HERNDON, Virginia — Volkswagen of America is jumping on the engine-downsizing trend, rolling out a base 2016 Volkswagen Jetta sedan with a new, fuel-efficient 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the automaker said Tuesday.
The engine will be standard equipment on 2016 Jetta S and SE models. The 2016 Jetta will start rolling into Volkswagen dealerships this August.
Volkswagen spokesman Mark Gillies told Edmunds that 2016 Jetta pricing has not been finalized.
"There will be a slight price adjustment," he wrote in response to a query Tuesday.
Gillies also said the new engine "won't be in any other vehicle at the moment."
The new gasoline engine, code named EA211, is fitted with direct injection and uses lightweight aluminum construction. It produces 150 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque and is linked to either a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
The new engine replaces the previous naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder that was used in the Jetta S model and the 1.8T TSI engine in the SE model.
Power output jumps significantly compared to the 2015 Jetta with the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder, an antiquated engine that produced only a meager 115 hp and 125 lb-ft of torque while returning EPA-estimated fuel economy of 23 mpg city/34 mpg highway with an automatic transmission.
The EPA has not posted official fuel-economy numbers on the 2016 Jetta with the new engine, but VW said in a statement that it predicted EPA-estimated highway fuel economy for the new 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine to be 39 mpg with the six-speed automatic transmission.
The uplevel 2016 Jetta SEL and 1.8T Sport models will continue to be equipped with the 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine good for 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. This engine returns 25 mpg city/36 mpg highway with an automatic transmission. The 2016 Jetta TDI model will be equipped with the carryover 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engine that in 2015 returned 31 mpg city/45 mpg highway.
The new, more fuel-efficient Jetta engine debuts at a time when gas prices have dropped significantly compared to a year ago. The AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report on Wednesday pegged the average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline at $2.63, versus $3.49 a year ago.
Edmunds says: Car shoppers who value fuel efficiency are expected to put the base 2016 Volkswagen Jetta sedan at the top of their lists.