2014 Volkswagen Jetta Review
2014 Volkswagen Jetta Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Spacious interior and trunk
- smooth ride quality
- good fuel economy and performance from turbocharged engines.
- Weak, inefficient base engine
- high price of diesel-powered TDI
- spotty interior quality.
The big news for the 2014 Jetta is its new 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine, which replaces the underwhelming five-cylinder that powered the Jetta for many years. There's also a handful of equipment updates, including a standard independent rear suspension, an available rearview camera and VW Car-Net telematics.
The Volkswagen Jetta is a pleasantly roomy sedan, and improvements for 2014, including a new turbocharged gas engine, have made it more appealing.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.11 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$136/mo for Jetta Base
Avg. Midsize Car
It took a while, but the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta is finally starting to feel like, well, a Jetta. That wasn't the case in 2011, when the current, made-for-America Jetta debuted. Its rock-hard plastic dashboard, reduced amenities, inferior rear drum brakes and basic semi-independent rear suspension were all notable downgrades from the previous, relatively upscale Jetta.
The idea, of course, was to make VW's venerable small sedan more affordable, but we felt Volkswagen had gone too far. Formerly a top pick among our editors, the Jetta quickly became an afterthought, even as it reached unprecedented sales heights. Like a hollow Hollywood blockbuster, the car was a commercial success but a critical failure.
To Volkswagen's credit, things have improved since. Although the cheap dashboard persists on SE models and below, a soft-touch dash is now standard in the SEL and TDI models. Four-wheel disc brakes have been standard since last year, while a more sophisticated fully independent rear suspension (previously exclusive to the GLI) is now the standard setup for 2014. Under the hood, a new turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine supplants the previous five-cylinder engine, bringing with it superior acceleration, fuel economy and overall refinement.
Other positive attributes are still here for the Jetta as well. Its spacious rear seat and trunk are more accommodating than the interior quarters in other top sedans in this class. And for many shoppers, the diesel TDI engine continues to be a draw as well. It's perhaps less appealing than it once was -- it's expensive, and the new 1.8-liter gas engine is nearly as efficient -- but it still does provide some of the best fuel economy and cruising range you'll find outside of a dedicated hybrid.
That said, there are other 2014 models that deserve your attention. The Ford Focus and redesigned Mazda 3 are nicer on the inside, and are also more fun to drive. Consider, too, the Hyundai Elantra, which promises distinctive style, quality and fuel economy for less coin. If it's fuel economy you're after, the Chevrolet Cruze, with its Eco and new Diesel models, is a very good pick, as is the Honda Civic Hybrid (or even the Jetta Hybrid).
Overall, though, we do feel the 2014 VW Jetta merits consideration alongside segment leaders, which is something we haven't been able to say for a while. It may not be the nicest Jetta ever, but in this price range, its roomy cabin and diverse engine lineup are tough to beat.
Performance & mpg
The 2014 Volkswagen Jetta Base and S trims come with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 115 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 27 mpg combined (24 mpg city/32 mpg highway) with the automatic and 28 mpg combined (24 mpg city/34 mpg highway) with the manual.
The Jetta SE and SEL upgrade to a new 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that cranks out 170 hp and 184 lb-ft. The SE gets the same transmission choices as the lower trims, while the SEL is automatic-only. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 30 mpg combined (26 mpg city/36 mpg highway) with the manual and 29 mpg combined (25 mpg city/36 mpg highway) with the automatic.
The Jetta TDI features a turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel four-cylinder that produces 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual is standard and a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission (known as DSG) is optional. In Edmunds performance testing, a DSG-equipped Jetta TDI hustled from zero to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds. With either transmission, estimated fuel economy stands at an excellent 34 mpg combined (30 mpg city/42 mpg highway).
The 2014 VW Jetta comes standard with traction and stability control, antilock disc brakes, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. A rearview camera is included in SEL and TDI models. VW's new Car-Net telematics system, standard from SE with Connectivity on up, includes automatic crash notification, roadside assistance, remote vehicle access, stolen vehicle location and geo-fencing (which allows parents to set boundaries for teenage drivers). A Car-Net smartphone app lets owners control many of these functions on the go.
In government crash tests, the Jetta earned a rating of five stars overall, with four stars for front crash tests and rollover protection and five stars for total side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Jetta its best possible rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests. In the IIHS's new small-overlap frontal-offset test, the Jetta posted a "Marginal" rating (second worst of four), though most cars the IIHS has tested for small-overlap posted similarly mediocre ratings.
In Edmunds brake testing, a Jetta TDI stopped from 60 to zero mph in 128 feet, which is a little longer than average for this class of car.
When it comes time to pick an engine for the 2014 VW Jetta, the base 2.0-liter should be avoided, as it's seriously underpowered and returns subpar fuel economy. The new 1.8-liter turbo four-cylinder is the one to get, as this genuinely engaging mill is blessed with power, refinement and everyday docility. The automatic transmission executes smooth, well-timed shifts, too.
The Volkswagen Jetta TDI still gets you the best fuel economy, and its ample torque makes it seem more powerful around town than the horsepower spec suggests. More demanding drivers might prefer the manual transmission on the TDI model, because the DSG transmission exhibits a delayed response to gas pedal inputs when left in its normal Drive mode. Most owners get used to this behavior in time, though, and once you're on the move, the DSG provides quicker downshifts than you'd get with a conventional automatic transmission.
One thing that hasn't changed about the Jetta over the years is its solid, substantial feel on the road. The smooth ride quality is ideal for both rough city streets and long trips on the highway. Around turns, the Volkswagen Jetta is not especially sporty, but it's steady and its steering is precise. Small sedans like the Focus and Mazda 3 are significantly more fun to drive, though.
While the 2014 Jetta has one of the least exciting interiors in its class, some might interpret this as tasteful restraint. Whereas rivals may use various curves, angles and textures to catch your eye, the Jetta just gives you simple, straightforward gauges and a no-nonsense control layout. The controls generally feel substantial and well-damped, which unfortunately makes the numerous hard, coarse plastic panels seem even more incongruous. At least a soft-touch dashboard has trickled down as far as the SEL and TDI models.
What the Jetta loses in finer details, though, it tries to make up for with interior space and features. The backseat is large enough for full-size adults to ride in comfort, which cannot be said of the Focus, for example, and the 15.5-cubic-foot trunk is one of the roomiest you'll find in this class. We also like the available touchscreen stereo interface and its redundant dial knob, which is ideal for controlling a portable music player. The associated navigation system, however, is a bit of a letdown due to the small screen and limited amount of display information.
2014 Volkswagen Jetta models
The 2014 Volkswagen Jetta is a midsize sedan available in Base, S, SE, SEL and TDI trim levels. The Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen is reviewed separately, as are the Jetta Hybrid and the performance-oriented GLI.
The stick-shift-only Base model, which is technically available but must be special-ordered from the dealer, comes with a 2.0-liter engine, 15-inch steel wheels, power windows, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, height-adjustable front seats, cloth upholstery, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat and a four-speaker CD sound system with an auxiliary audio jack.
The Jetta S adds power heated side mirrors, keyless entry, air-conditioning, a trip computer, an optional automatic transmission, power door locks and a front-seat center armrest.
The Jetta SE steps up to the 1.8-liter turbo engine, electric power steering, 16-inch steel wheels, body-color exterior mirrors, cruise control, leatherette (premium vinyl) upholstery, two-way power front seats, a rear-seat center armrest, a trunk pass-through, and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio and an iPod interface.
The SE with Connectivity adds 16-inch alloy wheels, heated washer nozzles, heated front seats with driver lumbar adjustment, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and Car-Net telematics. The SE with Connectivity and Sunroof adds (you guessed it) a sunroof, plus keyless entry/ignition and an upgraded sound system with a touchscreen interface and SD memory-card reader.
The SEL includes all the SE's optional equipment, plus 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a soft-touch dashboard, a rearview camera, a six-way power driver seat, a touchscreen navigation system and an eight-speaker Fender premium sound system.
The Jetta TDI with its turbocharged diesel engine is equipped similarly to an SE with Connectivity, but it adds different 16-inch alloys and the soft-touch dashboard. Choosing the TDI with Premium nabs the sunroof, rearview camera and Fender sound system with touchscreen interface. When equipped with the optional navigation system, the TDI also gets 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, the six-way power driver seat and keyless ignition/entry.
3.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
4 out of 5 stars
great car for the Price
Marc Cadwell, 02/20/2015
2014 Volkswagen Jetta 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
Bought this car as a come on from newspaper ad. $13599 0% financing. It is exactly what I wanted and got. Underpowered? Yes! Bells & whistles? No. Basic affordable transportation? Yes! If you want more upgrade!!! HWY mpg 41 @ 75mph in town 27 mpg. Don't dog this car you can't make it faster, it is what it is. I love it. No problems great dealer and service department. UPDATE 8-20-17 the … car is still as described above with the usual parking lot road wear and tear. No problems. Snow tires added this year, what a difference they make. No squeaks or rattles. Overall I'm pleased with the Jetta S but I knew what I was buying. UPDATE 2-21-18 I've still not had a problem with the Jetta, I occasionally use it driving for a nationally recognized ride share company and half the riders are surprised at the quietness and comfort of the ride. Still very pleased with the car.UPDATE 8-22-18 Still pleased with the Jetta. No mechanical or electrical problems, I've only had the oil changed regularly. New tires coming up soon. 10/10/18 New tires in October, changed cabin and engine air filter, New plugs and wires, all were recommend maintenance. Body and electrical still have no problems. Recently on a long highway trip of 700 miles round trip averaged 45 mpg!!! Love the car still. 8/22/19 I haven't put many miles on since last update. Everything's the same as before. Regular maintenance done, nothing has worn out, the body integrity still good. It's been a good car for basic transportation. I still enjoy driving it and plan to keep it running a long while. 8/22/20 not much has changed with my Jetta I've only had to have regular maintenance done, new tires are coming soon. I've only driven 400 miles since early February total mileage now 64000. 2/242021 mileage 67000. Everything else is same as previously reported. New tires and wiper blades in November. Original brakes, shocks/struts, battery still working fine. No rust or paint issues. Still the basic transportation I bought it for.
5 out of 5 stars
Still A Great Value
2014 Volkswagen Jetta SE 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
I now have 57,000 miles on my Jetta. I still haven't had any major mechanical problems. The only issue was a burned out light bulb on one of the daytime running lights that occurred several thousand miles ago. That has been the only thing so far. Mileage in and around town continues to be about 32 - 33 mpg. My best highway mileage is 43 mpg. The 1.8 TSI engine still does not use any oil … and has lots of power. I have used synthetic oil from the beginning and change it every 5000 miles. The interior (and trunk) is very roomy and comfortable. The ride is quiet and smooth. My wife's 2016 Jetta S has had no issues either and now has over 30,000 miles.
5 out of 5 stars
The best car I ever drove as a commuter
2014 Volkswagen Jetta 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
It's the 2014 S model, 5 speed manual 2.0 L no thrills version of this vehicle. Paid $18,600 new. Because it's a manual, it actually is quite spirited even though it only has 115 horse power and not sure about torque, but it's a little rocket considering. It has now 70,000 miles on it and I do my own maintenance. Car has had no issues. It's assembled in Mexico, so quality of build … will be different from anything coming from Wolfsburg, Germany, but it's working great and overall good. I am sure I have the cheapest interior, but it's holding up. I am not an oversized XXXXL individual either, so I can't wear out the springs haha. So if you are a normal build person, the car holds up. My mileage is probably around the mid 30's, not bad. Wasn't worth for me to get the TDI, which I owned before this one. Couldn't justify the more cost of a Diesel at the time of purchase in Oct 2013. It looks sharp for what it is and the trunk space is amazingly roomy. 09-22-18 update: 154,000 miles and going strong. changed sparkplugs and cables @140,000 miles myself because i forgot at 100,000 miles. never had a problem with this car, never got stuck, no mechanical or electric issues. only driving headlight lamps (low beam) need replacement often in hot Texas. I pop the hood after coming home to let hot air escape engine compartment. nothing special. keep fluids in order, dont overfill. car is reliable and robust. This may be by far the most troublefree vehicle I ever owned.
4.63 out of 5 stars
Chris Ellzey, 03/30/2015
2014 Volkswagen Jetta S 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
I live in the mountains of So Cal this car pulls the mountain just fine it averages 28 mies per gallon overall.It has 29000 miles and has only seen the shop for oil changes.I am totaly satisfied with this car. This is no sports car so dont complain if you want more pay for it and quit complaining.
2014 Jetta Highlights
|Combined MPG||28 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$136/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver4 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover11.1%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestMarginal
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood