Few small cars have the following of the Volkswagen Jetta, one of the company's best-selling models in the United States. The name, says VW, refers to the Atlantic jetstream, "combined with the luxury and power of a modern jetliner." For much of the Jetta's recent history, this small sedan and wagon has appealed to buyers with its upscale design and strong turbocharged engines. The latest Jetta steps away from this approach somewhat -- it's now cheaper but less distinctive -- but new or used, the Jetta should be a solid pick.
Current Volkswagen Jetta
The Volkswagen Jetta is VW's more affordable sedan. There are five trim levels available: base, S, SE, SEL and TDI. The base car is a stripper that doesn't even come with air-conditioning. As such, you'll likely want the S, which includes power/heated side mirrors, power door locks, air-conditioning and keyless entry. Both of these lower trims are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces a wheezy 115 horsepower. Stepping up to the SE and SEL trims gets you a more desirable 2.5-liter five-cylinder good for 170 hp.
Besides the engine, these upper trims have access to more standard and optional features like heated front seats, Bluetooth and an iPod interface. The TDI, which is equipped similarly to the SE, features a 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder that is 50-state compliant and produces 140 hp and impressive fuel economy. A six-speed manual or Volkswagen's DSG dual-clutch automated manual transmission are available.
In reviews, we haven't been overly impressed with the current VW Jetta. While cheaper than before, it's also less distinctive, offering little more than a ho-hum driving experience and a merely average interior design. If you're the kind of shopper who values getting the most stuff for your money, then this new Jetta will certainly appeal. Furthermore, the TDI version offers respectable performance along with real-world, near 40 mpg fuel economy. However, if you previously liked the Jetta for its upscale persona, this latest model will likely disappoint.
Read the most recent 2014 Volkswagen Jetta review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Volkswagen Jetta page.