2015 Volkswagen Jetta Review


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Volkswagen Jetta Experts

#1 Tom Demyan
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2015 Volkswagen Jetta Overview

Often accused of crimes against modern styling, Volkswagen’s popular Jetta responds by continuing to outsell just about everything in the compact sedan market. And for the 2015 model year, a fairly comprehensive redesign inside and out, along with a tweaked turbodiesel powerplant should again under-awe reviewers as it climbs the sales charts.

Once more boasting 6 trims that include the Spartan Jetta Base, the infinitesimally upgraded S, the further up-featured SE, the surprisingly posh SEL, the torque-laden TDI and the gas-sipping Hybrid, this 5-seat commuter car/mall-hopper keeps flaunting a comfortable and roomy cabin, with the traditional 15.5 cubic feet of trunk space boosted further by split-folding rear seatbacks. Of course, this 4-door is again delivered only with gas-miserly front-wheel drive (FWD).  

Reworked front and rear ends, including new active grille shutters and a new rear spoiler, as well as improvements to the traditional PQ35 frame and a few upgrades to interior appointments are just some of the changes expected in the Jetta stable for 2015. As well, handsome chrome rings now adorn instruments and gauge rings as new ambient lighting makes things easier to find at night, while distinctive piano-black console accents also debut. Additionally, a few new electronic safety aids, such as blind-spot and forward-collision warnings, a rear cross-traffic alert and parking sensors also get introduced for this upcoming year.

Perhaps the most appreciated tweak, however, will be the 10 extra horsepower coaxed out of the TDI’s returning 2.0-liter turbodiesel inline 4-cylinder powerplant. Putting out a hefty 150 hp (as opposed to last year’s 140 hp) this EA288 turbodiesel again mates with either a standard 6-speed manual transmission or the available 6-speed auto-manual transmission for 236 lb-ft of torque. Mileage has also been improved to 45 mpg highway, up from 42 in last year’s edition, and a readjustment of the catalytic converter is expected to heat up the cabin quicker in cold weather. Oh, and this peppy powertrain is also set to adorn the German automaker’s Beetle and Passat offerings, as well.

The base engine, meantime, remains the capable, if less-than-inspiring, 2.0-liter normally aspirated I4 that comes standard in the Base and S iterations. Again mated with either the standard 5-speed manual transmission common to both trims or the 6-speed shiftable automatic that’s available to the S, the 4-banger throws down 115 hp and 125 lb-ft of torque, with mileage numbers again running 24 mpg city/34 highway in stick-shift versions and 23/29 in an automatic-equipped Jetta S.

For a tad more oomph, higher Jetta trims sport a recently introduced turbocharged 1.8-liter I4 that uses either the 5-speed manual or the available 6-speed shiftable automatic to put out 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Look for mileage numbers to remain 26/36 in manual-shift variants and 25/36 in automatic-toting versions.

The Jetta Hybrid, finally, boasts a 1.4-liter turbocharged hybrid I4 engine and 20-kilowatt electric motor to pound down a total of 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Managed by a standard 7-speed auto-manual transmission, this turbo hybrid powerplant sips gas at a pleasantly efficient 42/48 and flaunts the ability to accelerate up to 37 mph for short distances on electric power alone.

Appearance accoutrements, depending on the selected trim, can include 15- or 16-inch steel wheels or 17-inch alloy wheels, as well as a rear spoiler, electric power steering, a power sunroof and heated power-adjustable and body-color outside mirrors.

Inside, this sprightly small sedan, again depending on the trim chosen, boasts cloth or leatherette upholstery, full power accessories, keyless entry/ignition, heated power-adjustable front seats, Bluetooth-interfaced Car-Net telematics (destination download, etc.), cruise control and telescoping tilt-wheel steering. The S and SE go on to feature a 6-speaker stereo that sports satellite radio and auxiliary audio input, while the flagship Jetta SEL tacks on a standard rear-view camera, 8-speaker Fender premium audio components, touchscreen navigation and front fog/driving lights.

As is traditional, options for lower trims include many items that come standard in higher trims, including a Premium package, a Connectivity package and a Navigation package boasting stuff like the power sunroof, touchscreen navigation and the premium Fender audio system, as well as those new-for-2015 safety techno-gizmos.

And speaking of safety, all 2015 Jetta trims come with standard 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags and front head restraint whiplash protection, as well as front and rear head airbags. Daytime running lights also remain delivered standard throughout the lineup, as does a post-collision safety system, while a remote antitheft alarm kit is optional for all trims.


Have Laptop, Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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