By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.1
The Jetta is Volkswagen's best-selling vehicle, and it's easy to see why. Available with a variety of powertrains that include gasoline, diesel and hybrid, a wagon body style in addition to the popular sedan, and prices that range from under $18,000 to over $32,000, there is a Jetta for just about everybody. The best news for the 2014 Jetta is a heart transplant that replaces the aging 5-cylinder engine with a peppy and more fuel-efficient turbocharged 4-cylinder, a swap that gives the VW a new lease on life. The mainstream compact-sedan segment teems with popular rivals that include the Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra, Ford Focus, Mazda3, Toyota Corolla, Chevrolet Cruze and Hyundai Elantra, but the VW Jetta stands out with its Euro sophistication, and the sedan earned itself a spot on our list of the 10 Best Sedans Under $25,000 for 2014.
In addition to the intangible nature of its European roots, the Jetta offers impressive features for the money and a roomy interior. If efficiency is a priority, diesel versions of the sedan and SportWagen deliver eye-popping fuel economy, and like the also-recommendable gas-electric hybrid, is fun to drive.
In addition to swapping the 5-cylinder engine for a turbocharged-4 in most sedan models, Volkswagen has installed multilink rear suspension in all 2014 Jettas and introduced its smartphone-enabled Car-Net communications service. Jetta SportWagen models again carry over unchanged except for new LED license-place lighting, and diesel (TDI) models gain a rearview camera as standard.
Driving Impressions The Jetta you experience on the road will depend on what's under the hood. On the base end is the underwhelming Jetta S with its 115-horsepower 4-cylinder, while on the...other is the invigorating Jetta GLI. With its 210-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder and sport-tuned suspension, the GLI might give its upscale cousin, the Audi A4, a run for its money. Combining the best value, efficiency and fun-to-drive dynamics are models equipped with the new 1.8-liter turbocharged-4 and TDI clean-diesel models. The former feels like a baby GLI, especially with a manual transmission, while the diesel models have loads of torque for quick off-the-line acceleration. Like other Jetta models, the Hybrid version is surprisingly agile. Its combination of a small turbocharged engine and electric motor deliver peppy acceleration while returning up to 48 mpg. Our main gripe with the Hybrid is its brake feel, which "grabs" too abruptly when pressing the pedal as part of its energy-regeneration system.
TDI DIESEL MODELS
Volkswagen is among the German automakers continuing to prove that today's diesel engines are nothing like the sooty, sputtering versions of the past. The 2.0-liter turbodiesel available in the Jetta sedan and SportWagen – mated to an automatic or manual transmission – has power to spare and fuel economy of up to 42 mpg.
NEW TURBOCHARGED GASOLINE ENGINE
No doubt we love the Jetta GLI, but its $25,000 starting price isn't for every budget. With the introduction of VW's new 1.8-liter 4-cylinder, Jetta buyers can now have similar turbocharged fun in models starting under $20,000. On top of that, the new powerplant delivers up to 36 mpg.
For a compact car, the 5-passenger 2014 Jetta has ample interior space. Especially notable is the amount of legroom in the rear seats and the trunk space. At 15.5 cubic feet, the sedan's trunk is in a higher league, and when you need even more room the rear seats fold. Space is a big attribute of the SportWagen, too, which boasts an SUV-like 66.9 cubic feet with the seats folded. Design-wise, the Jetta's interior could be called "minimalist-chic." You won't find the latest technology, but you also won't be confused by a thousand buttons. Tuning the radio is easy, as is setting the temperature.Exterior
The latest Jetta is stylishly conservative compared to such design-focused competitors as the Mazda3, Hyundai Elantra and even the 2014 Corolla. Indeed, compared to the many entrants in this segment, it's the Jetta and Chevrolet Cruze dressed as the adults at the dinner party. Is that appealing? Depends whether you're more Josh Groban or Bruno Mars. If you're in the camp of the former, you'll like the Jetta's clean lines that we expect to age well. GLI versions increase the excitement level with a honeycomb grille, 17-inch alloy wheels, smoked taillights and dual exhaust tips. SportWagen models continue with their rounded look.
Spend the very least on a 2014 VW Jetta S, and you'll get basics like air conditioning, power windows/doors/mirrors, keyless entry, 15-inch steel wheels, and an AM/FM/CD audio unit with auxiliary input. Spend roughly $2,000 more for an SE model and you'll not only get a great engine, but cruise control, Leatherette interior with heated front seats and 6-speaker sound system with iPod adapter. SportWagen models come with Bluetooth, cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel and 8-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with auxiliary input. Complimentary maintenance still comes with the Jetta, but it has been reduced by a year and 12,000 miles to two years/24,000 miles.
Aside from a 6-speed automatic transmission, most extras in the 2014 Jetta are had by climbing trims. Among them are sunroof, navigation system, VW's new Car-Net connectivity service, push-button start, touch-screen radio, power driver's seat and rearview camera. At around $30,000, top-line GLI and Hybrid models bring sparkling bi-xenon headlights, automatic climate control and Fender premium audio system. SportWagen models can be had with a panoramic sunroof.
Five engines are offered among the 2014 Jetta sedan and SportWagen. Used only on base sedans is an underwhelming 4-cylinder connected to a 5-speed manual transmission or 6-speed automatic with sport mode. You can move up a trim to obtain VW's zesty new 1.8-liter turbocharged-4, also connected to a 5-speed manual or 6-speed auto. GLI models use the most powerful engine in the lineup, a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that makes 210 horsepower, 10 more than last year. Its transmission choices are 6-speed manual or 6-speed auto. Hybrids employ a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder and electric motor, and 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Like the GLI, hybrid models require premium fuel. The efficient TDI models use a 2.0-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder connected to a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic. The SportWagen continues with the 2.5-liter 5-cylinder or the 2.0-liter turbodiesel.
115 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
125 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/34 mpg (manual), 23/29 mpg (automatic)
1.8-liter turbocharged inline-4
170 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
184 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/36 mpg (manual), 25/36 mpg (automatic)
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (GLI only)
210 horsepower @ 5,300 rpm
207 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/33 mpg (manual), 24/32 mpg (automatic)
2.0-liter turbodiesel inline-4
140 horsepower @ 4,000 rpm
236 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 30/42 mpg (manual, sedan and SportWagen), 30/42 mpg (automatic, sedan), 29/39 mpg (auto, SportWagen)
1.4-liter turbocharged inline-4 plus electric motor
170 horsepower (combined)
184 lb-ft of torque (combined) @ 1,000-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 42/48 mpg
2.5-liter inline-5 (SportWagen only)
170 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
177 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/33 mpg (manual), 23/30 mpg (automatic)
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) range can turn a Jetta into a sub-$18,000 economy car or a $30,000-plus sedan with features and performance nearing that of an entry-level luxury car. The Hybrid models range from about $28,000 to over $32,000. Those seeking a fuel-sipper can opt for a TDI diesel model, starting around $24,000. The roomier Jetta SportWagen starts around $21,600 and runs to nearly $30,000. In lower trims, the Jetta is in good company with the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Mazda3, Chevrolet Cruze and Subaru Impreza, but can't quite reach the lower starting prices of the Nissan Sentra, Dodge Dart and Kia Forte. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Jetta. In terms of predicted resale value, the VW Jetta's is expected to be marginal to good, with diesels faring the best and hybrid models the worst.
By Alex on Saturday, March 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,600overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "0 percent finance for 60 months"
Cons: "HIGH cost of ownership."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"This requires 91 octane gasoline. Which is not sold in the US. On the advice of my salesman, we put 89 octane. My valves are now "dirty", and require a $1000.00 to $700.00. Based on my internet research, this is normal for this car."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Grandpa Bill on Thursday, February 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I am a grandpa in my 60s but I love cars and have owned many brands and styles including sports and convertibles. The Jetta TDI with the manual shift I have is fantastic. It is quick and nimble because it is light and has the turbo and the manual and it is actually fun to drive. But it is still a four door family car. I haul grandkids and there is plenty of room for three in rear; the trunk is huge about 15+ cu.ft- and the seats fold down, you can put big long stuff in there. I have Nav, Blue tooth, leather, good sound, power driver's seat, all for about $26k. I love BMW 3 series, but this car is 1/2 the price and a great value. But main reason for owning this car is the mileage. On diesel (yes it costs more) I get 30mpg combined and 40+ highway. I fill up a couple times a month and can go 450-500 miles on a tank."
By Chuck on Sunday, February 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great value"
Cons: "Slightly rough ride"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Quicker than it looks especially in sport mode, disappointed it's not 4wheel disc although brakes are more than adequate huge trunk interior well laid out"
By Shotgun on Wednesday, February 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fuel mileage, 6 speed transmission, OK performance"
Cons: "OK performance"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Fuel mileage is great. Summer in combination of city and highway is always right around 45mpg. Winter - due to reformulated diesel fuel - is at about 42. Minimal maintenance and great dependability to date. My brother-in-law owns an earlier year's version and recommended it to me. Couldn't be much happier. Acceleration could be a bit better but I consider it a reasonable trade off for the great fuel mileage. I regularly cruse at 70/75 with no issues about stability or drift; obviously made for the autobahn. I'd love to own (and be able to afford the gas) a 1969 Dodge Charger with a 440 but given the realities of the day, this is an excellent choice."
By Pick251 on Thursday, January 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 63,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "See review!"
Cons: "Lacking AWD & 8 spd. DSG"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've owned this car for nearly three and a half years, and, although there have been some relatively minor issues here and there, I think this is an excellent car on many levels. Given the complexity of the engine and transmission, as well as many other attributes, I think this car offers a great deal of value for the money. It is beautifully designed and thought out. Furthermore, it blows away the competition in fuel mileage. It does better in the city than advertised and on occasion even on the highway, depending on various factors. Of course the Prius V does well and has almost as much room, but has nowhere near as much torque, which is very evident in the summer in hilly terrain with the car packed full of wife and children and the accompanying accouterments. My personal best in this car is 44 on the highway, and it regularly returns about 32 in the city. Overall, I'd say it averages around 37-38mpg. This is based on miles driven divided by fuel burned, and not the computed figure given on the instrument panel. It would be nice if the car were a little wider and the rear seats were a bit roomier. It would really be outstanding if VW offered the Passat All-Track TDI Sportwagen here! Anyway, I find it astonishing that there are people out there who cant or wont give this car its do. It has plenty of power for the intended application, and I've had no issues with it in the snow. The OEM Continentals were excellent, and my current set of Michelin MXM4 Primacy may only be marginally better. Bottom line... if you love Diesel efficiency and torque, combined with a relatively sporty handling, plenty of cargo space, and beautiful lines, then you'll appreciate this car."
8 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By Joe on Wednesday, January 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Driving Dynamics is very good"
Cons: "Poor quality such remote and bluetooth"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"CAR WAS PURCHASED AT THE END OF NOV, 2013 AT THREE COUNTY VOLKSWAGEN IN NJ. TWO ISSUES WERE NOTICED THE NEXT DAY: (1) REMOTE ONLY WORKS VERY CLOSE TO THE CAR. (LESS THAN 10 FT) (2) BLUETOOTH AUDIO STREAMING FUNCTION NEVER WORK PROPERLY MORE THAN 10MINS. CAR WAS SENT TO DEALER AT DEC 30. I WAS TOLD FEW DAYS LATER: A) NEW PART NEED TO BE ORDERED AND HAD NO IDEA HOW LONG SHOULD I WAIT; B)MORE THAN 12 PEOPLE WERE IN THE WAITING LIST FOR THE BACKUP CAR. I HAD NO CHOICE BUT TOOK MY CAR BACK SINCE I NEED A CAR TO COMMUTE. AROUND JAN. 10, I WAS TOLD NEW PART WAS RECEIVED AND CAR WAS SENT TO DEALER AGAIN. FEW DAYS LATER I WAS TOLD ISSUES WERE NOT SOLVED AFTER REPLACING THE PART AND FURTHER ASSISTANCE WAS NEEDED FROM VOLKSWAGEN. I WAS TOLD THE ASSISTANCE FROM VOLKSWAGEN STILL DID NOT SOLVE THE PROBLEM AND ‘OTHER KIND’ OF FURTHER ASSISTANCE WAS NEEDED FROM VOLKSWAGEN AT JAN. 16. I HAD TO WAIT LONGER. I WAS TOLD ‘OTHER KIND’ OF FURTHER ASSISTANCE FROM VOLKSWAGEN DID NOT SOLVE THE PROBLEM NEITHER AND THE DEALER HAD NO IDEA WHAT THEY CAN DO EXCEPT WAITING. I HAD NO CHOICE BUT TOOK MY CAR BACK AGAIN. TILL NOW, THE CAR HAS BEEN IN DEALER MORE THAN 3 WEEKS WHICH I ONLY HAD OWNED THIS CAR 8 WEEKS, AND THESE ISSUES ARE STILL THERE."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful