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2015 Volkswagen Jetta

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2015 Volkswagen Jetta Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.5

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please be aware that this vehicle's diesel engine is involved in a Notice of Violation of the Clean Air Act issued by the EPA to Volkswagen for producing and selling 4-cylinder diesel cars that include a software device that circumvents EPA emissions standards for certain air pollutants. The EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) determined that these diesel cars emit up to 40 times more pollution than emission standards allow. Recalls, investigations and litigation are currently ongoing.

Long Volkswagen’s best-selling vehicle, the 2015 VW Jetta sedan gets even better this year, offering new styling, an upgraded interior and a number of new safety features including blind-spot detection and forward-collision warning. Along with three gasoline engine choices (including two turbocharged engines), the Jetta also offers a hybrid model and a clean diesel that achieves up to 46 mpg on the highway. With prices ranging from the high teens to the low $30K range, the Jetta takes on a whole slew of compact and midsize sedans, including the venerable Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, the roomier Chevrolet Cruze and Hyundai Elantra, and the sporty Ford Focus, Dodge Dart and Mazda3.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you’re looking for an attractive and economical sedan that excels in the areas of performance, handling and attention to detail, the VW’s Jetta sedan for 2015 should be at the top of your list. The availability of a diesel engine and a manual transmission further the Jetta’s appeal.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you’re looking to get the most from your dollar, the base Jetta doesn’t offer the features and modern engines of its pricier siblings. For $18,000 you’ll get a lot more car in a Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte or Mazda3. Those dealing with snow might prefer the all-wheel-drive security of a Subaru Impreza.

What's New for 2015

For 2015, VW’s Jetta sedan receives new front and rear styling, an upgraded interior and new optional features such as blind-spot warning, front-collision warning, rear cross-traffic alert, bi-xenon headlights and Adaptive Front lighting. An improved 2.0-liter TDI is also new for 2015.

Driving the Jetta
Driving Impressions

The experience behind the 2015 VW Jetta sedan’s steering wheel varies depending on what’s under the hood. The base model’s 2.0-liter engine isn’t very inspiring, but you can opt for...

... the 1.8-liter turbocharged unit that adds a significant boost in power and economy. Those seeking all-out performance will want the GLI’s 2.0-liter turbo with 210 horsepower and a slick 6-speed manual transmission. Of course, the TDI clean diesel is no slouch, not with 236 lb-ft of torque on hand, nor is the Hybrid with its turbocharged 1.4-liter engine and electric assist motor. All Jettas offer excellent road manners, good feedback from the steering and brakes and an ability to round corners without fuss. The GLI offers the best handling, but its ride can be a bit harsh. We actually enjoyed the Jetta TDI and Hybrid trims the most, although the Hybrid’s brakes seemed to grab abruptly due to the regenerative-braking feature.

TDI DIESEL MODELS
VW has been doing diesel longer than any of its competitors, and the current 2.0-liter TDI in the 2015 Jetta is simply the best we’ve tested to date. Far smoother and responsive than the Chevy Cruze diesel, the Jetta TDI’s powerplant will make you wonder why you never considered diesel before.

1.8T TURBOCHARGED GASOLINE ENGINE
The latest turbocharged engine offering in the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta sedan gives near GLI-like acceleration without the big price tag. Best of all, at nearly 36 mpg, there is no real penalty for opting up from the 115-horsepower base engine.

2015 Volkswagen Jetta Details
Interior

For a compact car, the 5-passenger 2015 Jetta sedan by Volkswagen has good interior space, although rear-seat legroom lags behind the Hyundai Elantra and Chevy Cruze. Especially notable is the amount of cargo space behind the rear seat. 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. Design-wise, the Jetta's interior could be called “minimalist-chic.” Advanced technology and a plethora of high-quality materials are laid out in a simple, easy-to-use format devoid of multiple buttons and overly complicated screens.

Exterior

The latest Jetta is stylishly conservative compared to such design-focused competitors as the Mazda3, Hyundai Elantra and even the 2015 Dodge Dart. 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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Spend the very least on VW’s 2015 VW Jetta S, and you'll get basics like air conditioning, power windows/doors/mirrors, keyless entry, 15-inch steel wheels, Bluetooth and an AM/FM/CD audio unit with auxiliary input. Spend roughly $2,000 more for a 1.8T SE model and you'll not only get a great engine, but cruise control, Leatherette interior with heated front seats, push-button start, heated washer nozzles and 6-speaker sound system with iPod adapter. SEL trims bring navigation, power driver’s seat, Fender premium audio, automatic climate control and keyless access and start. Complimentary maintenance is covered for two years/24,000 miles.

Optional Equipment

Aside from a 6-speed automatic transmission, most extras in the 2015 Jetta sedan are had by climbing trims. Among them are sunroof, navigation system, VW's 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. New this year is the Driver Assistance System that includes blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, forward-collision warning and park-distance control.

Under the Hood

Five engines are offered for VW’s 2015 Jetta sedan. Used only on the base S sedan 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 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. Its transmission choices are 6-speed manual or 6-speed auto. The Hybrid employs 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.

2.0-liter inline-4 (Jetta S)
115 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
125 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/34 mpg (manual), 23/34 mpg (automatic)

1.8-liter turbocharged inline-4 (Jetta SE, SEL, Sport)
170 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
184 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/37

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: 23/33 mpg (manual), 24/32 mpg (automatic)

2.0-liter turbodiesel inline-4 (TDI)
150 horsepower @ 3,500 rpm
236 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 31/46 mpg (manual), 31/45 mpg (automatic)

1.4-liter turbocharged inline-4 + electric motor (Jetta Hybrid)
170 horsepower (combined)
184 lb-ft of torque (combined) @ 1,000-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 42/48 mpg

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