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#22

in Affordable Small Cars

MSRP: $15,695 - $29,955
Invoice: $15,067 - $28,757
MPG: 23 City / 29 Hwy
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Volkswagen Jetta Review

The 2014 Volkswagen Jetta ranks 22 out of 40 Affordable Small Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the Volkswagen Jetta, as well as reliability and safety data.

The 2014 Volkswagen Jetta is ranked:

Automotive journalists are pleased with the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta’s spacious cabin and new turbocharged engine, but they say the base model lags behind rivals with poor fuel economy and a spartan interior. 

The VW Jetta is available with four engine choices, which gives it one of the most diverse powertrain lineups among compact cars. Reviewers say the Volkswagen Jetta's base four-cylinder engine is underpowered, but they're impressed with the new turbocharged four-cylinder engine that’s available on SE and SEL trims, saying it offers better fuel economy and a lot more oomph at a reasonable price. Additionally, test drivers note that better performance and greater fuel efficiency is available from GLI and TDI models, which feature turbocharged and turbodiesel engines, respectively. The 2014 Jetta is available with manual, automatic and automated manual transmissions, and reviewers say that stick-shift models offer a precise shifter, while the automatic transmission available on SE and SEL models impresses test drivers with its quick, refined shifts. Equipped with an automatic transmission, the base Jetta gets an EPA-estimated 23/29 mpg city/highway, which is poor for the class, but the diesel-equipped Jetta TDI gets an excellent 30/42 mpg. Reviewers agree that while the Jetta is not a sports sedan, it delivers a stable ride, composed handling and accurate steering. The Jetta also comes with safety features like Volkswagen’s Intelligent Crash Response System, which automatically unlocks doors, turns on hazard lights and cuts the fuel line in the event of a collision.

Reviewers say the Jetta offers a spacious trunk and one of the roomiest cabins in the class, with ample head- and legroom in the front and rear seats. Some reviewers note that the 2014 Jetta’s simple cabin design looks a little plain compared with the cabins of other rivals, and they note that the Jetta’s cabin features more hard plastic surfaces than they would like. Auto writers say that the Jetta’s controls are well-arranged and easy to use, though a few critics say the available touch-screen display is too small. Standard features include a CD audio system and an auxiliary audio jack, but buyers will have to upgrade to get features that are standard on many rivals, including Bluetooth and iPod integration. Optional features include dual-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio, a Fender audio system, navigation, cruise control, a rearview camera and a sunroof. VW's Car-Net system, which links car security, maintenance and navigation features to a compatible smartphone app, is also available.

  • "Overall, though, we do feel the 2014 VW Jetta merits consideration alongside segment leaders, which is something we haven't been able to say for a while. It may not be the nicest Jetta ever, but in this price range, its roomy cabin and diverse engine lineup are tough to beat." -- Edmunds
  • "Stickering for about $2,700 less than an equivalent Jetta TDI, the new turbo gas engine finally strikes the right balance for VW's compact sedan." -- Left Lane News
  • "That said, we remain unimpressed by the budget-priced base model, which is saddled with a plastic-fantastic interior and a weak 2.0-liter engine that first appeared in the '93 Jetta." -- AutoTrader
  • "When you put it all together, Volkswagen is giving us the 2014 with the 1.8-liter turbo and a multilink rear setup for about the same money as last year's car with the old 2.5-liter five and rear beam axle. That's the kind of more-for-less goodness we can get our mayo-glazed fingers around." -- Car and Driver

Other Cars to Consider

Reviewers praise the Chevrolet Cruze for its spacious, upscale cabin and say that its tech features are easy to use. The Cruze also comes standard with Bluetooth and is available as a fuel-efficient diesel mode, just like the Jetta.

The Mazda Mazda3 has been fully redesigned for 2014, and it offers fuel economy that’s on par with the diesel-powered Jetta TDI. Additionally, test drivers say the Mazda3 is one of the more engaging cars to drive in the class.

Compare the Jetta, Cruze and Mazda3 »

Details: 2014 Volkswagen Jetta

The 2014 Jetta seats five and has front-wheel drive. Five basic trims are available: S, SE, SEL, TDI and GLI. In all, there are four engine choices, ranging from the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine in the Jetta S to the turbodiesel and turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines found in the Jetta TDI and GLI, respectively. There are four transmissions offered, depending on the trim, which range from a five-speed manual to a six-speed automated manual transmission. The Jetta Hybrid is reviewed separately. The Volkswagen Jetta receives a few updates for 2014, but was last redesigned for the 2011 model year. Since it hasn’t changed much for 2014, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2011 through 2014 model years.

See the full 2014 Volkswagen Jetta specs »

Review Last Updated: 5/14/14

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