2022 Volkswagen Jetta GLI
Two years ago, we reviewed the current generation of the “Golf GTI with a trunk.” We liked it so much, we wanted another turn with it.
Volkswagen was kind enough to send us the revised version of the seventh generation Jetta in the GLI form. We could not think of a way to familiarize ourselves with the changes they made to what could be their only sedan they will sell in this country.
Basically, the Jetta GLI offers a few distinctions from other Jetta trim levels. Between regular Jetta models and the GLI, the new Volkswagen logo appears up front, on the trunk, and on the wheel caps. The grille texture have changed as well, adding a lower horizontal “line” across it. We found new red trim in the ducts inside the lower fascia, new projector LED headlamp clusters, and taillight units. The rest of the Jetta remains as a handsome, well creased sedan with sporting credentials.
There is only one GLI for 2022: The Autobahn model. Our tester added the Black Package, including a set of 18-inch gloss black-finished alloy wheels to finish the Jetta GLI’s overall look.
The same theme continues inside of the Jetta GLI. The 2022 revisions also include the new Volkswagen logo on the steering wheel and infotainment screen, a new steering wheel with capacitive touch controls, and a new shifter for the DSG transmission. However, the dashboard layout is the same from the previous couple of model years, including the eight-inch infotainment screen and the Digital Cockpit instrument binnacle. There are still some added enhancements that distinguish it from other Jetta models, such as GLI badging and added red accents from the steering stitching to the certain trim elements.
Perhaps the best enhancement added to the Jetta GLI are the sports seats. The bolstering is deep, and the quality of the Autobahn’s leather upholstery is quite good. Rear seat room is the same as on normal Jetta models with plenty of leg room, but some headroom for six-footers. Trunk space remains at a generous 14.1 cubic feet.
What has not changed is the power that lies underneath the Jetta GLI’s hood. The 228-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine also offers 258 pound-feet of torque. Our tester has this engine connected to the seven-speed DSG dual clutch gearbox. The result is smooth shifts in Normal and Comfort model, while it will rev up accordingly in Sport mode.
The mention of driving modes is because our Autobahn tester has the DCC active chassis control system. A button on the console opens up a screen on the infotainment system letting you select from five modes, including Eco. For the suspension, there are actually three modes of adjustment to choose from.
In terms of fuel economy, we observed an average of 30.1 MPG.
It is worth noting that other Jetta models get a new 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, now sporting 158 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission is available on some Jetta models and on the GLI.
Driving dynamics have been the hallmark of the performance models from Volkswagen. We noticed a firmer ride than regular Jetta models, but it felt more solid than harsh. In turn, we experienced very good cornering and quick response to evasive maneuvers. In Sport mode, these settings get some sharpening up where corners seem to get carved.
As for the brakes, stopping power is actually pretty good with great pedal feel and solid response to the wheels. The steering system is also very good giving us solid turns and a quick response. Putting the DCC into Sport does weigh down the steering wheel slightly for better control.
The 2022 Volkswagen Jetta GLI only comes in the Autobahn trim, starting at $31,295. Our tester with the DSG transmission came with a sticker price of $33,980.
The Jetta GLI is a unique proposition as a performance-oriented compact sedan. Customers usually just buy a Jetta GLI without shopping for anything else. However, it has a bit of competition from the likes of the Honda Civic Si, Toyota Corolla XSE, Mazda3, Subaru WRX, Hyundai Elantra N-Line, and Kia Forte GT.
In all, there is more to the 2022 Volkswagen Jetta GLI than being a “Golf GTI with a trunk.” It stands on its own as a desirable enthusiast’s sedan that delivers the fun even if it has an all-business approach to driving.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors