2015 Jetta New Car Test Drive
For 2015, Volkswagen Jetta is updated with redesigned styling, an improved interior, retooled features and a new version of the TDI clean diesel engine. The 2015 Jetta is a compact four-door sedan with front-wheel drive.
The 2015 refresh of the sixth-generation Jetta includes a redesigned front end with a new bumper, wider lower air intake, new foglights. Up-level models get new LED daytime running lights. In the rear, the 2015 Jetta gets a new trunk lid, taillights and bumper. Aerodynamics are also improved, making the Jetta slip through the air more easily.
Inside, the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta gets a few upscale tweaks, including redesigned gauges and chrome accents around the dash and instrument panel. Still, the Jetta retains a clean, minimalist look that is functional and intuitive, although perhaps not emotionally stirring. Seats fit most drivers well, and the standard cloth upholstery is on par for the segment, while optional leatherette upholstery (standard on more expensive trims) is comfortable and could pass for real leather. New interior upholstery and finishes also debut, as well as updated equipment packages.
The revised 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder TDI clean diesel engine offers an increase in fuel efficiency over the previous version (by 4 mpg). The direct-injected powerplant makes 150 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, the latter on tap from as low as 1,750 rpm. EPA fuel economy estimates for the Jetta TDI are 31/46 mpg City/Highway, with the manual transmission and 31/45 mpg with the 6-speed dual clutch automatic. We found the engine smooth and capable, without too much noise, in both manual and DSG variants.
Other engines carry over from before: The base 2.0-liter naturally aspirated inline-4 makes 115 hp and 125 lb.-ft. of torque; the 1.8-liter turbocharged inline-4 makes 170 hp and 184 lb.-ft. of torque; sporty GLI models are powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine good for 210 hp and 207 lb.-ft. of torque.
The Jetta Hybrid also continues for 2015, but in a single, fully loaded trim level, powered by a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder gasoline engine, paired with a 27-hp electric motor. Unlike many hybrids, the Jetta starts up on pure electricity and can run solely on the battery at speeds of up to 37 mph, according to Volkswagen (which, as with all cars, is heavily dependent on driving style). The combination of the gas engine and electric motor yields a total of 170 hp and a maximum of 184 lb.-ft.
In a 340-mile drive of the 2014 Jetta Hybrid, we got 35.0 miles per gallon combined driving, well below the EPA fuel economy rating of 42/48 mpg. Even for those who can achieve EPA numbers, we don't think the fuel savings is significant enough to merit a price premium of more than $4,000 over a similarly equipped TDI model. The Jetta Hybrid also requires Premium gasoline and has a smaller trunk to make room for the battery pack. For all these reasons, we'd rather take the Jetta TDI.
In any form, the Jetta is comfortable to drive, with well-placed armrests, user-friendly cupholders, good door pockets and plenty of headroom. Our only complaint would be the optional navigation system, which is small and looks antiquated compared to others on the market. Considering sister company Audi does such a good job with their in-car technology, we're surprised some of that hasn't trickled down to Volkswagen. Other controls are perfectly fine, including the gauges, climate and radio.
Competitors to the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta include other compact sedans like the Chevrolet Cruze (which is also available in a diesel variant), Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte, Mazda 3 and Toyota Corolla.
The Volkswagen Jetta comes in a variety of powertrains and trims. Buyers can choose from a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine, a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel four-cylinder, or a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Transmission choices depend on the model.
Jetta ($16,215) comes standard with manually operated air conditioning, cloth upholstery, manual seat adjustments and a five-speed manual transmission. The base model is available only by special order.
Jetta S ($17,325) comes with a 115-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard and a 6-speed automatic is optional. Standard features include cloth upholstery, manually operated air conditioning, tilt and telescoping steering wheel with multifunction controls, power windows, power door locks, a trip computer, cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity a four-speaker audio system with CD player and auxiliary audio jack, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, power heated exterior mirrors and 15-inch wheels. Jetta S with technology package ($18,320) adds pushbutton start, touchscreen audio interface with satellite radio and rearview camera.
Jetta SE ($18,995) uses a 170-hp, 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with a choice of a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic. Additional standard feature include heated front seats, 8-way partial power front seats with lumbar, pushbutton start, a six-speaker audio system with CD players and satellite radio capability (with 3-month subscription), an iPod/USB interface and 16-inch wheels. Jetta SE with Connectivity package ($22,325) includes everything on the SE plus V-Tex leatherette upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel with multifunction controls, Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming, touchscreen audio interface, Volkswagen's Car-Net connected car features, trunk pass-through, power sunroof, rearview camera and 16-inch alloy wheels. SE with connectivity and navigation ($23,650) adds navigation, foglights and 17-inch alloy wheels.
Jetta SE Sport ($20,895) includes SE features plus two-tone sport seats, navigation, a rearview camera, leather-wrapped steering wheel, interior contrast stitching, foglights, rear spoiler, sport-tuned suspension and17-inch alloy wheels.
Jetta SEL ($25,925) comes with the 1.8-liter turbocharged engine and the 6-speed automatic transmission only. It has everything on the SE plus dual-zone automatic climate control, two-tone sport seats, full-power driver seat and an 8-speaker Fender premium sound system with subwoofer.
Jetta TDI S ($21,640) uses the 150-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard, and the twin-clutch DSG auto-manual is optional. Standard features include manually operated air conditioning, cloth upholstery, 6-way manually adjustable front seats, heated front seats, a trip computer, cruise control, a 6-speaker audio system with CD player, satellite radio, a iPod/USB interface, and 16-inch steel wheels with wheel covers.
Jetta TDI SE with connectivity ($24,075) upgrades with leatherette upholstery, driver's seat lumbar adjustment, leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, VW's Car-Net connected car features, audio system with touchscreen controls, trunk pass-through, a power sunroof and a rearview camera.
Jetta TDI SEL ($26,410) adds dual-zone automatic climate control, six-way power driver seat, navigation, the Fender premium audio system, foglights and 17-inch alloy wheels.
Jetta GLI SE ($26,920) uses a 210-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and come with either the 6-speed manual or 6-speed DSG transmission. Features include dual-zone automatic climate control, cloth upholstery with red contrast stitching, heated front sport seats with power driver seat and lumbar, a leather-wrapped multifunction sport steering wheel, Fender premium audio system with touchscreen interface, power sunroof, auto-dimming rearview mirror, rain-sensing wipers with heated washer nozzles and unique 18-inch alloy wheels.
Jetta GLI SEL ($29,280) adds navigation, blind spot monitoring with rear traffic alert, adaptive bi-Xenon headlights and LED daytime running lights.
Jetta Hybrid SEL Premium ($31,670) uses a 1.4-liter turbocharged gas engine paired with a 27-hp electric motor and seven-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic transmission. Standard features include everything on other SEL trims plus forward collision warning, park distance control, an upgraded display in instrument cluster, VW Car-Net connected features, an aerodynamic body kit, rear spoiler and unique 17-inch alloy wheels.
Safety features on all Jettas include driver and front passenger frontal airbags, dual side thorax airbags, side curtain side airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS) with hydraulic brake assist (HBA) and electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), traction control and stability control. Optional safety features include a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring with rear traffic alert, forward collision warning and park distance control.