Spacious backseat and big trunk deliver the roominess of a big sedan with the footprint of a compact car. Four-cylinder engines are fun and fuel-efficient. Tech interface, touchscreen and navigation are fully featured and intuitive to operate.
Handling and performance are just average. Interior trim and materials feel subpar compared to competitors. It's pricier than some rivals. GLI model wants to be a high-performance car but is just sporty.
Looking for a sedan with generous interior space and a range of lively engines? The 2017 Volkswagen Jetta might be a good match. Here's a quick rundown of what we like, what we don't and the bottom line from the Edmunds editors.
JOSH SADLIER: This is automotive editor Josh Sadlier with an Edmunds Expert Rundown of the 2017 Volkswagen Jetta. The 2017 Jetta is notable, because Volkswagen has finally done away with that strange proprietary electronics interface. Now there's just a USB port. And that's how it should be. So that's good news. The Jetta also continues to have a remarkably large back seat for this segment. Technically, it competes against cars like the Civic and the Corolla, so we call it a small sedan, except it's not. Really more of a mid-size. But the Jetta's always been a tough one for us to evaluate. On the plus side, it's got great power trains, three turbocharged engines, starting with a 1.4 that's just fine in the base models, 1.8 in the mid-range, which is even better, and then a 2-liter turbo in the GLI that you see here. It's actually a carryover from the previous generation GTI. And it's a gem. It's smooth and strong and everything you'd want at this price. But then you step inside and this is the rest of the story. Now, we mentioned the big back seat. And there it is. This really competes pretty well with some cars in the family sedan segment. So if you're looking for a roomy car in the small car class, the Jetta's pretty much the best. But if you look at the materials quality, that's where the Jetta really falls off, especially relative to Volkswagen's historical norms. The door panels are all hard plastic. Feel hollow when you rap your knuckles on them. There's just a sense that Volkswagen cut a few too many costs in here, especially given the company's reputation for quality in the past. The bottom line is that if you're looking for something German in this class, there's only one option and it's the Jetta. And it's fundamentally a pretty good car. But we just can't escape that kind of smarmy feeling, like they cheaped out on us. Hopefully, next time around, we'll see a better Jetta out of VW. For more Edmunds Expert Rundowns, click the link to subscribe.