At seven years old, the 2017 Volkswagen Jetta is getting up there in age. That said, for the dwindling sedan market, it remains popular with customers despite VW's widely publicized issues.

Pricing and Equipment

As Volkswagen’s entry-level sedan, the Jetta starts at just $18,715 for the 1.4T S trim level with a five-speed manual transmission (the six-speed automatic is a $1,100 option). However, because of the extra features it offers and proximity in price to the base trim, buyers will likely gravitate toward the $22,815 1.4T SE trim. This version comes standard with:

  • Sixteen-inch alloy wheels
  • Keyless entry and ignition
  • Faux leather upholstery
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob
  • Four-speaker stereo with a 6.3-inch touchscreen
  • 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 150 horsepower

For those looking for more upscale features, there is the $25,815 SEL or the $27,815 SEL Premium trims – the latter trim is only available as a special order and isn't listed on VW's US consumer website. For a little extra performance, there is also the GLI trim, which starts from $29,815.

In addition to its base engine, he 2017 Jetta has two optional turbocharged units available, including a 170-hp 1.8-liter in the SEL trims and a 210-hp 2.0-liter in the GLI trim.

Performance Pros

Volkswagen Jetta

The 2017 VW Jetta has a trio of engines available, and each one serves different groups of buyers. This helps give the small sedan a wide range of potential suitors.

  • Handling is good, even in the lower trims – the GLI is even better.
  • The GLI’s additional performance is exciting to play with.
  • Comfort levels are high on all types of roads.
  • Fuel economy is great at up to 28 miles per gallon city, 40 highway, and 33 combined with the 1.4-liter engine and five-speed manual transmission.

Performance Cons

  • Hard throttle really puts the 1.4-liter to work, and its noise is a little excessive.
  • No diesel or hybrid option this year, putting it behind some competitors.

Interior Pros

  • There’s plenty of rear seat legroom and headroom, even for adults.
  • The trunk is roomy at 15.7 cubic feet.
  • Higher trims play the part of a more premium car admirably, thanks to their upscale features.
  • As an IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus, this is one of the safest sedans around.

Interior Cons

  • The design of the interior is seven years old, and it’s starting to show.
  • There's a lot of cheap materials.
  • Its competitors have more comfortable front seats.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

The Jetta’s roominess is truly surprising. Despite its official compact classification by the EPA, the Jetta has plenty of room for four adults and their luggage. In a pinch, even five people can load up in this sedan for shorter hauls.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

The Jetta’s styling is somewhat of an acquired taste. This conservative design debuted in 2011 and hasn’t seen many changes since then. This leads to a boxier body and very few eye-catching cues in the cabin.

The Bottom Line

Sure, the Jetta’s looks are a bit long in the tooth, but they are vanilla enough to be almost timeless. Plus, it has so much going for it, including peppy turbocharged engines, amazing crash-test scores, impressive fuel economy, and plenty of room. So, for those willing to look past appearances and get right to the technical details, the Jetta is a good option.