021 VW JETTA GLI Keeps Its Performance Vibe Intact

by Tom Crosby



Two years ago, Volkswagen reworked its best-selling sedan, the VW Jetta. With, only minor changes since the 2021 version remains one of the best-priced, fun-to-drive, five-passenger sporty sedans. Now in its seventh year, the Jetta continues to embueuse the  catchy marketing phrase: Betta Getta Jetta.

We test-drove the 2021 GLI 2.0T Autobahn sedan, top trim above the GLI 2.0T S. The 228-horsepowered duo sit together above the lesser-priced five 147-horsepower 1.4 Jettas – S, R-Line, SE, SEL and SEL Premium.

Inside, leather seats are comfortable, the interior fit and finish is excellent and drivers use a 10.25-inch configurable digital instrument cluster that partners with an eight-inch touchscreen for infotainment options. The dashboard bans some functions while actively driving. Other safety features include voice activated climate control settings. Audio comes via Beats Audio’s eight-speaker sound system.

In addition, Bluetooth, Apple Car Play and Android Auto can be accessed via a smart-phone. Also, car owners can use VW’s Car-Net® that provides automatic crash notification, remote vehicle access, stolen vehicle location and geo-fencing for parents to set boundaries for teenage drivers.

Improved warranty coverage now includes two years or 20,000 miles complimentary maintenance. Visors extend and there is a compact spare tire.

At a Glance

LIKES: Looks, ride, cabin design, price, handling, peppy, tech features, warranty
DISLIKES:Navigation not included
BOTTOM LINE: Overall performance, price and resale value make it a top competitor

Fact File: 2021 VW JETTA GLI 2.0T AUTOBAHN

Base price w/destination fee
Curb weight
EPA Rating
$31,740 (as tested $32,035)
3,228 lbs.
105.6 inches
185.2 inches
70.8 inches
2.0 liter, inline 4-cylinder, turbo
228 hp at 5,000 rpm
258 lbs.-ft. at 1,700 rpm
6-speed manual shifter
24 mpg city /33 highway
13.2-gallon tank, premium
0-60 in 5.8 seconds


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Tom Crosby has written more than 1,000 automotive reviews and is a retired Vice President of Communications for AAA Carolinas. He has seen dramatic changes in the automotive industry over the past 25 years and ponders the advent of self-driving vehicles, electric-only vehicles, sophisticated in-car telematics, and the financial challenges facing automotive manufacturers in an increasingly congested worldwide market.

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