Sedans & Coupes

The 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Is a “Budget Audi A4,” According to Car and Driver

The 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI has been a surprise contender in the small sedan market. The vehicle has been well-received by drivers, auto reviewers, and award committees. The small Jetta GLI even secured a place for itself on the Car and Driver 10 Best Cars and Trucks of 2020 list. There are several reasons drivers have flocked to this seventh generation vehicle but the main reasons include a low purchase price, a surprisingly spacious interior, and outstanding fuel economy. While there’s no denying that the GLI appeals to the masses, many have wondered how it compares to the other cars in its class, including the Kia Forte and the Honda Civic.

What is the 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI?

These days, sedans aren’t just family cars. Today’s consumer wants a sedan that is affordable, fuel-efficient, large enough to accommodate passengers, and that looks good. Most of all, they want a sedan that performs beautifully. Contemporary drivers don’t want a sedan that’s fun to drive. They’re not interested in a sedan that accelerates slowly and takes corners like a badly balanced ocean freighter.

Volkswagen understood that and tried to make performance a priority when designing the 2020 Volkswagen GLI. The model represents the seventh generation of Jetta’s VW has produced. With a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, drivers enjoy 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque which makes this a powerful little car when it comes to city driving conditions.

Ciprian Florea reviewed the 2020 Volkswagen GLI for TopSpeed. They noted that appearance-wise, this is one of the sportiest looking Jetta models to hit the streets. They made special note of the vehicle’s redesigned front bumper, horizontal and vertical slats in the standard grille, and front bumper, all of which add a muscle car vibe to the sedan. The GLI’s enjoys an overall EPA-estimated 28 MPG. In the city, drivers can anticipate getting 24 miles for every gallon. On the open road, they’ll enjoy driving for about 35 miles per gallon.

How it compares to the competition

RELATED: 2020 Kia Forte vs. 2020 VW Jetta: Both Offer Features You’ll Love for Under $20,000

Joey Caparella of Car and Driver recently had a chance to drive and compare several different vehicles for Car and Driver. The comparison pits the 2020 VW Jetta GLI, the Kia Forte, and the Civic Si. He that found of the three, the 2020 Jetta GLI was his favorite vehicle.

While Caparella wasn’t enamored with the overall engine quality and the fact that the interior felt cheap, he felt that the way the GI handles made up for the deficiencies. He was also impressed by how roomy the back seat was, something that is always a surprise when it comes to 

Caparella didn’t find much fault with the Jetta GLI. One of the few complaints he did have was a little surprising. While most car reviewers wish vehicles were quieter, Caparella complained that he sometimes couldn’t hear the engine at all. He also noted that while GLI lacked some of the Civic’s lively steering but that the GLI provided a better overall driving experience. In his opinion, the vehicle would make a nice daily commuter.

Caparella thinks that the Jetta GLI isn’t as good as the Golf, but he does think it’s a good, budget-friendly Audi A4 substitute.

Should you consider a 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

Volkswagen has a reputation for standing behind the vehicles they make and the Jetta GLI isn’t an exception. Not only has the company attached a 4-year/50,000-mile warranty to the GLI, but they are also willing to pay for two years worth of maintenance work.  

While the vehicle was well received by professional car reviewers, it hasn’t fared well with consumers who provide Consumer Reports with information. Consumer Reports only gave the 2020 Jetta GLI an overall score of 57. The vehicle currently has a 78 out of 100 on the road test, a two out of five for predicted consumer satisfaction, and a three out of five for predicted reliability.