2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Starts At $26,890 – $1,600 Less Than A GTI Hot Hatch

Which would you have - hot sedan or hot hatch?

2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

The new Jetta is available in two trim levels, plus a special edition.

The Volkswagen Jetta has always served as the jelly to the Golf hatchback’s peanut butter, but the new model has been missing a hot GLI version. Until now, that is, as Volkswagen brought out the new Jetta GLI at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show. We know the technical details, but Volkswagen was mum on pricing. The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI starts at $26,890 (including ($895 destination) according to the company’s recent announcement — undercutting the Golf GTI by $1,600.

2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI
The Jetta GLI comes in $1,600 less than the equivalent GTI hatchback. [Photo: Volkswagen]

That’s good news for those who want GTI-like performance for a bit less investment. The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI is a GTI underneath, packing the same 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and transmission options. For that price, you get 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, as well as a standard six-speed manual transmission. Upgrading to a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox will set you back $800. Unlike the normal Jetta, the GLI also sports a multi-link rear suspension setup and a 0.6-inch drop thanks to its sports suspension.

The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI is rated at 25 City / 32 Highway / 28 Combined mpg, regardless of which transmission you choose.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

Trim levels and options

Volkswagen equipped the new Jetta GLI fairly well from the outset, but you do have a choice of trim levels. The base 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI S comes with all-LED headlights, heated front seats, 10-color customizable ambient lighting, a 6.5-inch infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and 18-inch wheels. Other comfort features include dual-zone automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers and keyless entry with push-button start.

Standard safety features include Forward Collision Warning, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Monitoring, and Rear Traffic Alert.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

Starting at $27,890, the GLI 35th Anniversary Edition is a special trim which builds off the standard S model. In addition to all those features, you get some unique touches like bespoke 18-inch dark grey alloy wheels. You also get a black roof, mirror caps and spoiler, as well as Volkswagen’s DCC adaptive damping system. 35th Anniversary badging on the fenders, scuff plates, seat tags and floor mats rounds out the trim.

At the top end, there’s the $30,190 Jetta GLI Autobahn. The Autobahn trim ups the infotainment system to an 8.0-inch system, for a start. On top of that, you also get a 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit display, as well as a 400-watt, eight-speaker BeatsAudio system. The Autobahn also features a power adjustable leather driver’s seat, remote start and an alarm system.