2023 CarBuzz Awards Finalists: Affordable Fun

The Jetta GLI received a major facelift for the 2022 model year, but our first drive was a touch too late for it to be considered for last year’s awards. This year, however, it makes a strong case for itself, especially with a new, more affordable 40th Anniversary Edition introduced for the 2024 model year at an MSRP of just over $28k.

The ‘GTI with a trunk,’ as it’s known to some, is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder generating 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Sent to the front wheels via either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch, the GLI is an absolute riot to hustle down a twisting road, and its VAQ limited-slip differential with XDS diff lock makes it handle sharper than ever before.

The MY22 update also endowed it with fresh technology in the form of MIB3 with an eight-inch touchscreen and a 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit. Thankfully, however, the Jetta GLI retains physical volume knobs, unlike its frustrating Golf sibling.

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