I bought this car with less than 20 miles on it when I traded in my 2002 1.8T Jetta GLS with a 5 speed manual. I just passed the the 73,000 mark, and haven't had any reliability. Unlike my old one, my current Jetta does have plastic trim on the doors and trunk hinges that rob trunk space, neither are the end of the world. It also isn't quite as fun to drive. It does, however, have a great build quality and provides a better overall driving experience. The seats are more comfortable, and there is little more refinement in handling which more than makes up for the slightly less sporty feel. Both mean I can drive longer without feeling fatigued. The manual gearbox feels just like my old one, but with one extra gear. It is still fun to drive and more so than any other hybrid or diesel in its class (according to car magazine reviews). Before I had the emissions fix, which only had a slight impact on my fuel economy, I was averaging close to 50 miles per gallon in warm weather with mostly highway driving without even trying. If it was pure highway driving in warm weather I could get above 50. The cabin and trunk are larger than my old Jetta, and it looks and feels more like a mid-sized car than a compact. On the occasions when I carry more than one other person, there is a lot less complaining about space. At $25,000, what other car is as fun to drive, spacious and fuel efficient my Jetta? The interior and exterior styling has been criticized by many, but I actually like it better than its competitors. It is understated and doesn't scream "look at me" like a narcissistic teenager. As for creature comforts, it still has an impressive Fender audio system, Bluetooth, heated seats, sunroof, rear view camera, heated outside mirrors, and a soft touch dashboard. I don't need all of the other "techy" stuff. If I were to do it again, I'd by the same car. I'm sold on VW for life. The only reason I didn't give it five stars is because of two slight, intermittent noises: a squeaky noise when the air conditioning fan is set to "2" and a rattle in the dashboard. The latter may or may not have arisen after I hit a deer a few years ago.
2014 Volkswagen Jetta Diesel TDI Value Edition 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6M)
Performance: 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.
Comfort: 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: 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.
Safety: Competitive and reassuring. Curtain airbags. Car traction control cannot be switched off. Previously stated, hill-start assist is a help with the manual transmission.
Technology. 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).
Value: 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.
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.
Still has a few hard-touch plastics on the doors. Would like led headlights and taillights to be standard. Is it really that expensive to offer a hybrid-diesel powertrain like is in the vw xl-1? Seems like that would help the city mpg and is something that wouldn't be all that crazy to offer.
Update: If you prefer buying cars from backstabbing, bait-and-switch, lying, cheating criminals, this car is for you. Did we take part in the buy back? Yes. Were we fairly compensated for the car? Sure. Will we ever trust Volkswagen again? No way. Nice driving cars, terrible company.
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