Long Term Updates

Date: February 2023Mileage: 3,500

Our long-term fleet just got a whole lot more exciting thanks to this 2023 Volkswagen Jetta GLI.

This sportiest of Jettas now comes in fully-loaded Autobahn trim only, which means for about the price of an entry-level crossover, you get a legit sports sedan with sunroof, 18-inch wheels, leather seats, and 10-inch Digital Cockpit display.

Not to mention abundant power from a 228-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-4 and ultimate engagement with a 6-speed manual transmission.

No all-wheel-drive, but the GLI does have VW’s XDS Differential System, which uses selective braking to largely negate understeer and boost handling above and beyond the front-drive Jetta’s already notable abilities.

Put in the context of the absurd power some sport sedans are putting out these days, the GLI’s 228 horsepower rating sounds rather tame, but I can assure you it’s anything but. Although more precisely, it’s the torque that excites here. It comes in very early on with just a hint of turbo lag; although to be honest, for me that just kind of adds to the whole sporty experience, especially when you’re swiftly working the clutch and shifter.

With us for just a month, we’ve already racked up 3,500-miles, averaging a great 31.2 miles-per-gallon. And we’re looking forward and to an end of winter weather so we can get our spring fling on in earnest.


Date: March 2023Mileage: 4,500

This 2023 Volkswagen Jetta GLI has been significantly upgraded over the ‘21 GLI that we had in our fleet a while back, but sliding behind the wheel has been just like getting reacquainted with an old friend.

Just like in the last GLI we had, we’re rowing our own gears and loving every second of it and that’s not necessarily a given these days with how good automatic transmissions have gotten. But this setup is well-suited for daily driving. The shifter precisely glides into its gates and the light clutch pedal keeps our left legs from getting tired in stop and go traffic. But just to keep from getting too fatigued, we tend to stick to the back roads in this thing.

Mostly commuting duty these last few weeks, means only about 1,000-miles added to our total, which now sits at 4,500-miles in just 2-months’ time. With 228-horsepower on tap, and that tight 6-speed manual transmission to manage it; the GLI is fun from the moment you hit the start button, with a great 30.8 miles-per-gallon average along for the ride.

There’s a raspy exhaust note too, which sounds great running through the gears, but can get tiresome when steady cruising for extended periods of time.

Date: April 2023Mileage: 6,000

We like driving here at MotorWeek. That explains how we’ve been able to accumulate 6,000-miles in this 2023 Volkswagen Jetta GLI in a bit less than 3-months.

It’s a true joy managing all of its 228-horsepower with the smooth and steady 6-speed manual transmission. And we even managed to improve our MPGs this go-around, bumping our average up to 31.9 miles-per-gallon.

The fuel economy we’re seeing in this GLI is due in-part, of course, to the engine, but I would argue it’s also because of things that have nothing to do with how much gasoline we’re using. Things like the suspension and seat comfort. My point being, is that this car is such a great cruiser that we’re taking it on longer highway trips, which is boosting our fuel economy despite our less eco-minded back road escapades. Regardless, it’s a real “have your cake and eat it too” scenario.

While not overly flashy, the interior of this latest Jetta is well laid out, controls are logically placed, and the infotainment system is easy to use. All things that help you focus on driving, which is something we plan on doing as much as possible with our remaining time with the GLI.