear diffuser, and special alloy wheels. Inside, you’ll find GLI-specific sport seats, a GLI instrument cluster, and a performance GLI steering wheel. The new version of Car-Net includes an updated mobile app, a number of free services for 5 years, and new subscription options.

The Jetta GLI has a much more potent engine than that of the standard Jetta. It’s a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder unit good for 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. That bolts to either a standard 6-speed manual transmission or optional 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT). All Jetta GLIs have front-wheel drive (FWD). An electronic limited-slip differential is standard, while an adaptive damping system is optional. Even with all that power, the Jetta GLI still manages 25 mpg city, 32 highway, and 28 combined with the automatic transmission and 1 mpg better on the highway with the manual.

Last year’s 35th Anniversary Edition trim goes away, leaving just the S and Autobahn grades for 2020. The S includes LED headlights, LED taillights, 18-inch alloy wheels, cloth upholstery, keyless access and start, dual-zone automatic climate control, 10-color ambient lighting, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, and a 6.5-inch touchscreen audio system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The Autobahn adds the adaptive damping system, a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, remote start, an 8-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a performance monitor, BeatsAudio, an LCD instrument panel, and wireless charging.

On the safety front, a reversing camera, forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and blind-spot monitoring come standard. Unfortunately, options like adaptive cruise control and parking sensors aren’t offered. While the Jetta GLI has not specifically been crash-tested, the regular Jetta has. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave it top marks for crash safety and crash prevention.


Kyree has always been fascinated with the automotive world, especially when it comes to premium European cars. But regardless of the vehicle—whether it's an efficient hybrid or the latest luxury sled—he's always ready to dispense information and advice. These days, he enjoys doing that here at CarGurus.

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