2017 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan
- 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
2017 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan pricingin Ashburn, VA
Edmunds' Expert Review
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 Yet the Jetta no longer represents a uniquely European interpretation of an affordable five-passenger sedan, and this makes it harder for this Volkswagen to compete with the vastly improved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.
Trim levels & features
For 2017, the Volkswagen Jetta is simplified into four trim levels: S, SE, SEL and GLI.
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.
Most helpful consumer reviews
2017 Volkswagen Jetta video
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.
2017 Volkswagen Jetta Expert Rundown
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.
Features & Specs
2017 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan for Sale
Ever since the Jetta was redesigned in 2011, we've had trouble accepting its new mission in life. Jettas of the past represented the best of European cars, more refined and better to drive than competing compact sedans. The 2017 Volkswagen Jetta is all about offering big interior for a small price, as if it were designed not for demanding drivers but for stingy warehouse-club shoppers.
To be fair, Volkswagen has made a lot of changes to the Jetta over its model run, refining the interior and replacing some of the low-cost mechanical bits with more sophisticated hardware. And when it comes to passenger and trunk space, the current Jetta trounces its predecessors, not to mention a few midsize sedans. Backseat comfort is excellent and trunk space is generous.
That said, the Jetta's cabin consists of staid styling and cheap trim bits. Lower-trim models are characterized by hard, shiny plastic, a cheap material that most automakers did away with years ago. At least the Jetta's technology is up to date, with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and — finally! — a proper USB port in place of VW's proprietary media port (which required an expensive dealer-supplied connector to hook up a smartphone).
Base-model Jettas used to come with an ancient 2.0-liter eight-valve engine that (literally) dated from the last century, but VW has since replaced it with a slick 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine rated at 150 horsepower. However, it's the 170-hp 1.8-liter turbo that's the real gem. You can also get a 210-hp 2.0-liter turbo engine (sourced from Volkswagen's vaunted GTI) in the sporty Jetta GLI model. EPA fuel economy estimates range from a high of 33 mpg combined (28 city/40 highway) for the 1.4T manual down to 27 mpg combined for the GLI.
As a group, Jettas are comfortable and engaging to drive, though they no longer stand head and shoulders above the competition the way the previous-generation Jetta did. And while the GLI is very quick in a straight line, its road manners lag behind those of its high-performance competitors, including Volkswagen's own GTI.
Volkswagen has simplified the Jetta lineup for 2017 by reducing the number of available options; equipment is now largely determined by trim level. The S model offers most of the creature comforts we expect in a compact sedan, while the SE adds several nice-to-have features. SEL is the luxury version of the Jetta, and the GLI stands alone as the performance-oriented model. Which is the best one to buy? Edmunds can help find the perfect 2017 Volkswagen Jetta for you.
2017 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan Overview
What do people think of the 2017 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan?
Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2017 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2017 Jetta Sedan 4 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2017 Jetta Sedan.
Edmunds Expert Reviews
Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2017 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan and all model years in our database. Our rich analysis includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2017 Jetta Sedan featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.Read our full review of the 2017 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan here.
Our Review Process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
What's a good price for a New 2017 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan?
2017 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan 1.4T SE 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
The 2017 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan 1.4T SE 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A) can be purchased for less than the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (aka MSRP) of $23,375. The average price paid for a new 2017 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan 1.4T SE 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A) is trending $3,603 below the manufacturer’s MSRP.
Edmunds members save an average of $3,603 by getting upfront special offers. The estimated special offer price in your area is$19,772.
The average savings for the 2017 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan 1.4T SE 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A) is15.4% below the MSRP.Available Inventory:
We are showing 1 2017 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan 1.4T SE 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A) vehicle(s) available in the in the Ashburnarea.
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2017 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan Listings and Inventory
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Why trust Edmunds?
Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including all models of the 2017 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan and all available trim types. Rich, trim-level features & specs and options data tracked for the 2017 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan include (but are not limited to): MSRP, available incentives and deals, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (interior and exterior color, upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, cruise control, parking assistance, lane sensing, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy and MPG (city, highway, and combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (interior cabin space, vehicle length and width, seating capacity, cargo space). Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds expert review, safety rating, and color.
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.