You don't have to step up to the top trim to get the best tech.
Car enthusiasts love cheap hot hatches, but when cheap hot hatches aren't available, cheap hot sedans are the next best thing (or maybe cheap hot coupes). And in both of those areas, Volkswagen doesn't disappoint. For 2022 it's refreshing its Jetta and hot Jetta GLI sedans with more power and a new trim for the base model, a nip and a tuck for the sheetmetal and more tech at a lower cost for the whole line. There's even a new Sport trim for the base lineup.
"The US still moves 900,000 sedans a year, and Jetta's share is up," VW reps told CarBuzz at an event in Metro Detroit. Its owners are the second most loyal below the Tiguan. Value in a compact size is the reason."
Both Jettas will come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, as the car gods intended. The Jetta can be spec'd with an eight-speed automatic while the GLI can be had with a seven-speed dual clutch just like the GTI hatch. Like last year, the sportier Jetta GLI will use the turbocharged 2.0-liter EA888 four making 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, but the base model gets a new engine.
It's the same engine as the new VW Taos crossover. The EA211 is a turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder, now displacing 1.5 liters and making 158 hp and 184 lb-ft. That's 10 more hp than last year thanks to coated cylinder liners, a new map-controlled cooling module and variable turbine geometry. The high-pressure injection system has increased from 200 bar to 350 bar.
Both models ride on VW's MQB platform and both feature a strut-type front suspension. In the rear the base Jetta uses a torsion bar while the GLI has a better multilink setup. Both sport VW's VAQ "electronically-controlled torque-sensing limited-slip differential." In the GLI it works in tandem with the XDS Cross Differential System, as well as the DCC adaptive damping. Basically, VAQ is a brake-based differential and XDS is a true front differential. Both will be sportier than your average compact sedan.
Exterior updates include new front and rear bumpers, a new grille, two new chrome bars flanking the VW logo. The GLI gets a red accent between those bars and a honeycomb lower grille. LED headlights and daytime running lights (DRLs) are standard, with top-trim Jetta models and the GLI having projector LEDs. Chrome window trim is now standard down the side of the base Jetta, except for the Sport and GLI, which get black surrounds. The GLI also gets the honeycomb pattern in the back, along with wider exhaust finishers.
Seven exterior colors are available for the base model, including Oryx White, Kings Red, and Rising Blue metallic hues, but the GLI has a pared-back palette of only five paints. There are new wheels too. Sizes range from 16 to 18 inches, with a couple of optional black wheel options. The ones we saw on the new Jetta Sport were called Aero wheels and looked like fan blades.
Inside, VW's Digital Cockpit gauge cluster is standard, measuring eight inches on the regular model and ten inches on the GLI. Both derivatives feature Volkswagen Car-Net with in-car Wi-Fi capability. There's new infotainment for upper trims too, with the VW MIB3 infotainment system made standard at the top of the order and on the GLI. These trims also feature wireless device charging and wireless App-Connect for mobile integration.
We sat in the Jetta at the reveal, and the new leather seating feels soft and looks great. In the Jetta GLI, the black perforated leather gets a red undertone, along with red accent stitching. Want more red? 10-color ambient lighting is available and red is one of the colors. Cloth is standard on the Jetta with a rhombus design, but leatherette and genuine leather are available, and the leather can be had in Volcano Brown and black two-tone. All Jetta models get a cool accent piece splitting the dash. It in Jetta is a sort of a wood-look pattern; in the GLI it's carbon fiber.
The standard Jetta can be had with luxurious amenities like heated front and rear seats and ventilated front items. In the GLI, the front occupants get standard heating and ventilation. The GLI gets a standard power driver's seat, Climatronic automatic climate control, keyless entry, and push-button start, features that are available from the middle of the standard Jetta trim ladder. Optionally, the Jetta can be equipped with a sunroof, the aforementioned ambient lighting, and a BeatsAudio sound system.
VW's IQ.Drive driver assistance technology is available on all Jettas for 2022. Base models come standard with a few features including forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert, optionally, the full slew of IQ.Drive features includes enhancements of the above, plus lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and Travel Assist and Emergency Assist, two semi-autonomous functionalities, with the latter being specifically for medical emergencies. These are standard on the GLI and from the midle SE trim of the standard lineup.
The regular Jetta will come in four trims, with the new Sport model filling in the between the S and SE as an affordable enthusiast's sedan. The SEL remains the top trim. We don't have pricing yet, but the current Jetta starts at $19,000 before destination and handling and the GLI starts at $26,345. We expect the new models to stick close to that when they go on sale in the fourth quarter of this year.