2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI / Jetta GLI: Car and Driver's 10Best

Mike Sutton
Photo credit: Marc Urbano - Car and Driver
Photo credit: Marc Urbano - Car and Driver

From Car and Driver

An emerging body of research suggests that social media is driving people to have an unhealthy obsession with attaining perfection. Call it “compare and despair” for short. It’s based on the sneaking suspicion that we never have it quite as good as someone else, especially as good as that one friend on Instagram who always seems to have the time and money for something better.

But an undeniable perfection has been available for some time and for a surprisingly low sum through your local Volkswagen dealer. Spend as much as you want—or can be talked into. Either way, it has been nearly impossible to beat the all-around brilliance of the VW Golf GTI. Except now by its sibling, the Jetta GLI.

These Vee-Dubs check every box and do everything well. They are affordable; they are efficient; they are spacious, fast, and fun. And they look great with the evening sun shining through your blond locks as you load in your perfectly sleepy toddlers after a family picnic in the paddock. Which is to say, they are social-media co-stars in the making.

Photo credit: Marc Urbano - Car and Driver
Photo credit: Marc Urbano - Car and Driver

It hasn’t always been this way. Well, the GLI hasn’t. It has juked in and out of the GTI’s wake, a MiG trying to maintain missile lock on Maverick. It has shared the GTI’s engine and then not. It has shared its interior and then not. For 2019, it is back, and the three-box largely mimics the hatch, with an independent rear suspension and the same 228-hp turbocharged inline-four and electronically controlled limited-slip differential. Shame about the GLI’s interior, though; it lacks the design and material quality of the GTI’s. But the L measures up on the 10Best scale because it starts $2350 below the T.

It’s their unflinching sense of fun that makes these two so easy to love. They bring the same verve to a crosstown jaunt as they do to barreling into the braking zone, throwing a perfect heel and toe to one of the world’s great manual transmissions as you rotate toward the apex and get back on the gas and on to the next corner. And with a roomy back seat and either the capacious hold of the hatchback GTI or the cavernous trunk of the GLI, there’s room to take the rest of your now perfect life wherever you go.

Back to 10Best

You Might Also Like