There’s new hotness in the compact-car segment, especially among the sportier models.
Since Volkswagen has two compact models — the mainstream Jetta and the spiced-up Jetta GLI — it probably can’t sit idly by in a year in which Subaru drops a new WRX, the Honda Civic is all-new (with sporty versions coming soon), and Hyundai has taken the wraps off the Elantra N sport sedan. An Acura Integra is also on the way, and it might be priced in the same range.
That makes it time for a refresh.
This isn’t to say VW scrambled to reach market — this refresh was likely in the making for quite some time, given how long product lead times are — but rather, that the brand has timed this well.
The biggest change is that the non-GLI Jetta gets the 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder from the Taos compact crossover. It makes 158 horsepower and 184 lb-ft. of torque and has an 11.5:1 compression ratio. It will pair with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission.
Meanwhile, the GLI will remain available with a 2.0-liter turbo-four that makes 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft. of torque. Transmission choices remain a standard six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic.
Trim lines are streamlined, with the Jetta dropping from five to four trims (S, Sport, SE, and SEL) and the GLI moving from two trims to just one that VW says is fully loaded, with black appearance package available. New for this year will be a Sport trim for the Jetta. It will offer an electronically-locking differential, 17-inch wheels, blacked-out grille, blacked-out trim pieces, black headliner, and cloth sport seats. It replaces the R-Line trim and is one step up from base S.
Both cars get new bumpers, new wheels, and new color choices. They also get new grilles with chrome bars on each side of the VW logo, and the GLI maintains the red strip between the bars. The GLI also gets a honeycomb detail for the lower front fascia. LED lighting is standard, and the upper trim Jettas and the GLI will get projector-beam headlights.
GLIs also get a black honeycomb rear diffuser and a wider dual exhaust. Jettas will be sold in seven colors and GLIs in five. Wheels will be offered in 16-, 17-, and 18-inch sizes.
An 8-inch digital instrument cluster screen is now standard on Jetta, with a 10-inch screen being standard on GLI. Wireless charging and wireless smartphone mirroring will be available.
VW’s IQ.DRIVE suite of driver-aid tech will be available across the board. It includes forward-collision warning, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring, blind-spot monitor, rear-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control.
The refreshed 2022 Jetta and Jetta GLI go on sale in the fourth quarter of this year.
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