The Beatles sang about the long and winding road. Based on our experience during a recent 1,800-mile road trip, there’s no car better suited to traveling that meandering path than the Volkswagen Jetta GLI.
For starters, the sedan version of VW’s performance-oriented GTI compact hatchback offers all the best qualities of the standard Jetta, including good fuel economy, a roomy interior, and a trunk large enough to take it all with you.
Our test car’s gutsy 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine (228 hp) and precise 6-speed manual gearbox (a 7-speed automatic transmission is an option) makes piloting the GLI a giddy pleasure. Acceleration is generous enough to put a smile on your face after even a short spin, much less an all-day trek.
The high-end Autobahn model features an adaptive suspension that electronically adjusts to smooth out freeway bumps while still delivering excellent handling on curvy stretches of road. If the GLI has a shortcoming, it’s low-key styling: If you want a car that draws a crowd, this ain’t it. That minor ding aside, the Jetta GLI makes a superb road trip companion.