2014 Volkswagen Jetta Review
Since 1980, more Jettas found home than any other Volkswagen model. We love the trunk space, while we also get the driving spirit of a VW. Two years ago, VW introduced a new Jetta that appears to have the same kind of spirit. The CarSoup.com team wanted to find out if it indeed has that spirit.
At first glance, there is no mistaking the current Jetta for what it is. You could find the cues that it is indeed a Volkswagen – the grille texture, headlamp and tallight designs, for example. Certain lines and angles give more away as to VW’s distinctiveness when you compare it to the competition.
The SEL added a bit more flash to the Jetta’s look. A bit more chrome and the seventeen-inch alloys denote a more luxurious model. However, it is rather restrained. This is probably what VW intentioned – looks are distinguishable, but overly designed.
When you step inside the Jetta – any Jetta – you would not exactly use the word “austere” to describe the cabin. It is almost an all-black interior, from the leatherette seating to the instrument panel. The only breakup in color is in the roof liner – a light gray contrast against everything below the window line.
Seating-wise, the black leatherette is comfortable, while the form is supportive. However, as a large person, I felt semi-comfortable behind the wheel. The seat had to be positioned low to clear the sunroof and far to let me legs work without strain, If you are the average human being, four to five of you would find comfort all around. It is a decent sized cabin for the class. Trunk space is huge and will swallow enough luggage for a weekend for four.
Instrumentation is typical Volkswagen with white-on-black dials for the speedometer and tachometer. However, there is a small LCD screen in-between the two large dials that feature a fuel gauge, a clock and an odometer/trip odometer. But, that is about it. The switches are not intuitive enough to provide further information, such as fuel economy-related figures. The center stack features the infotainment system and the climate control switches.
For North America, Volkswagen joined with guitar and amplifier maker Fender to create a premium audio experience. The difference between this and a mere audio system is quite a lot. Though you are not a rock concert, the Fender’s nine speakers – subwoofer included – will fill the cabin with beautiful noise.
The new TSI engine in the SEL sedan has 170 horsepower on tap with 184 pounds-feet of torque. There are plenty of benefits to plunking the new TSI under the hood. The power band is flexible exhibiting some turbo lag on occasion. Yet, it will go at highway speed without complaint. A six-speed Tiptronic automatic is connected to the new engine sending power to the front wheels.
There is no question how the Jetta drives. “It drives like a Volkswagen.” What exactly does that mean? Put it on dry tarmac and it will exhibit a bit of sport – a firm, but balanced chassis, the lack of body roll in the corners, decent steering and solid brake action. It just seems that the Jetta loves to run and will show its moves when prompted.
Jetta are known for getting decent fuel economy to go along with their performance. The 1.8liter TSI powered SEL sedan turned a fuel economy figure of 23.0MPG. Volkswagen claims an average of 29MPG for this driveline.
If you are shopping for a Jetta, you will find it a bargain to begin with. A basic S with a 2.0liter, 115 horsepower engine and a manual gearbox prices out at $17,715. Our SEL tester rang the register at $26,725. There are also TDI diesel and Hybrid versions available for Jetta buyers looking for more sustainable alternatives.
Amongst compacts, Volkswagen offers the Jetta as a mainstream alternative. For Volkswagen lovers, it is their choice in a crowded field. It could also be yours.
**If you are interested in a Volkswagen Jetta, log onto CarSoup.com to find out what is available on sale. **
Photos © Volkswagen of America