3/4 Front Glamour 2014 Volkswagen Jetta

Expert's Rating

5.0Excellent

MPG 25 City / 35 Highway
, Automotive Editor -
The Volkswagen Jetta is trying to find the right balance between quality and value pricing -- not always successfully.

Introduction

Seeking higher sales from its volume sedan, Volkswagen repositioned the Jetta three years ago to compete more directly with other economical compacts. That meant a lower price, simplified equipment choices, and greater emphasis on fuel efficiency. Despite its roomy interior and grown-up looks, the Jetta carries the lowest sticker in the VW lineup.

What's New

VW has taken steps to quell criticism that the downscaling of the Jetta went too far. Starting with the midrange SEL, the dashboard receives a higher-quality, soft-touch surface. The fully independent rear suspension previously reserved for select models is now standard across the board. Most significantly, a new 1.8-liter turbo four-cylinder replaces the old five-cylinder as the volume engine.

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Which Style To Buy?

2014 Volkswagen Jetta
Starting price
$18,459
Shopper Popularity
26%

2014 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T SE

Recommended for: Buyers who want an affordable car they can live with.

The most compelling reason for upgrading to the SE is the powerful and efficient 1.8-liter turbo. A five-speed manual transmission is still standard, but you can opt for a six-speed automatic. Other mechanical upgrades include electric power steering and 16-inch wheels.

The seats are clad in leather-like vinyl and feature two-way power in front. You also get cruise control, a trunk pass-through, and a six-speaker audio system with satellite radio and iPod connectivity.

The Connectivity Package adds Bluetooth, a telematics system, heated washer nozzles, heated front seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. An expanded version of the package includes a sunroof and additional audio features.

2014 Volkswagen Jetta
Starting price
$25,208
Shopper Popularity
5%

2014 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T SEL

Recommended for: Buyers moving to the upper end of the compact scale.

The SEL takes everything that's available on the SE, then adds major features like a rearview camera, navigation, and an eight-speaker Fender sound system. You also get 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, and a soft-touch dashboard that makes the whole interior feel more refined.

2014 Volkswagen Jetta
Starting price
$15,387
Shopper Popularity
11%

2014 Volkswagen Jetta 2.0L Base

Recommended for: Only those who are passionate about being frugal.

You won't find a base Jetta waiting for you in the showroom. It's only available through special dealer order, which says a lot about how many of these strippers VW expects to sell. The sole powertrain is a 115-horsepower 2-liter paired with a five-speed manual transmission. You do get power windows and a four-speaker sound system with CD, but that's pretty much it. Even basic equipment like air conditioning and an automatic are not available here.

2014 Volkswagen Jetta
Starting price
$16,539
Shopper Popularity
11%

2014 Volkswagen Jetta 2.0L S

Recommended for: Buyers who just want the basics.

The S retains the base model's 2-liter, but you can add a six-speed automatic transmission. You also get a more acceptable level of equipment, including heated side mirrors, air conditioning, power locks and a trip computer.

2014 Volkswagen Jetta
Starting price
$22,001
Shopper Popularity
27%

2014 Volkswagen Jetta 2.0L TDI

Most Popular
Recommended for: Eco-minded buyers who still want performance.

The Jetta TDI carries a turbocharged 2-liter diesel four-cylinder with 140 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual is standard, and buyers can upgrade to a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission. The TDI combines quick acceleration with impressive fuel economy.

Equipment is similar to the SE with the Connectivity Package, except the TDI rolls on specific 16-inch wheels and carries the SEL's soft-touch dash. Most of the SEL's other equipment in available through option packages.

2014 Volkswagen Jetta
Starting price
$23,873
Shopper Popularity
2%

2014 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

Recommended for: Buyers who want a sporty compact with room inside.

The top performer in the Jetta line, the GLI carries a 210-horsepower turbocharged 2-liter engine. Available with a conventional manual or dual-clutch automated manual transmission, the GLI sprints to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds, a competitive time for a sporty compact.

Other performance upgrades include cloth sport seats, 17-inch alloy wheels, and launch control. Most other comfort and convenience features are shared with the SE.

2014 Volkswagen Jetta
Starting price
$26,073
Shopper Popularity
1%

2014 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Autobahn

Recommended for: Buyers looking for a mix of performance and luxury.

The Autobahn edition of the GLI carries several exclusive features, including 18-inch wheels, automatic climate control, and a chilled glovebox. You also get a variety of extras shared with other models such as a sunroof, heated seats with driver power, leatherette upholstery and the Fender audio system.

2014 Volkswagen Jetta
Starting price
$28,021
Shopper Popularity
4%

2014 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Autobahn w/Nav

Recommended for: Buyer who want all the features and technology the Jetta has to offer.

Adding the Navigation Package to the GLI Autobahn gets you a touchscreen navigation system with rearview camera, bi-xenon headlamps with LED accents, and a keyless access and ignition system.

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