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. And we took it for a test drive to bring you this in-depth 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Review.
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.’
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!
May 7, 2019
Volkswagen Jetta GLI Review
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.
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
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?
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 Review: Trim Options
The ’19 VW Jetta GLI is offered in three different trims.
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.
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 Review: 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.
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.
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.
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.
Review of 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.
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.
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.
2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI: Driving Review
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.’
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.
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 Review: 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.
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.
Reviewing the Interior of 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.
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)
The 35th Anniversary did have the stainless steel pedal covers – which adds another great looking dimension to the inside.
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.
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.
The trunk turns into a huge cavern by dropping the backseats.
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 Review: 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.
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 Review: 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.”
2019 VW Jetta GLI 35th Anniversary Review | Top-3
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
The Drive – ’19 Volkswagen Jetta GLI is a fun car to drive. The turbocharged power, torque, and paddle shifters provide an exceptional performance package.
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.
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.