Volkswagen Jetta GLI

Editors' Review

The 2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI is what happens when a hot hatch grows up. This sporty sedan has all the trappings of its rowdy GTI sibling, packaged in a handsome, mature wrapper.

The GLI sets itself apart from the standard Jetta with larger air intakes, a low front spoiler and unique side skirts. The grille takes some styling cues from the GTI with its honeycomb pattern and classic red accent stripe. The GLI sits 0.6 inches lower to the ground than the standard Jetta and has a unique rear bumper and diffuser, as well as dual chrome exhaust tips. But even with these sporty touches, the GLI still slides under the radar.

The Jetta GLI is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 engine pushing out 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque -- the same powertrain you'll find in the GTI. The GLI comes with front-wheel drive, and while you can get a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, my tester has the six-speed manual. Score.

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The Good ~ Excellent handling ~ Powerful turbo engine ~ Handsome design, if a bit dull

The Bad ~ Numb steering ~ Bad infotainment tech on the base trim

The Bottom Line The 2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI is an affordable sport sedan for those seeking a spirited driver's car with mature styling.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 8
  • Features 6.5
  • Design 7
  • Media 7.5

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