KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 11/15/2013
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.
You'll Like This Car If...
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.
You May Not Like This Car If...
The sub-$18,000 price of the base Jetta S sedan is tempting, but that model still uses an anemic engine and lacks the features found in comparably priced versions of the Kia Forte, Hyundai Elantra or Mazda3. If all-wheel drive is a must, look to the Subaru Impreza.
What's New for 2014
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.
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 vehicle details and pricing notes…