Not Sitting Down: 2022 Volkswagen Jetta, Jetta GLI Get Refreshed

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

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.

[Images: Volkswagen]

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for, CarFax,, High Gear Media, Torque News,,, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as,, and He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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2 of 47 comments
  • Dougjp Dougjp on Aug 24, 2021

    Re: the GLI, Canadian market (where only fully loaded versions had been offered before), I thought "refreshed" meant something. A front or rear scoop design or material "texture" change here and there is meaningless.

  • Monkeydelmagico Monkeydelmagico on Aug 25, 2021

    A lot of talk about the GLI but people are missing a hidden gem. The sport with the 1.5t, manual, and lsd should be a budget bomber. I am intrigued.

  • Bob65688581 We bought zillions of German cars, despite knowing about WWII slave labor. Refusing to buy something for ideological reasons is foolish.Both the US and the EU have imposed tariffs, so the playing field is level. I'll buy the best price/quality, regardless of nationality.Another interesting question would be "Would you buy one of the many new European moderate-price EVs?" but of course they aren't sold here.Third interesting question: "Why won't Stellantis sell its best products in America?"
  • Freshblather No. Worried there will be malicious executable code built into the cars motherboard that could disable the Chinese cars in the event of hostilities between the west and China.
  • Bd2 Absolutely not - do not want to support a fascist, totalitarian regime.
  • SCE to AUX The original Capri was beautiful. The abomination from the 90s was no Capri, and neither is this.It looks good, but too similar to a Polestar. And what's with the whacked price?
  • Rover Sig Absolutely not. Ever.