The 2018 Jetta GLI is the enthusiast’s compact car. Gorgeous European styling with sport acceleration, braking and handling plus fuel efficiency on top of it all. While the all new 2019 Jetta’s get ready to make their debut, if you’re looking for the sport version, this very well maybe the car for you. iDriveSoCal’s Professor, Clinton Quan, picked one up from our friends at Ontario Volkswagen for a complete analysis – hear it all in this iDSC Podcast.
Recording date – April 5, 2018 in Los Angeles, CA
Clinton Quan: This car is for someone who wants a compact car but wants something that’s sportier, more fun to drive than your typical compact car. So if you’re looking for something that’s also fuel efficient but that’s fun to drive on the highway and on mountain roads, and you like going on scenic drives, this is the car for you. I think the three-spoke steering wheel is my favorite feature of the car. Love the large, sporty gauges. It handles really well. And the power, 210 horsepower 207 pound-feet of torque.
Tom Smith: Welcome to iDriveSoCal, the podcast all about mobility from the automotive capital of the United States–Southern California. I’m Tom Smith. And joining me for another vehicle review is our good friend “the Professor” Clinton Quan. Say hello, Clinton.
Clinton Quan: Hi, Tom; it’s great to be back for another automotive review.
Tom Smith: Always happy to have you, my friend. Today we are reviewing our first Volkswagen from our newest dealer partner, our good friends out at Ontario Volkswagen, and Clinton is going to review the 2018 Volkswagen Jetta but the sporty version, which is the GLI. Before I throw it over to you, Clinton, I want to give a shout out to Earl Reed, who is the general manager out at Ontari a Volkswagen. Thank you for coming on board. Scott Reed, who is the sales manager, thank you for coming on board. And Randy Halcomb, who is marketing guru, thank you for coming on board. Clinton, I know you hooked up with Scott, and it was just a few days ago, and you went for a test drive. And tell us about it.
Clinton Quan: I test drove the 2018 Volkswagen Jetta GLI. The Jetta is Volkswagen’s compact sedan. The GLI is the sport version of the Jetta. And there are six trims in the Jetta family and three engines. The base Jetta is the S which starts at about $19,000. Then you have the Wolfsburg edition at about $20,000, the SE at $21,000, and all three of those trims feature a 1.4-liter inline 4 turbocharge engine producing 150 horsepower, 184 pound-feet of torque. Then you move up to the SE Sport which is about $23,000 dollars, and then the SEL which starts at about $26,000. Those two trims feature a 1.8-liter inline 4 turbocharge engine producing 170 horsepower. It’s also rated at 184 pound-feet of torque. And then you move up to the top of the line trim which is the Jetta GLI, the one I drove, and that features a 2.0-liter engine turbocharge inline 4 and that produces 210 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque.
Tom Smith: Okay. Outstanding.
Clinton Quan: And that starts at about $30,000.
Tom Smith: Okay. Another outstanding feat of granular recollection of detail. Folks, Clinton and I are just sitting here talking. I, of course, have my pen in hand, notepad in front of me. Clinton is just going off the top of his head with these details of the vehicles, so that’s why we call him “the Professor.” Thank you much for all those details, as always. You drove the GLI, the sporty version. And to clarify, not long from now, the 2019 is going to be coming out, the 2019 Jetta. However, the 2018 Jetta GLI, the sport version, this one, the sporty version is going to stay for a little bit longer, whereas some of those other trim levels are going to be replaced soon, but these are a little separate issue within the Jetta family.
Clinton Quan: Yes. So I’m pretty sure they’ll have a GLI trim. But it hasn’t been announced yet, so it’ll probably come the following year in 2019 as a 2020 model.
Tom Smith: Got it. Okay. So let’s talk about the drive. Where’d you go?
Clinton Quan: I drove out to Idyllwild. So it was a really nice drive up to the mountain community of Idyllwild.
Tom Smith: Nice.
Clinton Quan: Yeah, it was a great drive up in the mountains, really got to test the vehicle in terms of acceleration, braking, and handling. And this is a really fun car to drive. It’s got plenty of power, especially with that 270 pound-feet of torque and 210 horsepower.
Tom Smith: Okay. So you drove everything, highways, byways, right?
Clinton Quan: Yes. Yeah, it has a six speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
Tom Smith: Paddle shifters, your favorite, right?
Clinton Quan: Yes. Yes. It’s the only transmission.
Tom Smith: Okay, cool. So let’s talk a little bit about the styling, the outside. Take us around the car.
Clinton Quan: Well, I think this is one of the most attractive compact sedans on the market. It’s got really, really clean lines. It’s very well-proportioned. It looks great, I think, from every angle whether it’s the front, the rear, the side, three quarter front, three quarter rear. Overall length about 182 inches in length. So that’s a little bit larger than some of the other compact sedans. There’s really a good amount of space on the inside as well in terms of the interior design. That’s one of the things I like most about this car. It’s got the three-spoke on a flat-bottom steering wheel with the paddle shifters, as I mentioned previously, large, circular gauges, tachometer, speedometer. It actually reminds me of the Audi TT I used to have.
Tom Smith: Well, it’s in that family, right?
Clinton Quan: Volkswagen, Audi.
Tom Smith: That’s obvious, but not obvious for everybody, so yeah. The Volkswagen, Audi is siblings, right?
Clinton Quan: Yes. So with the Jetta GLI you get the red/black combination trim. It also has that nice red stitching on the leather steering wheel, red stitching on the seats.
Tom Smith: And I love the red accents; those are always very clean, very sharp looking.
Clinton Quan: Yeah. It also has the nice 18-inch alloy wheels. It looks really nice on this car.
Tom Smith: And how is the inside designed for you from a creature comfort and…?
Clinton Quan: Oh, it’s very comfortable for a compact car. It’s got plenty of space, I think, great ergonomics. Most of the buttons, controls they’re all right within your fingertips. It’s very, very well laid out.
Tom Smith: Okay. Space wise what kind of capacity are we talking about for adults, comfortably?
Clinton Quan: Oh, it’s very comfortable for four adults. Yeah, it’s got about 94 cubic feet of space in terms of interior cargo space, so, yeah, two adults in the front, two adults in the back. There’s a really good amount of trunk space for this car, especially being a compact vehicle.
Tom Smith: Okay, perfect. So four adults comfortably, plenty of trunk space.
Clinton Quan: Yeah, good amount of legroom in the back, too, yeah, for a compact car.
Tom Smith: And so who’s this car for who? Who’s ideally is its intended target demo?
Clinton Quan: Well, this car is for someone who wants a compact car but wants something that…is looking for something that’s sportier, more fun to drive than your typical compact car. So if you’re looking for something that’s also fuel efficient but that’s fun to drive on the highway and on mountain roads, and you like going on scenic drives, this is the car for you. And speaking of fuel efficiency, it still gets about 27 miles to the gallon combined. So it’s only one mile per gallon less combined than the SEL and the SE Sport, which gets about 28 miles per gallon with the 1.8-liter engine.
Tom Smith: Okay, so 27 combined. Do we have the different driving modes, the eco sport…?
Clinton Quan: Sport and that’s it.
Tom Smith: Boom, that’s it?
Clinton Quan: Yeah, drive and sport. Think of it as the enthusiast version of the Jetta.
Tom Smith: Enthusiast, right. The enthusiast version is perfect. So then who this car might be for, we’re talking. Junior exec, exec.
Clinton Quan: I would say probably someone in their 20s maybe early, mid 30s.
Tom Smith: Likes a sporty drive.
Clinton Quan: Yeah.
Tom Smith: Likes some fuel economy, whipping in and out of L.A. traffic, whipping in and out of Southern California highways and whatnot.
Clinton Quan: Yes.
Tom Smith: Very good. So are we ready for top three?
Clinton Quan: Yes. We’re ready for top three.
Tom Smith: Top three, hit ’em.
Clinton Quan: The top three I would definitely say the interior design. I really liked the sporty three-spoke steering wheel. I think the three-spoke steering wheel is my favorite feature of the car. Love the large, sporty gauges.
Tom Smith: What’s the movie? “You had me at hello.” Because, honestly, folks, Clinton if it has paddle shifters and a three-spoke steering wheel that’s flat on the bottom, Clinton’s like, “Aaah.”
Clinton Quan: Volkswagen does a really good job with the design of their three-spoke steering wheel.
Tom Smith: Okay. So back to top three, sorry to chop you off there.
Clinton Quan: Yeah. The the interior, as we mentioned. The drive, it’s a really fun car to drive. I think it handles really well. And the power, 210 horsepower 207 pound-feet of torque.
Tom Smith: Nice. So do you have 0 to 60 on the top of your head and quarter mile, or anything like that, or 0 to 100?
Clinton Quan: No, I didn’t…
Tom Smith: And you didn’t time it yourself?
Clinton Quan: I didn’t do a 0 to 60 test or a quarter mile test.
Tom Smith: All right. Anything else to add about the 2018 Volkswagen Jetta GLI from our good friends over at Ontario Volkswagen?
Clinton Quan: Well, I would just say that this is the last year of this generation. So if this is something that you…if you want a compact car and something that’s sporty and fun to drive, now is a great time to get one.
Tom Smith: Now’s the time to pull the trigger.
Clinton Quan: Now’s the time to pull the trigger, absolutely.
Tom Smith: And the place to pull the trigger is at Ontario Volkswagen, which is in Ontario California just off of the 15, ontariovolkswagen.com, ontariovw.com. Another shout out to Earl Reed, Scott Reed, and Randy Halcomb of Ontario Volkswagen, very excited to have you guys on board and working with us, so thanks again, fellas. And that brings us to the end of another fantastic vehicle review from “the Professor”, Clinton Quan. For iDriveSoCal, I’m Tom Smith. Thanks for listening.