The long-anticipated 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI has officially made it to dealers like our partner in the Los Angeles suburb of Ontario, CA – Ontario Volkswagen.

The GLI is the enthusiasts, sporty model, of the Jetta.  Volkswagen updated its standard line of Jetta’s in the previous year.  So, with these 2019 models, Volkswagen marks the 7th generation of GLIs and Jettas.  And actually, in VW-lingo that’s ‘Mark 7 or Mk7.’

2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Top-3
1. Exterior Styling.
2. The Drive.
3. Warranty.

My friends at Ontario VW gave me a Jetta GLI for a day recently.  Here’s my complete report after running around Southern California’s Inland Empire and getting a feel for the all-new 2019 VW Jetta GLI!

2019 VW Jetta GLI 35 driver profile banner

May 7, 2019

Volkswagen Jetta GLI 

The Volkswagen Jetta GLI has historically been compared to its VW hatchback (hot hatch in VW-lingo) sibling the Golf GTI.  Why?  Well, they’re both Volkswagens and both the sporty/enthusiasts trims of their respective models.  Personally, I like both for different reasons.  I’ll contrast the two vehicles, only once, in a moment.

Gray 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI driver front

2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 35th Anniversary Edition driver front

With the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI being in its 7th generation that equates to 35-years here in the United States.  And those 35-years are honored in one of the trim options for the 2019 VW Jetta GLI.  And, it just so happens that, my test-driver was a 35th Anniversary Edition GLI.

VW’s Jetta GLI & Golf GTI

So here’s the cool comparison I’m going to give the 2019 VW Jetta GLI 35th Anniversary Edition and the 2019 Golf GTI Rabbit Edition.  Volkswagen’s stylish, yet in-the-know and subtle seat tags.

2019 VW Jetta GLI 35th Anniversary seat tag

’19 VW Jetta GLI 35th Anniversary seat tag

 

Okay, one other comparison, with the GTI and the GLI both being the sporty trims, is the very cool red line across the grills of both vehicles.  It’s in all sorts of pics.  BTW, wondering what GTI and GLI stand for?

2019 VW Jetta GLI badging close up

2019 VW Jetta GLI badge

Those are acronyms for Grand Touring Injection and Grand Luxury Injection.

2019 VW Golf GTI badging

2019 VW Golf GTI badge

So to put the comparisons of the Jetta GLI and the Golf GTI to rest, at least for this post, the Golf is going to be sportier and a hatchback.  Whereas the Jetta GLI is a sedan and slightly less aggressive.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Trim Options

The ’19 VW Jetta GLI is offered in three different trims.

2019 VW Jetta GLI Trims & MSRPs:

As always, don’t worry about the MSRP – manufacturer’s suggested retail price – for two reasons.  First, you need to get your ’19 VW Jetta GLI equipped to your specifications.  And more importantly, go see my friends at Ontario Volkswagen.  Beyond putting you in the car you want and at the best price, they’re not going to play any of the old school (or new school!) games.

Gray 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 35 front

2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 35th Anniversary front

The guys and gals at Ontario Volkswagen are my friends and I’m happy to personally introduce you.  Just email me tom [at] idrivesocal [dot] com.

’19 VW Jetta GLI Powertrain & MPG

Volkswagen’s 2019 Jetta GLI comes with the same engine across all three trims.  That’s a 2-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that puts out 228-horsepower with 258 lb-ft of torque.

Gray 2019 VW Jetta GLI 35 passenger profile

2019 VW Jetta GLI 35 passenger profile

The ’19 Jetta GLI comes standard with a 6-speed manual transmission.  And I love driving manual on open roads and low-traffic conditions.  Of course, here in Southern California, we’re hardpressed to find either of those settings.  So the optional 7-speed automatic transmission is probably the way to go.

Gray 2019 VW Jetta GLI 35 Ontario VW plate

2019 VW Jetta GLI 35 Ontario VW plate

My test driver hand the automatic transmission option and it’s Tiptronic shifting offered the fun and control of manual while delivering the convenience of automatic.  What’s even better are the paddle shifters.  Even in normal drive mode, I spun the tires with the paddles.  In sport mode, you can easily smoke the rubber.

Gray 2019 VW Jetta GLI 35 driver rear

2019 VW Jetta GLI 35th Anniversary driver rear

And with the 2019 VW Jetta GLI still being a Volkswagen, great fuel economy comes standard.   All the trims and engines are rated the same at 25-miles-per-gallon in the city and 32-miles-per-gallon on the highway.

My Test Driver – The 2019 VW Jetta GLI 35th Anniversary Edition

Like usual, the Ontario Volkswagen team set me up in a gorgeous, well-equipped test driver.  The 35th Anniversary Edition is super-eye-catching, especially in the Pure Gray color they gave me.

But really, you can’t go wrong with any of the colors, (red, white, black, gray, & silver) VW offers for the ’19 Jetta GLI.  All of them look fantastic with the red highlighted GLI badging.

Gray 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 35 exterior badge

2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 35 exterior badge

Another nod to the 35th Anniversary Edition, in addition to the seat tags mentioned above, is the exterior badging on both sides of the Jetta GLI.

Close-up 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 35 wheel

2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 35 5-spoke wheel

And the 18″ 5-spoke gray painted wheels, on the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 35th Anniversary Edition, with red accents, looked great especially with the red brake calipers visible.

Driving the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

Driving the enthusiasts’ version of the 2019 Jetta was a blast.  Exactly as, I’m sure, Volkswagen intended.  The GLI is quick.  From a dead stop, you can really feel the torque.  And that goes the same for when you’re on the highway and want to pass someone.  In both cases, it also sounds great when doing so!  Even more so in the Sport mode when the GLI gets a little ‘throaty.’

Gray 2019 VW Jetta GLI 35 passenger front

2019 VW Jetta GLI 35th Anniversary Edition passenger front

My test driver, the 35th Anniversary Edition, also had Volkswagen’s Dynamic Chasis Control (DCC) giving it a very sure-footed and stable feel when handling at any speed.

Gray 2019 VW Jetta GLI 35 driver profile

2019 VW Jetta GLI 35 driver profile

So, between the power and enhanced ability to handle it the ’19 VW Jett GLI delivers a whole lot of fun starting at under $30k.  And again, that’s just MSRP, go see my friends at Ontario VW for the best deal you’ll find.

’19 VW Jetta GLI Exterior

The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI is distinctive and sharp in its styling.  LED headlines and daytime running lights lend further accent to the great design lines and the red GLI accent line that screams performance.

Gray 2019 VW Jetta GLI 35 front close up

2019 VW Jetta GLI 35th Anniversary front close up

Black painted side mirrors and a thin rear spoiler are nice additional touches.  Chrome exhaust tips and LED taillights give the Jetta GLI a look that’s every bit equal to its performance.

Gray 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 35 passenger rear

2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 35 passenger rear

And the 2019 VW Jetta GLI is a little more than half-an-inch lower than the regular Jetta.  And the 5-spoke rims with red accents and brake calipers are worth restating here – very sporty yet stylish.

Inside the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

Moving inside the 7th generation VW Jetta GLI you have a handsome cockpit and dash with an awesome flat-bottom steering wheel.

Interior 2019 VW Jetta GLI 35th Anniversary rear to front dash

2019 VW Jetta GLI 35th Anniversary rear to front dash

The 35th Anniversary Edition comes with cloth interior and heated front seats.  If you step up to the Autobahn you get leather and both heated and ventilated front seats – a favorite feature of Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s. :0)

Close-up 2019 VW Jetta GLI stainless steel pedals

2019 VW Jetta GLI stainless steel pedals

The 35th Anniversary did have the stainless steel pedal covers – which adds another great looking dimension to the inside.

'19 VW Jetta GLI 35 backseat child safety seat latches

’19 VW Jetta GLI 35 backseat child safety seat latches

And I have to point out the awesome accessibility of the child safety seat latches in the backseat.  This is another favorite feature of mine that VW brings to its vehicles.

'19 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 35 backseat

’19 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 35 backseat

There’s plenty of human-space throughout the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI – just like the regular Jetta.  And while there’s ample trunk cargo-space as well VW engineering takes the Jetta’s versatility to the next level.

'19 VW Jetta GLI 35 trunk

’19 VW Jetta GLI 35 trunk

The trunk turns into a huge cavern by dropping the backseats.

'19 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 35 trunk w. both backseats down

’19 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 35 trunk w. both backseats down

By allowing both backseats to fold way-down there’s a huge access-point between the trunk and the interior of the vehicle’s backseat area.

’19 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Technology

The 35th Anniversary Edition I test drove didn’t have Volkswagen’s new digital cockpit.  But that is an available option that I’d probably add on to my purchase.  It goes nicely with the 10-color interior accent lighting.  Since my test drive was during the day I didn’t get any pictures of that but it gives the Jetta GLI a very classy look in the evening.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 35 dashboard

2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 35th Anniversary Edition dashboard

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto play key roles to the technology stack in the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI.  And the touch-screen interface with dials brings all the tech to your fingertips in a very user-friendly and intuitive way.

2019 VW Jetta GLI 35 instrument cluster

2019 VW Jetta GLI 35 instrument cluster

And while Volkswagen adds the Fender brand name to its SUVs (Tiguan and Atlas), the ’19 VW Jetta GLI gets boosted in the audio department by the beats name brand!

2019 VW Jetta GLI Driver Assistance & Safety

The ’19 Jetta GLI delivers some of VW’s top driver assistance tech features to help keep you safe on the roads.

“The ’19 Jetta GLI delivers some of VW’s top driver assistance tech features to help keep you safe on the roads.”

Blind Spot Monitoring will alert you to vehicles you can’t see when changing lanes.  Front assist will audibly alert you of potential front-end collisions.  And Rear Traffic Alert keeps you in the know when backing up.  It can even brake for you to avoid accidents.

’19 Volkswagen Jetta GLI & The People First Warranty

VW describes it’s ‘The People First Warranty‘ as America’s Best Bumper-to-Bumper Limited Warranty and it’s rather tough to dispute.

“The People First Warranty… 6-Years/72,000-miles and the fact that it’s transferable too is impressive.” 

6-Years/72,000-miles and the fact that it’s transferable too is impressive.  That definitely delivers extra peace of mind – especially if you’re buying rather than leasing.

2019 VW Jetta GLI 35th Anniversary | Top-3

  1. Exterior Styling – All trims of the 2019 VW Jetta GLI look awesome.  I love the 35th Anniversary badging.  Gotta go with the 5-spoke painted wheels with red accents

  2. The Drive – ’19 Volkswagen Jetta GLI is a fun car to drive.  The turbocharged power, torque, and paddle shifters provide an exceptional performance package.

  3. Warranty – Of the many additional options to include in the ’19 Jetta GLI the People First Warranty just can’t be taken for granted.  It adds big value.

Ontario Volkswagen

If the 2019 VW Jetta GLI or any Volkswagen is of interest to you then you have to connect with my friends at Ontario Volkswagen.  They’re located just off I-15 at I-10 and at OntarioVW.com.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 35 rear

2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 35 rear

Earl Reed is the General Manager, Shant Bashian is his General Sales Manager, Randy Halcomb is the iDriveSoCal point-person at Ontario VW and they love hearing from iDriveSoCal readers/listeners/surfers.

You can connect with Randy via email RHalcomb [at] OntarioVW [dot] com.  Or call his cell 909-772-1728.