Rowing from the gears of an 2015 Volkswagen Jetta S TDI’s six-speed manual transmission since we roll over the scenic two-laners of Virginia’s horse country, we marvel at the reality that we’re actually having fun. Yep, fun. On a Jetta.
Never would we've got predicted this back when Volkswagen first introduced the current Jetta for the 2011 type year. While it boasted increased space, son-of-Audi styling, along with a more reasonable price, the Jetta was soundly criticized to its utter dearth of character, relentlessly cheap-feeling cabin, gruff five-cylinder basic engine, and chassis that had regressed to the Dark Ages with back drum brakes and a torsion-beam rear suspension.
After that, VW has made incremental and substantial improvements to the North American bread-butterer, and by 2014, all U.S.-market Jettas featured four-wheel disc brakes plus an independent rear suspension. Furthermore 2014, a new EA888 1.8-liter turbocharged base four-cylinder engine forced the cantankerous 2.5-liter five-cylinder into retirement. Enter the 2015 Jetta, having its midcycle update that provides new front and back styling, enhanced interior components (including-at last-a soft-touch dash top), plus a new EA288 diesel engine in TDI models. Alas, it seems that the Jetta has now become the vehicle Volkswagen should have been building forever.
Usually, the most significant elements of a vehicle’s midcycle refresh are modified lumination and fascia elements, however in the 2015 Jetta’s case, these are arguably at least fascinating of its upgrades. A brand new grille focuses on the car’s size, as does the latest back bumper, while new headlamps offer more widely offered LED daytime running lamps plus the taillamps evoke its Audi-brand cousins. But for the first-time, perhaps the lowest priced Jetta rides on aluminum tires. To what extent the modifications help the Jetta’s looks depends on the viewer, but arguably it is actually tougher to see the gap regarding the Jetta and the one-size-up Passat.
The interior, when one of the Jetta’s worst features, has become a convincingly nice place to hang out for 2015. It’s still Teutonically austere and also the door panels are tough plastic, but the dashboard appears far classy, covered as it is with tunneled gauges and refractive piano-black trim panels. High-end material like navigation has trickled down from higher trims to low- and mid-grade ranges, and interestingly, an available touch-screen infotainment system without navigation is in fact bigger than that of the navigation-equipped cars. Plus the seats on the S, SE, and SEL models we drove were secure and helpful.
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