New car reviews

2014 Volkswagen Jetta

2014 Volkswagen Jetta SE 1.8 TSI- Simply A Good Car

Bob Plunkett, Thu, 13 Mar 2014 03:45:14 PDT

2014 Volkswagen Jetta SE 1.8 TSI- Simply A Good Car

Volkswagen has reestablished themselves in the United States (like they have several times since the 1960's) with cars that are easy to own, easy to drive, and easy to understand. With the exception of some quality control issues in recent years on certain models, VW has focused their efforts on designing and building sedans that Americans like to own. The global strength of this German brand has helped weather the storm of lean sales years in the USA but now the Jetta and Passat have rightly claimed some major market shares in the mid-size sedan segment. These are efficient sedans with great value per dollar and that drive well.

Our 2014 VW Jetta SE came with VW's newest 1.8 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. This new (EA888 Gen 3) engine is replacing the longstanding 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine as the standard power in the SE and SEL models. Right away, drivers will notice more midrange power after the turbo spins up and gives the car a boost. But the new 1.8 liter displacement will also reveal a more efficient power band. As an added bonus, the 1.8 TSI is smoother at idle and quieter at 2,700 rpm when most of the horsepower and torque starts kicking into action.

This German 1.8-liter turbocharged engine gets a new direct-injection intake system, delivering just the right amount of gasoline to each of the four cylinders. The results is not more horsepower (170 horsepower is equal to the outgoing 2.5 liter) but it does create 184 pound-feet of torque (up 7 lb-ft) which arrives and pulls the car along at lower RPMs.

Derived from the Gen 2 engine, the EA888 Gen 3 engine is 8 pounds lighter and more fuel efficient. Bulk is taken from crankcase wall castings while exhaust headers are integrated into the cylinder head. This 1.8 also gets smaller diameter main bearings and roller bearings. VW claims durability is not a concern. Other Jetta engines offered are the 2.0-liter four-cylinder, the gasoline turbocharged 2.0 liter, and the turbo-diesel 2.0 liter with an impressive 42 mpg on the highway.

Our 6-speed VW automatic transmission connected to the engine with just a slight delay when going from the brake to the accelerator. After the automatic engaged, the Jetta got up and went with no problem. Even though this is not a double-clutch setup, this automatic has a semi-manual feel to the shifting. The EPA has estimated fuel economy at 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, which is an improvement of five mpg over the 2.5 liter on the highway. My overall mileage was around 26.5 with mostly city driving.

A few other fuel-saving technologies for the 2014 Jetta included electric power-assisted steering on SE and up models. All 2014 Jetta models now have a multilink rear suspension, replacing the previous torsion-beam layout on all Jetta models. The result is a crisp handling sedan with fairly responsive steering and a very responsive rear end that follows the driver steering wheel inputs around corners and in abrupt traffic changes. Handling is actually confidence-building for such a basic car!

The exterior styling of the Jetta maybe too square for some but it makes for very functional family transportation. The rear seat gets 38.1 inches of legroom and the lack of an extreme arcing roofline gets the rear passenger 37.1 inches of headroom. At six-foot three-inches, I can sit behind myself with comfort while driving- if that were possible. The general dimensions of the Jetta help carry 5 persons around cities in comfort- and at the same time, into compact parking spaces with room to spare. Jetta's wheelbase was stretched to 104.4 inches in 2011, giving it more interior and trunk space than larger mid-size sedans.

The 15.5 cubic feet trunk can be usable after one fits suitcases and boxes through the tight opening. The folding 60/40-split rear seatback does help with longer items. If people want to take four passengers to the slopes for some skiing, VW has included a pass-through to accommodate longer items, like skis, without flipping a seat down.

The interior continues to be European in ambiance with straightforward controls, simple shapes, and firmer seat cushions. This is not a luxurious interior but it is well-built and plastics seem to be a little more solid than some of the Japanese rivals. The center armrest feels a little flimsy and some soft-touch materials on the doors would nice. However, the cabin is very quiet and comfortable enough for long trips. These attributes make the case for buying a Jetta over some other $20k sedan which will subject passengers to more noise, more vibration, less room, less luggage, and more gasoline expense.

Our SE model with Bluetooth connectivity came to just $22,395 and included a power tilt and sliding glass sunroof, Keyless access with push-button start, and the Premium VIII touchscreen radio with SD memory card reader. The SE has additional standard features like heated front seats, cruise control, V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces, six-speaker sound system; and a Media Device Interface (MDI) with iPod adapter.

Other manufacturers might add amenities like auto climate controls, more power seat adjustments, and more digital screens but VW has decided to keep the price down. All Jetta models include automatic power windows and door locks instead.

Volkswagen Jetta models get the new VW Car-Net connected service. VW Car-Net includes remote vehicle access using a phone, speed alerts, an email vehicle report, and Points-Of-Interest (POI) services on navigation-equipped Jetta models. As with most modern systems, these features are dependent on smartphone apps for iPhone and Android devices. VW Car-Net includes safety features like crash notification to emergency services, roadside assistance, and GPS stolen vehicle assistance.

Even though the VW Passat base model offers more cabin space, Jetta is the right size sedan for younger singles and families who want space and don't want higher fuel costs. Jetta can be outfitted according the buyer's budget and deliver a comfortable ride that is not boring to drive.

2014 Jetta Pricing

Model Price Features

2.0L S

(manual)

(automatic) $16,720

$17,820 2.0L 115 hp/125 lb-ft engine, five-speed manual transmission, four wheel disc brakes; 15-inch steel wheels w/full covers; all-season tires; power and heated exterior mirrors; black front grill; manual A/C; RCD 310 radio w/single CD player; aux-in and four speakers; power locks w/remote keyless entry; power windows w/1-touch up/down on all four windows; cloth seating, 6-way manual adjustable front seats; 60/40 split folding rear seat; tilt and telescope steering column; temperature display; front airbags; Side Curtain Protection airbags; ABS; ESC; TPMS; LATCH; daytime running lights; immobilizer

+ Six-speed automatic transmission

1.8T SE

(manual)

(automatic) $18,895

$19,995 (Includes S features)

+ 1.8L, 170 hp/184 lb-ft engine; five-speed manual transmission; 16-inch steel wheels w/full covers; all-season tires; body color exterior mirrors w/turn-signal indicators; V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces; adjustable front center armrest with integrated storage box; rear center armrest w/pass-thru; cruise control; partial power driver and passenger seats; trip computer; MDI w/iPod adapter; SiriusXM Satellite Radio

+ Six-speed automatic transmission

1.8T SE w/ Connectivity

(manual)

(automatic) $20,420

$21,520 (Includes SE features)

+ 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels; chrome front grille and window trim; heated washer nozzles; front and rear carpeted floor mats; heated front seats; driver lumbar adjustment; leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, brake handle and shift knob; six speakers; Bluetooth connectivity; VW Car-Net connected services w/six-month no-charge trial period

+ Six-speed automatic transmission

1.8T SE w/ Connectivity and Sunroof (manual)

(automatic) $22,065

$23,165 (Includes SE w/ Convenience features)

+ power tilt and slide sunroof, Premium VIII touchscreen radio, Keyless access w/push-button start

+ Six-speed automatic transmission

 


2014 VW Jetta at carlist.com


2014 VW Jetta at carlist.com


2014 VW Jetta at carlist.com


2014 VW Jetta at carlist.com

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