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FEATURES | 8 out of 10
The base Jetta S …is the only Jetta model that comes with cloth seats.
VW insists that its "leatherette" (textured vinyl), perforated to let your backside breathe, is just as handsome and comfortable. It did seem more than OK in our drives.
…we saddled up in an SEL-spec (with sunroof) tester…Keep your hands off the dash and on the wheel, and the experience is remarkably more pleasant, but at $23,395, it better be.
There appears to be no option for an upgraded stereo system, HID xenon headlights, or leather seats -- although the leatherette on the SE and SEL models is very nice.
The VW Jetta now comes in a staggering array of models based mostly around drivetrains, with the SportWagen returning for its final model year in 2014.
All Jettas come with an AM/FM/CD player with an auxiliary jack; power windows, locks, and mirrors; and air conditioning. The base Jetta S, priced from about $17,000, has cloth seats--and it's the only Jetta so equipped. It offers options for a sunroof, a center console, and cruise control.
For just under $20,000, the new Jetta SE adds cruise control; synthetic leather seats; iPod connectivity, now found in the console; and heated front seats. A sunroof and pushbutton start are among the options, as are satellite radio; Bluetooth; pushbutton start; a touchscreen radio; and lumbar adjustment for the front seats. Car-Net, an OnStar-like service, is also a new option.
The SE trim level can be had with either the 2.0-liter four or the new 1.8-liter turbo four, the latter of which is also offered in SEL trim, which adds a power driver seat and a soft-touch finish on the dash, as well as 17-inch wheels; pushbutton start; keyless entry; and fog lamps. A rearview camera is standard on the SEL for 2014, as are a navigation system and the 400-watt Fender audio system, as well as an automatic transmission.
The Jetta TDI diesel sedan has SE-level equipment in base form; as a TDI Premium, it adds a sunroof, a rearview camera, and Fender audio. With navigation, the TDI Premium also gets power front seats.
The sporty Jetta GLI is powered by the turbocharged 2.0-liter four, with a six-speed manual gearbox standard and an optional seven-speed DSG transmission with paddle controls. Standard features includes 17-inch wheels; red-painted calipers for the disc brakes; red-stitched sport bucket seats; aluminum pedals and interior trim; fog lamps; and a steering wheel with a flat bottom and red detailing. Two different 18-inch alloy wheels can be ordered as options, along with dual-zone automatic climate control, heated seats, the Fender audio system, and the sunroof. Last year, the GLI added launch control, a rearview camera, and bi-xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lights.
Lastly for the sedans, there's the new 2013 Jetta Hybrid. It's base-priced at the top of the range, at $24,995--fully $2,000 more than the diesel TDI model. But with data showing that hybrid buyers are older and more affluent than diesel buyers, VW feels this is the right place for the hybrid--and it comes with essentially the full SEL trim level as standard.
For the Jetta SportWagen, on a platform now nearing a decade old, there are fewer trim levels and a lesser options list. The base model comes with all-season tires on its 16-inch alloy wheels; air conditioning; cruise control; power windows, locks, and mirrors; a tilting-and-telescoping adjustable steering wheel; power front seats; and a trip computer. TDI models also get a rearview camera. The standard audio system has AM, FM, and CD capabilities, but Bluetooth connectivity is standard. Options include 17-inch wheels and a sunroof; the more expensive TDI wagon adds additional options, including pushbutton start, keyless entry, and a touchscreen navigation system.
Other compact cars offer more luxury and infotainment features than the Jetta.