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2023 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Review: A Perfect Sedan For Family

Image Source: betto rodrigues / Shutterstock

The Volkswagen Golf GTI has been a beloved car for years, but for those who prefer a sedan over a hatchback, Volkswagen offers the Jetta GLI. The 2023 Jetta GLI is essentially a sedan version of the GTI and competes with the Honda Civic Si and the Hyundai Elantra N to some extent.

Although the Jetta GLI is closely related to the GTI, there is one distinction. The Jetta GLI is based on the previous version of the MQB platform, while the GTI now uses an updated version of the same platform. Despite its older roots, the Jetta GLI still holds its own.

The Jetta GLI is equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This is a significant improvement over the regular Jetta’s 158-horsepower 1.5-liter turbo engine. It’s important to note that the GTI has a modified version of the same engine, generating 241 horsepower. The four-cylinder engine can be paired with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Compared to its main competitor, the Honda Civic Si, the Jetta GLI’s extra power is noticeable. The Civic Si only has 200 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque. The Hyundai Elantra N is also a compact sedan, but its 276 horsepower sets it apart from both the Jetta GLI and Civic Si.

The Jetta GLI shares some components with the seventh-generation GTI, including its front brakes. It also features a limited-slip differential, adaptive suspension, and a unique steering system to enhance its driving experience. The addition of summer tires, like the GTI, could provide better grip.

The power from the Jetta GLI is sent to the front wheels, and it offers plenty of power for an enjoyable city commute. Unlike the Civic Si, the Jetta GLI is available with an automatic transmission, making it more appealing to a wider audience. The automatic transmission shifts quickly and smoothly as the speed increases, although downshifting can be a bit slow. The variable ratio electric power steering system offers sufficient assistance in city driving, but it lacks feedback on twisty roads.

Despite the increased power, the Jetta GLI doesn’t compromise much on fuel efficiency. It has a fuel economy rating of 26 mpg in the city, 37 mpg on the highway, and 30 mpg combined with the six-speed manual transmission. The automatic version is almost as efficient with a rating of 26/36/30 mpg.

The Jetta GLI’s cabin receives some upgrades compared to the standard Jetta, including sportier leather seats, a 10.3-inch digital gauge cluster, ambient lighting, and a large sunroof. However, the interior could benefit from higher quality materials as there is too much hard plastic covering it. On the tech side, it offers an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, wireless charging, and a Beats audio system.

The 2023 Jetta GLI is only available in one trim, Autobahn, with a starting price of $32,680, including destination fees. The automatic version is priced at $33,480.

All in all, the 2023 Volkswagen Jetta GLI is a nearly perfect compact sports sedan for those who want to add some fun to their daily commute.

Image Source: betto rodrigues / Shutterstock

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