The Volkswagen Golf GTI, with its amiable blend of sportiness, practicality, and comfort, is an easy car to love. The GTI essentially jump-started the hot hatch segment back in 1975, but the squat profile could be a bit too ‘boy racer’ for some.
For those who want a little performance vigor in a more ‘grown up’ and secure package, there’s the Jetta GLI. The range-topping four-door debuted in 2011 as “the sedan equivalent of the Golf GTI,” bringing a peppy turbocharged engine and tuned suspension to what is otherwise a relatively humdrum family car.
The facelifted 2016 variant has just been unveiled by Volkswagen, and it features a few subtle upgrades over its predecessor. Starting with the exterior, the front bumper wears new foglights surrounded by distinct contrast lines, and the upper honeycomb grille has been tweaked as well. Out back, the rear bumper is nearly identical, but look closely and you’ll spot a new rear diffuser down below.
Inside, the Jetta boasts VW’s new ‘MIB 2’ infotainment system that includes USB plugs, the brand’s ‘Car-Net’ smartphone connectivity service, roadside assistance, and a touchscreen.
SE models will get a sunroof, six-way power driver seat, rearview camera, front and rear ‘Park Distance Control,’ and the automaker’s Fender audio suite. Upgrade to the SEL model and blind spot detection, navigation, and Bi-Xenon headlights come along for the ride. All models will equip as standard the manufacturer’s ‘Post-Collision Braking’ system, which automatically applies the brakes after an impact is registered to reduce kinetic energy.
Under the hood is the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder as the GTI that makes 210 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy isn’t expected to change from last year, so the ratings of 23 mpg city/33 mpg highway with the six-speed manual, and 24 mpg city/32 mpg highway with the automatic should stay the same.
Pricing for the 2016 Jetta GLI wasn’t specified in the automaker’s release, but the 2015 GLI SE is currently listed at $26,920. The equivalent Golf GTI, for reference, will set you back $24,785 in base trim.