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2015 Volkswagen Jetta

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 3/11/2015 Stefan Ogbac

New for 2015

The refreshed 2015 Volkswagen Jetta has slightly revised exterior styling and improved aerodynamics, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert, Park Distance Control, and updated interior with chrome accents surrounding the gauges and redesigned air vent controls. GLI models are now equipped with sport seats while the hybrid now has a different instrument cluster. A new turbodiesel I-4 engine replaces the old unit and improves the car’s fuel economy. The Sport trim is new for the 2015 model year and comes standard with navigation, rearview camera, sport suspension, sport seats, fog lights, 17-inch wheels and VW Car-Net connected features.

Vehicle Summary

The 2015 Volkswagen Jetta is a compact sedan sold in six trims and five engine choices. It is available with diesel and hybrid powertrains, as well as a performance-oriented GLI variant.

Overview

Five four-cylinder engines are available with the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta including a diesel and hybrid engine.


Model: Jetta S
Engine and Transmission: 2.0-liter I-4 – five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission
Power: 115 hp/125 lb-ft of torque
EPA-Rated Fuel Economy: 25/34 mpg city/highway (manual), 23/34 mpg (automatic)


Model: Jetta SE, Jetta Sport and Jetta SEL
Engine and Transmission: Turbocharged 1.8-liter I-4 – five-speed manual or six-speed automatic
Power: 170 hp/184 lb-ft
EPA-Rated Fuel Economy: 25/37 mpg


Model: Jetta TDI
Engine: Turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel I-4 – six-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch automatic
Power: 150 hp/236 lb-ft
EPA-Rated Fuel Economy: 31/46 mpg (manual), 31/45 mpg (dual-clutch automatic)


Model: Jetta GLI
Engine: Turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 – six-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch automatic
Power: 210 hp/207 lb-ft
EPA-Rated Fuel Economy 23/33 mpg (manual), 24/32 mpg (dual-clutch automatic)


Model: Jetta Hybrid
Engine: Turbocharged 1.4-liter hybrid I-4 – seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
Power: 170 hp/184 lb-ft
EPA-Rated Fuel Economy: 42/48 mpg

Performance is excellent in all Jettas except for cars equipped with the base 2.0-liter I-4, which have the least power and requires the driver to “keep the car in the lower gears” to “squeeze out additional torque to pull the car.” The other powertrains, particularly the GLI with its turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4, provide great acceleration and handling thanks to its well-tuned chassis. Diesel and hybrid variants, on the other hand, have excellent fuel economy without sacrificing drivability and engaging driving dynamics.

Space inside the 2015 Jetta is generous for a compact sedan with plenty of room for four passengers, a large 15.5 cubic-foot trunk, and 60/40-split folding rear seats. Build quality is excellent with a cabin that’s “comfortable, usable, and well-put together,” making it feel more upscale and ideal for long road trips. While its interior design and dash are conservatively designed, the 2015 Jetta’s controls for the infotainment system are easy to use, intuitive, and functional.The 2015 Volkswagen Jetta has a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars) and is considered a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS, earning a Good score in five testing categories (Good is the highest possible score).

UPDATE: Higher trim levels of the 2015 Jetta are available with the Driver Assistance Package, which adds blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and forward collision warning.

What We Think

Except for the base engine, the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta is a competitive compact sedan that has something for everyone including a hybrid and diesel variant. Performance is a strong suit with the car delivering brisk acceleration and sporty handling with a well-tuned chassis that make it “fun and genuinely entertaining” to drive.

In a 2013/2014 Comparison Test of hybrid and diesel sedans, we said that the Jetta Hybrid and diesel had the best balance of driving dynamics, fuel economy, and comfort thanks to its “appropriately weighted steering, reassuring chassis compliance, and sharp chassis reflexes.” This doesn’t come at the cost of refinement because the car’s cabin remains a pleasant and quiet, making it an excellent all-around car. Interior build quality is another strong point with a well-built cabin that feels upscale due to high-grade materials.

You’ll Like

  • Excellent driving dynamics
  • Spacious cabin
  • Excellent fuel economy on hybrid and diesel models

You Won’t Like

  • Weak base engine
  • Hybrid only available as an expensive SEL Premium variant
  • Conservative exterior design

Key Competitors

  • Toyota Corolla
  • Honda Civic
  • Mazda3
  • Kia Forte
  • Ford Focus

Rating 4 star

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