Shopping for a new Volkswagen Jetta?
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The mission of the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta is straightforward: It squeezes in what might just be the most usable interior space in its compact class; it delivers an impressive sweet spot of performance, refinement, and fuel economy; and it can pack in a lot of features while keeping the price point in the mid-$20,000 range.
But for 2015, the Jetta has received a significant mid-cycle refresh that makes it a little more attuned to the market. Powertrains have become even more fuel-efficient, and new active-safety features have been added to the lineup—all without lifting that bottom line too much.
One thing hasn't changed: If you want style and flair in a compact sedan, you'd probably be better served going for a model like the Dodge Dart, Mazda3, or Ford Focus. The Jetta's refresh brings a few subtle changes to the front and rear fascia, which VW claims should aid in improving the Jetta's aerodynamics. Shoppers interested in well-equipped models will also have the option of adding bi-xenon headlamps and LED daytime running lights, which were previously exclusive to GLI and Hybrid Jetta trims. The car's interior has also been updated with a new steering wheel and revised infotainment/climate controls.
Most Jetta models will be powered either by a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (1.8T) or a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder diesel (TDI); both models receive an active radiator shutter that closes to shorten engine warm-up times. Separately, the Jetta Hybrid is also expected to carry over, with its 1.4-liter turbocharged four, hybrid system, and additional battery pack—all adding up to a car that's more fun to drive than a Prius, albeit not quite as efficient. The diesel engine in TDI models has also been updated, and VW anticipates the new engine to receive an EPA highway rating of 45 mpg, which nearly closes the gap between diesel- and hybrid-powered Jetta models.
The 2015 Jetta remains so spacious, it barely squeezes into the compact class. A great driving position, the back-seat space of a mid-size sedan, and obvious German heritage throughout, from the first turn of the steering wheel: It's all part of the experience in the Jetta, which is one of the most livable and refined of its kind.
Some important news for 2015 is that VW has decided to bring some of the advanced-tech features and active-safety equipment that it had been keeping to Europe and other overseas markets over here to the U.S. Blind-spot detection, frontal collision warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive lighting (with bi-xenon headlamps) are all on offer. Following the 2011 redesign of the Jetta that removed many of the premium-feeling materials offered on previous models, we're glad to see the inclusion of technologies seen in many luxury cars for the 2015 model.
Also of note is that for 2015 the SportWagen leaves the Jetta lineup, heading instead to be part of the Golf nameplate.
- Sweet handling
- Diesel, hybrid, new turbo all have great fuel economy
- Spacious back seat
- A contemporary look, still
- Trunk is very large
- Looks conservative in its class
- Prices escalate quickly
- Nav system is subpar
- Base four-cylinder's a skipper