Fahrvergnugen for the Family: The 2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Autobahn


2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Autobahn front 3/4 view

For 38 years now, there's been at least one constant:


The Volkswagen GTI is never a bad choice. VW's hot hatch always tips the scales on the fun per dollar equation. But for those of you whose lives are at a stage where a trunk and a slightly different image are required? Well, that's the Jetta GLI.

2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Autobahn

The Jetta is essentially a four-door Golf. And the GLI is the four-doors-and-a-trunk version of the GTI.

2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Autobahn hood up

2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Autobahn engine

The GLI's engine is the same 228 horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four that powers the GTI. You'll notice the difference, because non-GLI Jettas make 147 horsepower. The Jetta GLI is also one of the few vehicles you can still buy with a six-speed manual transmission and praise Wolfsburg, our tester had it. A standing start to 60 miles per hour takes just 5.8 seconds. And despite that kind of oomph, the EPA fuel economy estimate is 25 miles per gallon city/33 highway.


And not only is it speedy, the GLI handles like a GTI. If you love winding roads as much as I do, the Jetta GLI is your kind of sedan.

2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Autobahn trunk open

2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Autobahn trunk

2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI rear seat

2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Autobahn front seats

The 2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI comes in two trim levels---S, for $26,345 and Autobahn, which adds VW's Digital Cockpit, leather seating surfaces and DCC adaptive chassis control, for $30,745.

2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Autobahn instrument panel

2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Autobahn steering wheel and gauge cluster

2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Autobahn gauge cluster

2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Autobahn infotainment and HVAC

2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Autobahn manual shifter

Our tester had the extra-cost optional Black Package (which upgrades the wheels to 18-inch twin five-spoke dark gray alloys, adds black painted side mirror caps and a black rear spoiler) for $595 and that's it. With $995 destination charge, the as-tested price for the 2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Autobahn is $32,335.

2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Autobahn front view

2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Autobahn side view

2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Autobahn rear view

That is a bargain price for this level of speed, handling and overall German solidity. The 2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Autobahn is a GTI with a trunk---and that's a very good thing.


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