With an old-school 8 valve 2.0 naturally aspirated 4 cylinder, you're not really going anywhere with a zip. Important: If you're living in the mountains you should avoid this trim and opt for a turbocharged engine. At only 5,000 feet your power output will be less than 98 horsepower. Go up to 8,000' and you're at 88 horsepower. I drove the car from sea level to the top of Pike's Peak (14,100') and at max altitude the engine is bogged down to a MAXIMUM of 67 horsepower. That's at its peak mind you. You're not going to be happy if you live in the mountains, I can guarantee it. No matter, at lower elevations it is bearable but you still do a lot of downshifting when there's an incline. You do get used to it after awhile to a degree. Put 2-4 passengers in the car and/or a trunk full of items and it does tend to become a snail with wheels though. Also, when the car is fully loaded there is absolutely no pep or overtaking power to speak of. The mud-flaps tend to touch the ground when you go over large bumps while driving if you've got passengers. Steering is responsive and easy, the vehicle handles satisfactorily in all weather and conditions. The ride is of good quality. I have had to take the car to the dealership more than once because of rocks getting stuck in the brake components due to infrequent gravel roads to go to visit family. This caused an unpleasant rattling and grinding sound while maneuvering the vehicle. Hill start assist for a manual is a plus.
As previously stated the ride quality is good for an inexpensive car. It isn't a spongy ride like many economy cars have. The seats are decently supportive and manually adjustable for height which is a plus for a car like this and adds to the comfort. I have driven the car on multi-state road trips and have no issues with the seat comfort. A/C is efficient in 90 degree weather and Heat is HOT when you need it.
Interior is cheap but well appointed. For a base car it does the trick. No frills, but there is an AUX port which is nice. Dash is hard plastic. The shifter and gauge cluster/steering wheel is attractive and tidy looking. The gauges are photosensitive during day driving and will dim/lighten up based on the ambient light in the car. The trunk is big for a small sedan. Folding rear seats too. 12v plug in the back seat. Car has MPG, Ext. Temp, and various other instruments that you can switch to with a small button on the wiper switch.
Competitive and reassuring. Curtain airbags. Car traction control cannot be switched off. Previously stated, hill-start assist is a help with the manual transmission.
The tech in this car is OK. The sound system quality is so-so if you like to jam out. If you have the window down and the radio up (not stupidly loud, but loud enough to hear over the wind) the sound can appear distorted because of the low quality speakers. No Bluetooth. The gauges do not have temp or oil gauges but offer MPG/Speed/Temp etc. which is good. Radio head unit is decent quality, offers AUX port and CD player. Heated mirrors are nice.
Brakes have lasted well, no warping after 40,000 miles. Vehicle has not had anything outside of routine maint. besides the issue with rocks stuck in the brakes from a gravel road which was covered under warranty (28,000mi).
Price point is competitive and a decent value. Car came with a full-size spare a road hazard kit (Jumpers, reflective triangles, first aid, poncho etc...). Also came with trunk dividers which often take up space instead of help create organized trunk area. It is nice when you have groceries though because you can corner the milk off so it doesn't roll around in the trunk. Warranty was not competitive (3y, 36,000mi) vs. many similar cars (Mitsubish Lancer, Kia, etc) Resale value is rock bottom so drive it until the wheels fall off.
We have a 2000 jetta tdi that we purchased new, and put over 400k on in the following 14 years...AWESOME car. This new jetta is a bit of a disappointment. It drives and performs fine, although the MPG isn't quite as good as with our previous car (bigger car and bigger engine though). My disappointments come from areas where they have cheapened the build. For example; our 2000 has hidden trunk hinges so you can utilize ALL the trunk space, the new one has big cheap hinge arms that rotate down into the trunk and prevent you from utilizing the entire space. 2000 jetta had a flip down sun visor above the rear view mirror, 2014 does not. 2000 has gas struts to hold up the engine hood,not on new
The car itself is a nice looking car. It drives well, tight steering, plenty of torque, and gets great fuel economy. After 5 separate trips to the dealership, however, I am no longer a fan. Sales experience was also terrible. I was rushed out the door and never recieved an overview of all the features of the vehicle. I have been back to the dealership to have the following addressed on different occasions:
1. Windows wouldn't roll down
2. Windshield was installed improperly at the factory and made noise
3. Horn wouldn't work
4. Back up camera wouldn't work
5. Hazard lights randomly come on at ignition and won't shut off
6. Loud bang followed by glow plug light and check engine lig
Waaaay better than previous vehicle (Honda Insight)
written on 07-05-2015
I used to own a 2010 Jetta SE 2.5 5-cylinder & a 2010 Honda Insight Hybrid, & this car has certainly been the best of both worlds. VW has fixed the previous issues that I had with the remodelled Jetta (most importantly, the IRS) & this car gets the advertised mpg that the TDi claims (42 us hwy mpg is almost dead-on from our 2000+ mile road trip up and down the west coast.) It is such a great road trip car. It has all the power you need to go up hills that our Insight pathetically would cry about and it has great interior/trunk space. The DSG has been the best shifting transmission I've had. A must buy if you are looking for inexpensive/fun to drive/fuel economy. Interior also easy to clean.