2017 Volkswagen Jetta Review

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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • 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

Overall rating

We're still coming to grips with the current evolution of the Volkswagen Jetta. The Jetta of the past signified European refinement and a more sophisticated driving experience than the typical economy car, yet now we encounter an automobile that is all about a big interior package and a small price, as if it were meant to be sold at Costco.

OK, maybe we exaggerate, as Volkswagen has slowly added more features to the Jetta and recalibrated its personality since this car’s introduction. The current Volkswagen Jetta has more cabin and trunk space than its predecessors, not to mention more than some of today's smaller midsize sedans. Yet the Jetta no longer represents a uniquely European interpretation of an affordable five-passenger sedan, and this makes it harder for this Volkswagen to compete with the vastly improved breed of modern compact sedans.

Still, the 2017 Volkswagen Jetta offers some upside. A rearview camera is now standard on all models. Sophisticated driver aids such as blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and adaptive cruise control now show up even on lower-priced trim levels. An updated infotainment system finally includes a USB connection in place of the former setup with its annoying proprietary cable. Finally, the 2017 Jetta's lineup of four-cylinder engines is pretty sweet, and two of the three available engines even offer a manual transmission.

But given the high standards set by compact sedans from other brands, it's hard to overlook the Jetta's bland interior design and similarly bland road manners. Top-rated competitors such as the Ford Focus, Honda Civic and Mazda 3 have copied the playbook of the classic Jetta, combining distinctive styling with a premium-style range of convenience features, not to mention lively handling in some models. We recommend checking them out, and you might even consider the latest four-door, five-passenger VW Golf before settling on the 2017 Volkswagen Jetta.

Every 2017 Volkswagen Jetta comes standard with traction and stability control, antilock disc brakes, a complement of six airbags (front, front-seat side and side curtain), active front head restraints, and a rearview camera. The SE trim level offers blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, while SEL models tack on forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking.

VW's Car-Net telematics system, standard on SE models and 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 received five out of five stars for overall safety, with four stars for total front-impact protection and five stars for total side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Jetta the highest possible crash rating of Good in its moderate-overlap and small-overlap front-impact tests, as well as a Good score in the side-impact, roof strength and seat/head restraint (whiplash protection) tests.

In Edmunds brake testing, a Jetta SE came to a stop from 60 mph in 118 feet, which is better than average.

2017 Volkswagen Jetta models

For 2017, the Volkswagen Jetta is simplified into four trim levels: S, SE, SEL and GLI.

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Standard on the S are 16-inch steel wheels, LED daytime running lights, foglights, air-conditioning, full power accessories, keyless entry, heated side mirrors, cruise control, cloth upholstery, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 60/40-split rear seats, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a four-speaker sound system with a 5-inch touchscreen interface, a CD player, a USB port, and an auxiliary audio jack.

An optional Cold Weather package adds heated front seats and windshield washer nozzles. Sixteen-inch cast aluminum wheels are also optional.

The Jetta SE includes the features as above (minus the foglights), plus 16-inch cast aluminum wheels, a sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, heated washer nozzles, synthetic leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, heated front seats, a rear seat pass-through, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a 6.3-inch touchscreen interface, satellite and HD radio, and Volkswagen's Car-Net App-Connect connected services.

The Jetta SEL builds on the features above (and adds the foglights) with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, chrome exterior accents, rain-sensing wipers, adaptive cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, a six-way power driver seat, a cooled glovebox, a navigation system, a six-speaker audio system, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking.

The GLI is now offered in only one trim level. It comes with most of the features listed above (minus adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning/braking), and adds a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, 18-inch cast aluminum wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, unique exterior styling details (different grille, chrome exhaust tips, rear spoiler, LED taillights), upgraded brakes, front and rear parking sensors, front sport seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a premium nine-speaker Fender audio system with subwoofer. Adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking are two notable deletions, however.

The front-wheel-drive 2017 Volkswagen Jetta offers three engine choices. The S and SE models come with a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder rated at 150 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. This engine is paired with a five-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 32 mpg combined (28 city/38 highway) with the automatic. VW estimates the manual can return 33 mpg combined (28 city/40 highway).

The SEL comes with a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. This engine is paired with a six-speed automatic only, and EPA-estimated fuel economy is 29 mpg combined (25 city/35 highway).

The GLI has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 210 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard; a six-speed dual-clutch automatic (DSG) is optional. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 27 mpg combined (24 city/33 highway) with the automatic. The manual gets 1 mpg worse in the city.


With three engines and three transmissions, the 2017 Volkswagen Jetta has arguably the most appealing powertrain lineup in its class. The 1.8-liter turbo that defines the SEL model is especially impressive, combining lively acceleration, smooth refinement and thrifty fuel economy. Then there's the turbocharged, 210-hp 2.0-liter engine in the GLI, which punches above its weight in real-world driving and induces grins with powerful, torque-laden sprints at almost any rpm.

Yet for all the goodness of the turbocharged 2.0-liter, we’re just not particularly enamored of the GLI that it comes in. If you just want a sportier Jetta, the GLI fits the bill with its more firmly controlled suspension and upgraded, more powerful brakes. But the GLI is far from the Euro-style high-performance car represented by the Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen GTI. More important, the driving performance of the 2017 Jetta GLI doesn’t even measure up to the standard set by the fully optioned versions of the Ford Focus and Mazda 3.

As for lesser Jettas, they prove compliant and comfortable on the highway, and most feel lively and engaging, too. At the same time, the other cars in this class have improved markedly in the last decade, so the Jetta no longer stands apart. The 2017 Volkswagen Jetta is a roomy highway cruiser, but there are a lot of other compact sedans worth trying first.


Most of today's compact sedans feature interiors with edgy shapes and accents, a fair level of quality materials, and plenty of tech features, all of which appeal to the young buyers who are drawn to these cars. By comparison, the cabin of the Jetta looks very traditional and feels a little cheap. For example, the lower trim levels are cursed with hard, shiny plastic, which has become a thing of the past from other brands except for the most price-conscious models. Rivals such as the Honda Civic, Mazda 3 and even the Volkswagen Golf hatchback offer more attractive, higher-quality, soft-touch interiors.

The 2017 Jetta does measure up well in technology. There are two available touchscreen sizes, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, and VW's own suite of connected conveniences and services. The interface is sharp, simple to use, and now offers a standard USB port for a wired smartphone connection. Audiophiles will appreciate the ability of the sound system to play FLAC-type music files.

And when it comes to interior space, the Jetta shines. The backseat’s expansive dimensions dwarf those of just about every other compact sedan and hatchback, including the VW Golf, while the trunk volume of 15.5 cubic feet rivals that of even midsize sedans. If you can overlook some chintzy material work and appreciate the loads of elbow room, the interior makes the 2017 Volkswagen Jetta a fine choice.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2017 Volkswagen Jetta.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

4 out of 5 stars
Traded my nightmare Audi A4 Avant for a Jetta SE.
Christopher David S.,10/30/2017
1.4T SE 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
I recently traded my A4 Avant for a brand new 2017 Jetta SE. I bought my Jetta during a great promotion that my dealer was having, and I really feel that it was a great value. I bought it with 8 miles on the odometer and have put 17,000 on it in 10 months. ZERO problems, so far. The gas mileage is a big plus for me. With all of my highway driving, I see high 30's, every day. One day, I was on a long road trip and was using hyper-mileing techniques, and got over 40MPG. I love this car so much that I do not know where to start. Let's start with the engine. I was a bit worried that the tiny 1.4 Turbo would be too small and pathetic for being a daily highway driver. Boy, did the test drive prove me wrong. The 1.4 is a very snappy little motor with great acceleration. It is insanely torquey for such a small displacement engine. This car has neglibile, if any at all, Turbo lag. Compared to my old A4, this car has a very responsive Turbo. The transmission is very smooth, but on occassion decides to shift hard. Maybe once or twice a month, it will act like it can't figure out where it wants to shift. Resulting in a bit of a jerk when it shifts. The tires on this car are noisy. I cannot wait to wear them out, and put some new tires on it. VW needs to drop Bridgestone. Utter garbage tires, in my opinion. As for cabin and interior, this car is VERY spacious. I am 6'0", and weigh 280 pounds. I do not ever regret buying this car. It is comfortable, and has a great amount of leg room. I like the height adjustable seats with a handle to pump them up and down. The trunk is incredibly large. I am not sure how VW engineered the car to have such a large trunk, while maintaining enough leg room that my 6'7" friend can ride in the back seat without cramping up. I live on the ocean and am constantly at a beach with this car. That means lots of sand and salt water on my clothes. The vinyl seats and the nice rubber floor mats are great for this enviroment. Very durable interior, and easy to lift out the deep tray floor mat and just dump the sand out. The seats wipe right off, and clean up easily. For an economy based car, the electronic amenties make it a great commuter. I use the Blutooth every day. Google Maps are used for my GPS. The backup camera is a great feature that I love. USB ports are handy, as well. For the money, you get a lot of features. And, did I mention that it is a great looking car, as well. I wish the warranty were a bit longer, and the oil changes were still free, but so far the maintenance visits have been painless and the service has been great.
4 out of 5 stars
Small (1.4) turbocharged VW sedan with a 5M
1.4T S 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 5M)
This is the bottom of the VW line......but the top of the line for MPG. VW purchased (buyback program) my immensely competent (but EPA says incompetent) TDI. The Jetta S 5M seems a very good value - noting the end of the model year discounting. Test drive was positive. Purchased late August 2017 for less than my 1988 cost for an Acura Integra 4- cyl hatch. First refueling calc's 477.5 mostly city miles on about 12 gallons of RON 87. UPDATE: (08 March 2018). Odometer now reads 5509 and Fuelly dot com reports an average of 39.9 in 70/30 City/Highway use. Brakes, clutch and 5M shift synchros make for very smooth operation. I like the LED daytime running lights, the USB enables a small flash drive to store all the 6 CD music leftover following JSW TDI 6M buyback. Incidentally this 1.4 turbo out of door price was almost exactly one-half the new car OTD price of my 2013 TDI wagon. ADDITIONAL (Requested) UPDATE 08 September 2018..........Odometer now 12355. Fuelly now says 39.4 (40.1 last 10 fill-ups)........ No issues thus far. Update during virus: Odometer: 33779.Fuelly: 40.8. No, none, nada, nil issues since purchase.
5 out of 5 stars
Roomy yet Small footprint, Fast yet Efficient
T.M. Kane,01/20/2018
1.4T S 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 5M)
I have a 1.4 liter manual - the cheapest car VW sells. I think it's a matter of taste. This car has a classic, form follows function, understated yet poised and handsome design while the Japanese are going to a transformers/exotica style school of design that appears juvenile to my eyes, nor do I think that it will age well. The Jetta is a compact with back seat legroom exceeding 38 inches - enough for even large adult passengers to be comfortable - which is nice if you occasionally drive coworkers or clients to lunch. It also has an enormous trunk space. I have the 1.4 bottom end but it has the same torque as the 1.8 top end. This car will go from 0 to 60mph in under 8 seconds - traditionally the very definition of a fast car (that's v-6 performance) yet it gets over 40mpg on the highway if you drive 70mpg or under, and in excess of 42mpg if you drive at 65mph or less. This quite simply is a car that exceeds the performance of its classification in all perimeters: interior/trunk size, acceleration and efficiency. It also has more cache than most other compacts. It neither looks nor drives like cheapo. I think buying the 1.8 liter is unnecessary. It cost more, gets slightly less gas mileage and has the same torque (pulling power/accelaration) which means its only real advantage comes if you are going to be routinely driving over 90mph. There might be a practical performance advantage if you buy the automatic, my is manual, but I'm not sure its worth the increased cost and loss in economy. This car was a remarkable achievement for VW. The interior is practical and handsome and logical but I'd prefer a more driver focused layout. Also the car came with nice steering wheel controls with a sophisticated and highly accurate cruise control that allows me to set my speed right at the maximum allowed for my long highway commute to work. My feeling, when I was shopping for a car was that the Jetta offered the most car and most substantial car for the money. Chevy actually has a competitive model. Mazda is the gold standard, but it is more crampt and has the transformer design, the Toyota is less crampt but less mpg and worse performance characteristics. Whenever I see a compact I think "that guy could have bought a Jetta", though if its a Mazda, I can understand, different taste and perhaps better quality - though I have had no quality issues, I have owned Japanese makes before and their quality reputation is well deserved in my opinion.
5 out of 5 stars
Great Low Cost Buy Used Car
david smith,02/11/2018
1.4T SE 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
Very sure-footed in snow & slippery driving conditions. My only complaint is "blind-spots" for lane changes. I'm a seasoned driver who has had several close-calls changing lanes on the highway in this car (no lane departure or other driver-assist detection cameras/software)... I recommend that you check & double-check for another vehicle just behind & beside you before changing lanes - the "B & C-Pillars" seem to block out vehicles traveling just beside & behind you. Otherwise, I really like this car for my needs.


NHTSA Overall Rating

5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover11.1%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
  • Roof Strength Test
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2017 Volkswagen Jetta

Used 2017 Volkswagen Jetta Overview

The Used 2017 Volkswagen Jetta is offered in the following submodels: Jetta Sedan, Jetta 2.0T GLI. Available styles include 1.4T SE 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), 1.4T S 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), 1.4T SE 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 5M), 1.8T SEL 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), 1.4T S 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 5M), 1.8T Sport 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), 2.0T GLI 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), 2.0T GLI 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), and 1.8T SEL Premium 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A). Pre-owned Volkswagen Jetta models are available with a 1.4 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 150 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2017 Volkswagen Jetta comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic, 5-speed manual. The Used 2017 Volkswagen Jetta comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2017 Volkswagen Jetta?

Price comparisons for Used 2017 Volkswagen Jetta trim styles:

  • The Used 2017 Volkswagen Jetta 1.4T S is priced between $6,799 and$18,950 with odometer readings between 12523 and102874 miles.
  • The Used 2017 Volkswagen Jetta 1.4T SE is priced between $12,996 and$18,773 with odometer readings between 22296 and100272 miles.
  • The Used 2017 Volkswagen Jetta 2.0T GLI is priced between $16,995 and$20,490 with odometer readings between 35634 and120386 miles.
  • The Used 2017 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T SEL is priced between $15,450 and$19,530 with odometer readings between 20605 and93175 miles.
  • The Used 2017 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T Sport is priced between $15,726 and$18,500 with odometer readings between 33945 and102350 miles.

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Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2017 Volkswagen Jetta for sale near. There are currently 78 used and CPO 2017 Jettas listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $6,799 and mileage as low as 12523 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2017 Volkswagen Jetta.

Can't find a used 2017 Volkswagen Jettas you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Volkswagen Jetta for sale - 11 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $8,645.

Find a used Volkswagen for sale - 5 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $16,689.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen Jetta for sale - 3 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $13,625.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen for sale - 5 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $9,747.

Should I lease or buy a 2017 Volkswagen Jetta?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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