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 JIMMY on Sunday, July 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,121overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "FUEL MILEAGE, FUN TO DRIVE"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I DRIVE 104 MILES A DAY, THIS CAR GETS THE BEST FUEL MILEAGE, IT AVERAGES 48 TO 53 MILES PER GAL EVERY DAY, I FILL UP ONCE A WEEK WITH AROUND 12 GAL OF DIESEL AND DRIVE UNTILL NEXT WEEK I BOUGHT THE TOP OF THE LINE JETTA,IT HAS A FENDER SOUND SYSTEM, I CANT SAY ENOUGH ABOUT HOW NICE THIS CAR IS,LOTS OF POWER, I WILL BUY ANOTHER WHEN THIS ONES WEARS OUT , IT WILL BE AWHILE"
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By FLJettaOwner on Wednesday, July 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "good solid car for the money"
Cons: "road noise and bumps"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I basically love my Jetta, in spite of its flaws. On the positive side, it feels solid and is roomy and comfortable. My model doesn't have all the bells and whistles, but there are enough for me. I have had zero problems with this car. It handles well enough for me in my daily driving, but can be a little rough going over a bumpy road. My main complaint is the road noise. Also, those black leatherette seats get hot as fire in the summertime. They've taken some mistreatment (spills, mud) but clean up easily and still look great. However, I highly recommend getting some kind of seat covers or cushions since they can toast your bootie when you get in after the car has been sitting in the FL sun for a while."
7 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By VWTurbo on Tuesday, July 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "MPG, Fun to drive, Solid, Safe"
Cons: "Infotainment, Poor interior quality, Road noise"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I have had this car for 10 months and drive approx 100 miles per day. The car drives great and the turbo makes a huge difference on the highway when passing. I have been a little disappointed with the interior quality. VW chosen to replace a lot of the soft touch materials I had in my 08 Jetta and replaced them with lower quality hard touch plastics. The car feels cheaper on the inside than previous VWs I have owned. On the plus side this is the best driving Jetta I have owned and I get great gas mileage. I have average 34 in mixed driving and have hit 40+ on the highway. The seats are comfortable but I do begin to notice some firmness after an hour of driving. The car handles great and for the price I have not found a better driving car. The car could use a better bluetooth system and better sound system."
10 people out of 19 found this review helpful
By shop74 on Tuesday, July 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "big trunk and backseat, heated leather seats"
Cons: "no sunroof and no automatic headlights"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have had Hyundai, Acuras, Volvos and Lexus before this and I am very happy with this car. I will be buying VW from now on. It is a fun car to drive and big. We have 2 little children and no problem on back seat. The trunk is huge took all our stuff to beach trip with no problem. The pickup is great on the 2.5 5 Cylinder engine. I wish I had the sunroof and automatic headlights on my SE but that is all that is missing"
By Pennsylvania on Sunday, June 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, good sound system"
Cons: "Endless ridiculous repairs"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I bought a 2011 VW Jetta SE sedan in November 2012. It had roughly 12,000 miles. Within weeks, service lights went off periodically. The tire light went off, the check engine/get service lights went off. The horn stopped working and needed to be replaced. Then, the driver's side door handle simply failed to work. The door would not open. When I finally opened it, the door would not latch closed again. In addition, when it hit any temperature below 32 degrees F, the doors would freeze shut (no precipitation necessary). I would eventually get a rear door open and have to crawl through the vehicle to get into the driver's seat. Then, my radio mysteriously stopped working. I had to take this car to the dealer a number of times to fix ridiculous problems like this. It has been a continuous disappointment. This car is HORRENDOUS in the snow. The worst ever. Outside of those issues, it has Bluetooth, heated seats, good pickup, and a good sound system. The controls to the music and phone are on the wheel, which makes for safe, hands-free driving. The car has good leg room in the front and good back support. Unfortunately, the random repairs far outweigh the benefits of my nearly-new VW Jetta. I am looking to trade it in ASAP."
16 people out of 29 found this review helpful
By Jereme on Monday, June 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "great car for a good value TDI has amazing mileage"
Cons: "missing auto temperature setting"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought my Jetta for the impressive mileage and have almost always had better gas mileage than the sticker suggested. The ride is very comfortable for the long trips, we drive everywhere, and still enjoyable. The navigation system is out of date and can only be updated through VW which is not good. And I wish it had an automatic temperature setting inside, my wife's Subaru has this. But other than those minor things this is the best car I have ever owned and I will continue to support VW for many years."
7 people out of 13 found this review helpful