2015 Volkswagen Jetta Review

Jetta offers new diesel for 2015.

2.0L I-4 FWD
115hp @ 5,200RPM
1,297 kg
125 lb.-ft. @ 4,000RPM
6.9L/100 km

  • 2015 Volkswagen Jetta Review
  • 2015 Volkswagen Jetta Review
  • 2015 Volkswagen Jetta Review

MIDDLEBURG, VA: Canadians love their Jettas to the point it is the best-selling vehicle in the Volkswagen lineup.

About to arrive in Canadian showrooms, the 2015 model is in mid-cycle with a mix of modest and important changes.

Of those changes, the biggest news is the inclusion of a new 2.0-litre TDI Clean Diesel that, priced at $23,890 for the entry level Trendline manual, makes it probably the most affordable diesel in the country.

The designers cleaned up the exterior with things such as a new nose with three cross fins that make the 2015 Jetta look wider.
There is a new rear bumper and trunk lid and rear axle underbody covers and available active radiator shutter to improve aerodynamics and fuel consumption.

The body was designed to meet or exceed all current crash standards, while offering a full suite of optional driver/safety aids such at rear traffic alert, blind spot warning and a forward crash warning system.

On the inside, the cabin gets an upmarket makeover with new air vents and a piano black finish on the standard multifunction steering wheel along with ambient lighting and chrome and piano black accents on the higher trim models.

Bluetooth is standard with rain-sensing wipers and automatic dual zone climate controls optional.

Volkswagen offers a choice of three engines aimed at the needs of the wide swath of buyers the Jetta attracts. These engines come with a choice of a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission all driving the front wheels with no all-wheel-drive available.

Later there will a hybrid version using an electric motor and 1.4-litre turbo, and finally, a GLI version with a 2.0-litre turbo.

Following VW tradition there are three trim levels: Trendline (entry), Comfortline (mid-level) and Highline (top trim).

The most affordable 2015 Jetta is the 2.0-litre Trendline with manual box priced at $14,990, the same price as the 2014. Opt for the automatic and the price is $16,390.

The 2.0-litre has been around forever but it is also extremely reliable. With 115 hp and 125 lb/ft of torque, fuel consumption is rated at 9.5/6.9/8.4L/100 km city/highway/combined for the manual and 10.4/7.0/8.9L/100 km for the automatic.

The base Jetta is nonetheless well equipped with standard features like: four-wheel independent suspension, Bluetooth, Sirius/XM touch screen radio, backup camera, six airbags, 60/40 split rear seat, multifunction steering wheel with trip computer and vehicle immobilizer, but no air conditioning, which means stepping up to the Trendline + at $17,690 to get air.

Added last year to the Jetta lineup is the 1.8-litre direct injection turbo four-cylinder with 170 hp and 184 lb/ft of torque. Fuel rating for the manual is 9.3/6.3/8.0L/100 km city/highway/combined and 9.3/6.3/7.9L/100 km for the automatic.

Pricing through the three trim levels starts at $20,690-$27,390 with features and options too numerous to list here.

As mentioned above, the three Jetta models appeal to three different demographics, one being the diesel buyer, which accounts for 30 per cent of Jetta sales and that number is growing as Canadians increasingly appreciate its advantages.

The 2.0-litre TDI is a wonder of engineering with features such as a high-pressure fuel injector that can function at 2,000 bar, which equates to 2,000 times normal air pressure.

With 150 hp, the diesel has a solid 236 lb/ft of torque. Fuel consumption for the manual is 7.7/5.2/6/5L/100 km city/highway/combined and 7.5/5.5/6.hL/100 km for the automatic.

Held in Middleburg, VA, the launch of the 2015 Jetta was part of a Volkswagen full line passenger car program that also included the Beetle, Eos and Golf.

There was not a lot of time to drive them all, so I concentrated on the diesel equipped Jetta and Golf (which will appear separately at a later date).

Virginia may be for lovers but it sure isn’t for speeders.

Middelburg (pop. 742) is located in the richest county in the US, with rolling hills and vast horse farms.

Speed limits for the most part are 25-35 mph on county roads up to a dizzying 50 mph on four-lane highways. We were warned just two or three miles over would result in a hefty fine and/or immediate jail.

With its torque, the Jetta TDI didn’t need much prodding of the pedal to stick to those speeds.

Like almost any Volkswagen you can name, handling is solid, communicative and predictable.

I wish there had been a chance to try the TDI at highway speeds, because this is kind of car an increasing number of Canadians are interested in as commute times and distances keep growing.

When VW did a model inversion four years ago making the Jetta the entry-level model and bumping up the Golf to the next rung on the product ladder, it struck me as odd.

But now I get it.

Side-by-side, the Jetta is obviously longer but also bigger looking then the Golf ergo- more car for less money.

But the Golf is a hatch and much sportier, and, I thought having driven both, the Golf tracked better and was quieter, although I was told the Golf doesn’t get more sound deadening material than the Jetta.

As for size, it seems all cars are growing. In the case of the Jetta, it would have be an intermediate sedan a decade ago not a compact.
And on the inside the Highline TDI I was driving had an interior loaded with features such as a fabulous audio system by Fender and navigation system that, unlike others I’ve tried recently, was accurate with prompts given in good time prior to turns.

By keeping the price down, adding features and, now, a powerful and frugal new diesel, it won’t surprise me if the TDI becomes one of the sales stars at Volkswagen Canada.

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