2015 Volkswagen Jetta Preview

FAST FACTS
  • Revised styling
  • Newly available safety systems
  • Improved fuel efficiency
  • Updated diesel engine
  • Lighting package
  • 1.8T Sport trim level
  • Jetta SportWagen has been replaced by the Golf SportWagen

Introduction

Long a popular choice among budget-conscious shoppers, the 5-passenger Jetta returns for 2015 in sedan guise only, as the versatile SportWagen has been dropped to make way for the all-new Golf SportWagen. This year's Jetta sedan is highlighted by subtle visual changes and, more importantly, engine upgrades that deliver more power and greater efficiency. These enhancements are joined by a selection of advanced safety technologies and a 1.8T Sport version featuring aggressively bolstered seats and a retuned suspension. The end result is what Volkswagen describes as a more refined Jetta.

Exterior Features

Changes to the outside of the 4-door 2015 Volkswagen Jetta sedan are minimal yet not insignificant. Designers massaged the bumpers, added an integrated decklid spoiler, and tweaked the grille. An active grille shutter on 1.8T and TDI models serves to improve aerodynamics, as do new underbody panels. Entry-level Jettas roll on 15-in. steel wheels whereas pricier examples are fitted with 17- or 18-in. alloy wheels.

Interior Features

As one might expect, what's found inside the 2015 Jetta is largely dependent upon which trim level is selected, though even the base 2.0 S version rolls off the assembly line with air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, keyless entry, and power windows. Moving up through the ranks opens the doors to more upscale content, such as a touch-screen infotainment system, Fender audio upgrade, rearview camera, heated front seats, automatic dual-zone climate control, navigation, power moonroof, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Optional Features

Similar to other automakers like Honda, Volkswagen limits options for its models and instead offers a variety of progressively well-equipped trim levels. That said, buyers do have their choice of transmissions and upgrades such as the new Lighting package, which consists of adaptive HID headlights with LED daytime running lights, ambient interior lighting, and a unique instrument panel display.

Under the Hood

Volkswagen has successfully distinguished its front-wheel-drive (FWD) Jetta from other mainstream sedans by availing buyers to an ample selection of powertrains, an approach the company continues to employ for the 2015 model year. Starting things off is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 115 horsepower and 125 lb.-ft. of torque, all of which is managed by a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. For those with a more enthusiastic approach to driving, the Jetta's turbocharged 1.8-liter 4-cylinder--producing 170 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque--may be more satisfying. If that's still not quite enough to meet the demands of a heavy right foot, the Jetta GLI's turbocharged 2.0-liter may do the trick with its 210 horsepower and 207 lb.-ft. of torque. Transmission choices for the GLI include a 6-speed manual or 6-speed dual-clutch automatic, the same gearboxes VW pairs with its re-engineered 2.0-liter turbo diesel, an engine that generates 150 horses and 236 lb.-ft. of torque.

In addition to those configurations, there's a Jetta Hybrid that utilizes a turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder joined by an electric motor, 1.1-kWh Lithium-ion battery, and a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Net output measures 170 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque.

Fuel Economy

No matter which powertrain is selected, the 2015 Jetta promises to deliver commendable efficiency, at the very least, as evidenced by the sporty GLI, which delivers an EPA-estimated 32-33 mpg on the highway. Fuel economy for all other 2015 Jetta variants goes up from there, with the base naturally aspirated 2.0-liter offering 34 mpg highway, the turbocharged 1.8T promising 37 mpg highway, and the miserly TDI diesel boasting a high of 46 mpg highway. Trumping them all is the Jetta Hybrid with its 48-mpg highway rating.

Safety

Every 2015 Volkswagen Jetta rolls off the assembly line with standard safety features that include 6 air bags, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution, electronic stability control, and more. Reserved for higher trim levels are more advanced technologies, such as new-for-2015 blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and forward-collision warning systems, front and rear park-assist sensors, and those adaptive HID headlights.

In government crash tests, the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta received an overall rating of 5 (out of 5) stars, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Jetta received a "Good" rating--the Institute's highest--for frontal-offset crash protection; the Jetta also received a "Top Safety Pick" designation from the Institute.