Sharing much of the same hardware as its Golf GTI platform-mate, the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI is a three-box alternative for those who want GTI practicality and performance but, for whatever reason, find hatchbacks less than desirable. If you were hoping for a similar alternative to the all-wheel-drive Golf R, however, it sounds like you'll be waiting a while.
Speaking to CarBuzz at the recent GLI press launch, VW marketing boss Serban Boldea said, "I don't think there would be enough of a market for it," in regards to an AWD Jetta R. Boldea explained that the Jetta is a more price-sensitive product than the Golf, which attracts customers from all kinds of tax brackets. "Golf R customers aren't typical Volkswagen customers," he told the publication. "The Golf R customer is much wealthier. They can buy an Audi but choose to drive a Golf R."
The top trim 2019 Jetta GLI currently goes for a fiver under $30,000 while the Golf R starts at over $40,000.
As it stands, the Subaru Impreza and Mazda3 are the only two cars in the segment to offer AWD. When we drove the Mazda last month, it proved to be a winner on both dry and frigid surfaces. Boldea reportedly expressed doubt that those two vehicles would account for a big enough market to be worth competing in with the Jetta.
The front-wheel-drive 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI shares the same 2.0-liter engine, limited-slip differential, and MQB platform as the GTI. It also inherits brakes from the Golf R and starts at $25,995.