2018 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Kills the Manual Transmission

2018 volkswagen jetta gli - image: volkswagenFor the 2018 model year, Volkswagen of America is adopting an entirely different approach to its sports sedan transmission lineup than Honda and Subaru.

Unlike the Honda Civic Si, which is available exclusively with a manual transmission, and unlike the Subaru WRX, which is available with a manual transmission or a continuously variable automatic, the 2018 Volkswagen Jetta GLI will drop the manual transmission option. 

CarsDirect cites the lower-than-GTI manual take rate of only 30 percent as reason for excluding the three-pedal layout. Of course, many cars continue to offer manual shifters despite even lower take rates. The 2018 Kia Rio, Car And Driver reports, will only generate 5 percent of its volume with a manual transmission. That’s on par with industry average. Only 3 percent of Jaguar F-Types are sold with a manual transmission. Only 23 percent of Chevrolet Corvette buyers opt for a manual.

30 percent?

That’s a downright impressive share for manual transmissions.2018 volkswagen jetta gli - Image: volkswagenThe real cause of the Jetta GLI’s solo transmission act for 2018 — the six-speed DSG persists — is the tidying up of Jetta variants in the sixth-generation’s (likely) final model year. Volkswagen eliminated the Jetta Hybrid prior to the 2017 model year. The TDI diesel engine was obviously removed by wrongdoing. The 2018 Volkswagen Jetta GLI will come in one iteration with no options, priced at $30,395. That’s up $580 compared with the 2017 Jetta GLI DSG. It’s also $1,680 more costly than the basic 2017 Jetta GLI.

More importantly, the 2018 Volkswagen Jetta GLI costs $2,880 more than the least costly 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI DSG, which is the superior sporting car. Volkswagen of America hasn’t released 2018 specifications for the Golf GTI but has confirmed manual availability.

Volkswagen doesn’t release model breakdowns for the Jetta lineup, but based on inventory, the GLI accounts for roughly 14 percent of total Jetta sales. That would work out to around 1,400 monthly U.S. Jetta GLI sales. Volkswagen of America has averaged 1,868 monthly Golf GTI sales in 2017’s first three-quarters.

[Images: Volkswagen]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.