2018 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

The 2018 Jetta GLI is the enthusiast’s compact car from Volkswagen.

Great European styling with sport acceleration, braking, and handling plus fuel efficiency on top of it all.

While the all-new 2019 Jetta’s get ready to make their debut, if you’re looking for the sport version, this very well may be the car for you.

iDriveSoCal’s Professor, Clinton Quan, picked one up from our friends at Ontario Volkswagen for a complete analysis – hear it all in this iDSC Podcast.

 

***Transcript***

Recorded in Los Angeles, CA

2018 Volkswagen Jetta GLI – Compact Sports Sedan

Clinton: This car is for someone who wants a compact car but wants something that’s sportier, more fun to drive than your typical compact car.

So if you’re looking for something that’s also fuel-efficient but that’s fun to drive on the highway and on mountain roads, and you like going on scenic drives, this is the car for you.

“This car is for someone who wants a compact car but wants something that’s sportier, more fun to drive than your typical compact car.”

I think the three-spoke steering wheel is my favorite feature of the car. Love the large, sporty gauges. It handles really well. And the power, 210 horsepower 207 pound-feet of torque.

Tom: Welcome to iDriveSoCal, the podcast all about mobility from the automotive capital of the United States–Southern California.

I’m Tom Smith. And joining me for another vehicle review is our good friend “the Professor” Clinton Quan. Say hello, Clinton.

Clinton: Hi, Tom; it’s great to be back for another automotive review.

 

2018 Volkswagen Jetta GLI driver profile

2018 VW Jetta Courtesy of Ontario VW

Tom: Always happy to have you, my friend. Today we are reviewing our first Volkswagen from our newest dealer partner, our good friends out at Ontario Volkswagen.

And, Clinton is going to review the 2018 Volkswagen Jetta but the sporty version, which is the GLI.

Before I throw it over to you, Clinton, I want to give a shout out to Earl Reed, who is the general manager out at Ontario Volkswagen. Thank you for coming on board.

And Randy Halcomb, who is marketing guru, thank you for coming on board.

Clinton, tell us about the 2018 VW Jetta GLI!

2018 Volkswagen Jetta Trim Levels & Prices

Clinton: I test drove the 2018 Volkswagen Jetta GLI. The Jetta is Volkswagen’s compact sedan.

The GLI is the sport version of the Jetta. And there are six trims in the Jetta family and three engines.

“…features a 2.0-liter engine turbocharge inline 4 and that produces 210 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque.  That starts at about $30,000.”

The base Jetta is the S which starts at about $19,000. Then you have the Wolfsburg edition at about $20,000, the SE at $21,000.  And, all three of those trims feature a 1.4-liter inline 4-cylinder turbocharged engine producing 150 horsepower, 184 pound-feet of torque.

Then you move up to the SE Sport which is about $23,000 dollars, and then the SEL which starts at about $26,000. Those two trims feature a 1.8-liter inline 4 turbocharged engine producing 170 horsepower. It’s also rated at 184 pound-feet of torque.

And then you move up to the top of the line trim which is the Jetta GLI, the one I drove, and that features a 2.0-liter engine turbocharge inline 4 and that produces 210 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque.  That starts at about $30,000.

6th & 7th Generation VW Jetta – aka Mk6 & Mk7

Tom: Another outstanding feat of granular recollection of detail. Folks, Clinton and I are just sitting here talking. I, of course, have my pen in hand, notepad in front of me.

Clinton is just going off the top of his head with these details of the vehicles, so that’s why we call him “the Professor.”

Thank you much for all those details, as always. You drove the GLI, the sporty version.

“It’s got plenty of power, especially with that 270 pound-feet of torque and 210 horsepower.”

And to clarify, not long from now, 2019 is going to be coming out, the 2019 Jetta.

However, the 2018 Jetta GLI, the sport version, this one, the sporty version is going to stay for a little bit longer, whereas some of those other trim levels are going to be replaced soon.

But, these are little separate issues within the Jetta family.

Clinton: Yes. So I’m pretty sure they’ll have a GLI trim. But it hasn’t been announced yet, so it’ll probably come the following year in 2019 as a 2020 model.

Check out our review of Volkswagen’s 7th Generation, aka Mark 7, 2019 Jetta GLI.

Tom: Got it. Okay. So let’s talk about the drive. Where’d you go?

Driving Volkswagen’s 2018 Jetta GLI

Clinton: I drove out to Idyllwild. So it was a really nice drive up to the mountain community of Idyllwild.

Tom: Nice.

“it was a great drive up in the mountains, really got to test the vehicle in terms of acceleration, braking, and handling. And this is a really fun car to drive.”

Clinton: Yeah, it was a great drive up in the mountains, really got to test the vehicle in terms of acceleration, braking, and handling.

And this is a really fun car to drive. It’s got plenty of power, especially with that 270 pound-feet of torque and 210 horsepower.

Tom: Okay. So you drove everything, highways, byways, right?

Clinton: Yes. Yeah, it has a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.

“It looks great, I think, from every angle whether it’s the front, the rear, the side, three-quarter front, three-quarter rear. Overall length about 182 inches in length. So that’s a little bit larger than some of the other compact sedans.”

Tom: Paddle shifters, your favorite, right?

Clinton: Yes. Yes. It’s the only transmission.

Tom Smith: Okay, cool. So let’s talk a little bit about the styling, the outside. Take us around the car.

2018 VW Jetta Exterior Styling

Clinton Quan: Well, I think this is one of the most attractive compact sedans on the market. It’s got really, really clean lines. It’s very well-proportioned.

It looks great, I think, from every angle whether it’s the front, the rear, the side, three-quarter front, three-quarter rear. Overall length about 182 inches in length. So that’s a little bit larger than some of the other compact sedans.

“…with the Jetta GLI, you get the red/black combination trim. It also has that nice red stitching on the leather steering wheel, red stitching on the seats.”

There’s really a good amount of space on the inside as well in terms of the interior design.

That’s one of the things I like most about this car. It’s got the three-spoke on a flat-bottom steering wheel with the paddle shifters.

Plus, the large, circular gauges, tachometer, speedometer.

It actually reminds me of the Audi TT I used to have.

Tom: Well, it’s in that family, right?

Clinton: Volkswagen, Audi.

Tom: That’s obvious, but not obvious for everybody, so yeah. The Volkswagen, Audi is siblings, right?

Clinton: Yes. So with the Jetta GLI, you get the red/black combination trim. It also has that nice red stitching on the leather steering wheel, red stitching on the seats.

Inside The 2018 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

Tom: And I love the red accents; those are always very clean, very sharp looking.

Clinton: Yeah. It also has nice 18-inch alloy wheels. It looks really nice on this car.

Tom: And how is the inside designed for you from a creature comfort and…?

“…it’s got about 94 cubic feet of space in terms of interior cargo space, so, yeah, two adults in the front, two adults in the back.”

Clinton: Oh, it’s very comfortable for a compact car. It’s got plenty of space, I think, great ergonomics. Most of the buttons, controls they’re all right within your fingertips. It’s very, very well laid out.

2018 VW Jetta GLI driver front

GLI Mk6 – The Enthusiasts Jetta

Tom: Okay. Space-wise what kind of capacity are we talking about for adults, comfortably?

Clinton: Oh, it’s very comfortable for four adults.

Yeah, it’s got about 94 cubic feet of space in terms of interior cargo space, so, yeah, two adults in the front, two adults in the back.

There’s a really good amount of trunk space for this car, especially being a compact vehicle.

Tom: Okay, perfect. So four adults comfortably, plenty of trunk space.

Clinton: Yeah, good amount of legroom in the back, too, yeah, for a compact car.

Tom: And so who’s this car for who? Who’s ideally is its intended target demo?

Jetta GLI Fuel Economy

Clinton: Well, this car is for someone who wants a compact car but wants something sportier, more fun to drive than your typical compact car.

So if you’re looking for something that’s also fuel-efficient but that’s fun to drive on the highway and on mountain roads, and you like going on scenic drives, this is the car for you.

“…it still gets about 27 miles to the gallon combined. So it’s only one mile per gallon less combined than the SEL and the SE Sport…”

And speaking of fuel efficiency, it still gets about 27 miles to the gallon combined.

So it’s only one mile per gallon less combined than the SEL and the SE Sport, which gets about 28 miles per gallon with the 1.8-liter engine.

Tom: Okay, so 27 combined. Do we have different driving modes, the eco sport…?

Clinton: Sport and that’s it.

Tom: Boom, that’s it?

Clinton: Yeah, drive and sport. Think of it as the enthusiast version of the Jetta.

Typical Jetta GLI Driver

Tom: Enthusiast, right. The enthusiast version is perfect. So then who this car might be for, we’re talking. Junior exec, exec.

Clinton: I would say probably someone in their 20s maybe early, mid-30s.

Tom: Likes a sporty drive.

Clinton: Yeah.

Tom: Likes some fuel economy, whipping in and out of L.A. traffic, whipping in and out of Southern California highways and whatnot.

Clinton: Yes.

Tom: Very good. So are we ready for the top three?

Clinton: Yes. We’re ready for the top three.

Tom: Top three, hit ’em.

2018 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Top-3

Clinton: The top three I would definitely say the interior design. I really liked the sporty three-spoke steering wheel. I think the three-spoke steering wheel is my favorite feature of the car. Love the large, sporty gauges.

Tom: What’s the movie? “You had me at hello.” Because, honestly, folks, Clinton if it has paddle shifters and a three-spoke steering wheel that’s flat on the bottom, Clinton’s like, “Aaah.”

Clinton: Volkswagen does a really good job with the design of their three-spoke steering wheel.

Tom: Okay. So back to top three, sorry to chop you off there.

Clinton: Yeah. The interior, as we mentioned. The drive, it’s a really fun car to drive. I think it handles really well. And the power, 210 horsepower 207 pound-feet of torque.

Tom: Nice. So do you have 0 to 60 on the top of your head and quarter-mile, or anything like that, or 0 to 100?

Clinton: No, I didn’t…

Tom: And you didn’t time it yourself?

Clinton: I didn’t do a 0 to 60 test or a quarter-mile test.

2018 Volkswagen Jetta GLI driver front

Perfect Scenic Mountain Cruiser

Tom: All right. Anything else to add about the 2018 Volkswagen Jetta GLI from our good friends over at Ontario Volkswagen?

Clinton: Well, I would just say that this is the last year of this generation.

So if this is something that you…if you want a compact car and something that’s sporty and fun to drive, now is a great time to get one.

Ontario Volkswagen

Tom: Now’s the time to pull the trigger.

Clinton: Now’s the time to pull the trigger, absolutely.

Tom: And the place to pull the trigger is at Ontario Volkswagen, which is in Ontario California just off of the 15, ontariovolkswagen.com, ontariovw.com.

Another shout out to Earl Reed and Randy Halcomb of Ontario Volkswagen, very excited to have you guys on board and working with us.

And that brings us to the end of another fantastic vehicle review from “the Professor”, Clinton Quan. For iDriveSoCal, I’m Tom Smith. Thanks for listening.