I am considering purchasing a Volkswagen Jetta GLI, and plan to drive it year round. Since it doesn’t have four-wheel drive, I wonder about its winter capabilities. Is she going to piss me off?
Good morning Marc,
The Jetta GLI is indeed offered in front-wheel drive only. It’s a shame, because a four-wheel drive Jetta would be pretty cool!
Nevertheless, history has shown us that a front-wheel drive car with good winter tires can do very well in the cold season. Of course, its fairly low ground clearance may force you to take out your shovel once in a while, but this car is still very capable of driving safely 12 months a year. Like all compact cars, by the way. Think of a Honda Civic or a Toyota Corolla.
The key to safe winter driving is first and foremost to reduce your speed and anticipate what’s to come. It doesn’t matter which vehicle you are in! It is certain that with nearly 230 horsepower, if you press too much on the accelerator, you might have difficulty from street corners, but the GLI’s traction control is quite effective. Once again, you have to be patient!
Photo: Marc-André Gauthier
The main flaw of the Jetta GLI, on a daily basis, is that its suspensions are a little too firm. Being adjustable, we can of course set them in Comfort mode, but then again, the GLI remains rather steep, and since the roads tend to be bumpier in winter, that might disturb you. But at the same time, you’d expect that from a sports car.
All that to say that as long as you accept a slight lack of traction in winter, it shouldn’t be the end of the world!
In video: Antoine Joubert presents the 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI