2025 Volkswagen Jetta/Jetta GLI Get Minor Tweaks, Save the Manual (Sort of)

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

The 2025 Volkswagen Jetta and Jetta GLI are refreshed, getting slightly updated styling, new available colors, and a lower pre-fees MSRP.

As far as saving the manuals goes, VW is taking one stick-shift away and leaving one available.

Losing the stick in the base S trim won't make us weep, we suspect no one was buying it, anyway. We're just glad the GLI gets to keep it.

The other big news is that the price tag for a base S is now $21,995 before destination and delivery fees. That's cheaper than an automatic S is now, and cheaper than a stick-shift 2024 S after D and D.

The exterior changes are minor -- the front and rear ends are updated, and there's now an available light bar across the grille on Sport trims and above. The rear gets a standard light bar. The upper and lower grilles are new and so are the LED headlights. There are new wheel choices in 17- and 18-inch sizes and two new available paint colors.

The cabin gets a new dash that has a floating infotainment screen that's now 8 inches for all three trims -- previously it was only that size on the higher trims -- and a three-bar design. The touchscreen is 8 inches and automatic climate control is now standard. Some features are available on lower trims than before -- things like satellite radio, wireless cell-phone charging, and wireless smartphone mirroring.

Those who hate VW's haptic touch controls will be both pleased and upset. Pleased because knobs remain for volume and tuning but upset because the HVAC controls are all now haptic.

Powertrains mostly carry over, meaning the Jetta still has the 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 158 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. As noted, the stickshift is dead, so any Jetta that doesn't have a GLI badge gets an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Opt for the GLI and you still get the spunky 2.0-liter turbocharged direct-injection four-cylinder that makes 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. If you want to row your own, as this author does, you still can opt for the six-speed stick. If clutching isn't for you, there's a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic on offer.

GLIs also get bigger brakes, an electronically controlled torque-sensing limited-slip differential that also has electronic locking, adaptive damping, and a sportier exhaust.

A black appearance package is available for the GLI, which will be offered solely in Autobahn trim.

New for the GLI are features such as the light bar for the grille, new 18-inch wheels, and a new steering wheel. The steering wheel remains heated.

Volkswagen PR brass was keen on reminding us media types that the Jetta is standard with the company's IQ.Drive advanced driver-aid system -- it offers features such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring, lane assist, semi-automated driving assistance, rear traffic alert, and blind-spot monitoring.

Expect to see the 2025 Volkswagen Jetta and Jetta GLI at a dealer near you around the end of the third quarter this year.

My initial take: I am happy the GLI retains the manual, bummed to see more haptic touch controls replacing easier-to-use buttons and knobs, and a bit puzzled that VW would float the infotainment screen, especially since it's same size as what upper trims offered before. The rest of the changes are so minor as to be hard to notice, but that's not a bad thing -- the current Jetta has struck me as handsome enough, if not exactly head-turning.

What we have here is a slightly tweaked Jetta that's a bit improved in some ways, the same in other ways, and perhaps takes a step back in some aspects. The outgoing car has always been nicely packaged with a large cabin -- though non-GLI models have lacked a bit in terms of sportiness. The GLI, meanwhile, should be on the shopping list of anyone looking for a sport compact car.

We'll know more once we drive the cars, but I expect the overall impressions to remain the same. The key changes here will be features and pricing. With some features moving down to lower trims on the Jetta and the base price being a bit lower, at least before D and D, price-conscious commuters might take notice.

As for the GLI, well, it appears that they didn't fix what wasn't broken.

[Images: Volkswagen]

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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 Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. 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 30 comments
  • 2ACL 2ACL on Jun 25, 2024
    Long-term ownership prejudice aside, the GLI is easily one of my picks not only within its price range or segment, but among current cars. I wish more people appreciated the formula.
  • Slavuta Slavuta on Jun 25, 2024
    Is this Kia?
  • Rover Sig Absolutely not. Ever.
  • EBFlex No. I buy as little Chinese products as possible.
  • John "...often in a state of complete disarray on the roads" What does that mean? Many examples in poor repair? Talk about awful writing.
  • Varezhka Saving sedans in US or globally? Right now around half of the global sedan sales is in China, just under a quarter in North America, and the remaining quarter distributed around the rest of the world. So for a sedan to stay around they must sell well in both China and North America (BMW, Mercedes, Toyota, Honda) or just extremely well in China (VW/Audi and Nissan). For everyone else, the writing is on the wall. There’s also a niche of subcompact sedans in SE Asia and India but I believe those are being replaced by SUVs too.
  • Kcflyer it's not a ford, it's not a mustang. just like the ford gt is not a ford but multimatic gt or mustang wouldn't roll off the tongue