2020 Volkswagen Jetta vs 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Comparison Cerritos, CA

The Volkswagen Jetta has truly distinguished itself as a standout in the compact sedan segment. It's affordable, comfortable, safe, and just plain fun to drive! It's so popular that Volkswagen also offers a more performance-oriented version, the Jetta GLI. But performance isn't the only area where these two cars differ. On this page, we'll take a closer look at where the 2020 Jetta and the 2020 Jetta GLI differ, as well as some key similarities.

2020 Volkswagen Jetta vs 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Exterior

2020 VW Jetta vs 2020 VW Jetta GLI: Design

When it comes to design, the VW Jetta and the VW Jetta GLI are incredibly similar. They have identical exterior dimensions and the same body shape. However, the Jetta GLI does feature some design elements that make it stand out, including a black honeycomb grille and red accents. The Jetta GLI also offers some exterior design features that are available upgrades only on the regular Jetta, including LED headlights (the Jetta starts off with standard LED headlights), rain-sensing wipers, and heated side mirrors. However, the Volkswagen Jetta does offer available fog lights, which the Jetta GLI lacks.

On the inside, the story is much the same. These cars have identical interior dimensions, with roomy cabins to keep everyone comfortable. There are standard design features in the Jetta GLI that are available upgrades only in the Volkswagen Jetta. These include heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped sport steering wheel, and 10-color ambient lighting.

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2020 Volkswagen Jetta vs 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Interior

2020 VW Jetta vs 2020 VW Jetta GLI: Engines

Performance is where these cars differ the most. The 2020 Volkswagen Jetta is powered by a turbocharged I4 engine that generates 147 horsepower and a capable 184 pound-feet of torque. This engine delivers a surprisingly spirited drive, and it also makes the VW Jetta amazingly fuel efficient. It can get up to 40 miles per gallon! For those who want more power without totally sacrificing efficiency, the Volkswagen Jetta GLI is the perfect choice. Its more powerful turbocharged engine gets 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Combined with its light frame, this engine is remarkably powerful, yet the VW Jetta GLI can still get up to 33 miles per gallon!

2020 VW Jetta vs 2020 VW Jetta GLI: Performance

The engine isn't the only performance feature where the Jetta and the Jetta GLI differ. The Jetta GLI offers an available performance monitoring system that shows you information like boost pressure, engine power usage, and multi-directional G-forces; this is unavailable in the regular Jetta. While the Volkswagen Jetta has a capable torsion beam rear suspension, the Volkswagen Jetta GLI features an upgraded multilink rear suspension with coil springs and telescopic dampers. The 2020 Jetta GLI also includes a standard XDS cross-differential system, which is an available upgrade only in the Volkswagen Jetta. And, thanks to its high-performance design, the Volkswagen Jetta GLI has performance brakes that are larger than those of the Volkswagen Jetta. They also feature red calipers that nicely accent the red trim!

2020 Volkswagen Jetta vs 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Features

2020 VW Jetta vs 2020 VW Jetta GLI: Safety

Both the 2020 Volkswagen Jetta and the 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI are impressively safe, having earned a perfect five-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Nevertheless, there are still some differences. The Volkswagen Jetta GLI comes standard with Front Assist, which combines Forward Collision Warning with Autonomous Emergency Braking. A Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Traffic Alert are also standard on the Jetta GLI. All of these features are available upgrades only on the standard Volkswagen Jetta. However, the VW Jetta does have a few available features that are absent entirely in the Volkswagen Jetta GLI. Adaptive Cruise Control, a Lane Keeping System, and High Beam Control are all optional upgrades in the Jetta, but not the Jetta GLI.

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2020 VW Jetta vs 2020 VW Jetta GLI: Value

The 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI is notably more expensive than the 2020 Volkswagen Jetta, with a starting MSRP that's $7,350 greater. All but the top-of-the-line VW Jetta models are less expensive than the entry-level Jetta GLI. If you're after comfort and refinement mixed with stunning gas mileage, a higher VW Jetta trim level might be the best choice. But if you want power, the Volkswagen Jetta GLI is the natural option.

2020 Volkswagen Jetta2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI
$18,895Starting MSRP*$26,245
147Horsepower228
184 lb.-ft.Torque258 lb.-ft.
40 Highway / 30 CityFuel Efficiency (MPG)33 Highway / 25 City
94.7 cu. ft.Passenger Volume94.7 cu. ft.
14.1 cu. ft.Cargo Space14.1 cu. ft.
AvailableHeated Front SeatsStandard
AvailableDual-Zone Automatic Climate ControlStandard
AvailableAutonomous Emergency BrakingStandard
AvailableAdaptive Cruise ControlNot Available

*Prices exclude destination, taxes, title, other options, and dealer charges. Dealer sets actual price.