The Jetta is VW’s top selling model in the states, and the brand hopes the updates in the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta SE 1.8 TSI will be enough to continue that role.
The sixth-generation Jetta is built upon a platform first introduced in 2011 and it is powered by a 1.8-liter turbocharged, intercooled and direct-injected four-cylinder engine that was introduced in 2014, and makes 170-horsepower at 4,800 rpm. Torque comes in at 184 lb-ft at just 1,500 rpm. My tester V-Dub was fitted with a five-speed manual transmission, a six-speed automatic is also available.
Steering is delivered through an electrically-assisted power rack and pinion kit which helps find the way for the MacPherson strut-type front suspension. Bringing up the rear is a multilink setup with coil overs. The SE trim level rides on 16-inch aluminum alloy rims and tires.
The Jetta is available in several flavors including; Base, S, SE, Sport and the top line SEL trim. It can also be had in S, SE and SEL trim for TDI Diesel buyers. There are also Hybrid and SportWagen variants. In addition to the 1.8T I tested, VW offers the Jetta with four other engine options including a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder, a 2.0 turbocharged model, a 1.4-liter hybrid and a new 2.0-liter turbodiesel.
The SE model I tested included creature comforts including; heated side mirrors, power sunroof, and a standard audio system with AM/FM/HD radio, CD Changer and six speakers, as well as SiriusXM Satellite radio. Astoundingly simple Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera, and manually adjustable cloth seats with a split folding rear bench.
The 2015 Jetta looks a bit more relaxed and a bit more mature than its former self. It holds strong to its German design ethos, so the updates are subtle. The Jetta has a somewhat aggressive, swoopy look to it that is enhanced by the newly revised grille (on the 1.8T and TDI Clean Diesel). The new grille features closable shutters to trim airflow around the front end and aid fuel economy.
From the front of the Jetta, you first notice the new grille with three crossbars, a new bumper and an optional bi-xenon headlight package. My tester missed-out on the last option, I would have liked to check out the new option in person. In the rear, a new decklid with integrated spoiler, revised taillights and bumper showed off a new, wider stance.
The Jetta had three-inches added to its wheelbase and its interior accommodations reaped the benefits. Rear seat legroom is up to 38.1-cubic inches, and behind that is 15.5 cubic feet of cargo space in the trunk. The rear seating offers a 60/40 split so you can get even more room out of the Jetta.The front seats were covered in black cloth surfaces, comfortable and simple. Controls were well within reach from the driver’s manually operated seat.My tester came with the base audio system, no navigation. It does, however, include very simple Bluetooth connectivity and SiriusXM Satellite radio. The simplicity of the Bluetooth was actually quite nice, no digging through menus, no entering pins, just connect and play.
Power from the 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder was abundant and smooth. With a few quick and competent shifts with the five-speed manual transmission, I found myself cruising rapidly in no time. Cruising quietly and comfortably to boot.
Steering was average, it wasn’t numb but it wasn’t fully alive either. Steering did lighten up nicely at higher speeds though. The stiffness of the suspension felt great, no body roll without sacrificing too much comfort.
The EPA says the 3,124-pound Jetta should get 25 city/37 highway with a 30-mpg average. With the manual I averaged about 29 and I managed to get the Jetta from 0 to 60 in about 7.5 seconds.
Volkswagen’s 2015 Jetta has a fun 1.8-liter turbocharged engine that offers great power and efficiency. A fresh, slightly aggressive looking body paired with a great passenger environment for the price point makes for a very compelling buy.