2017 Volkswagen Jetta Overview
Pros & Cons
- Good fuel economy with base engine
- Large trunk
- Interior filled with hard plastics
- Bland cabin styling
Notable for 2017
- Rearview camera now standard
- Hybrid model discontinued
Volkswagen Jetta Rankings and Research
The 2017 Volkswagen Jetta ranking is based on its score within the Compact Cars category. Currently the Volkswagen Jetta has a score of 7.7 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 59 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.
2017 Volkswagen Jetta Pictures
2017 Volkswagen Jetta Review
The 2017 Volkswagen Jetta boasts a spacious cabin and plenty of engine choices. Whether you want a low-priced fuel sipper or a spry performance-oriented sedan, it won’t be hard to find the right Jetta. However, according to the reviews and data that drive our rankings, it trails many of its recently redesigned rivals, like the Kia Forte and Mazda3, in many regards.
For starters, its cabin is made of hard, cheap plastic. A sharp and user-friendly infotainment system makes things a little better, but overall, the Jetta’s interior is drab. Performance-wise, the Jetta’s handling is secure and its ride is comfortable, but many of its rivals, including the Mazda3, outmatch it. For the Jetta’s nearly $18,000 starting price, you’re better off opting for one of its higher-ranked rivals, like the Kia Forte, which strikes the chords of interior refinement that the Jetta misses.
Streamlined Engine Choices
The base engine is a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that provides decent acceleration, and it earns up to 28 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. That’s better than what competitors like the Kia Forte and Ford Focus get. Since Volkswagen did away with the Jetta Hybrid, the best mileage you can expect comes from the base engine. With the base engine, a five-speed manual transmission comes standard, and a six-speed automatic is an option.
The Jetta SEL features a larger and more powerful turbocharged 1.8-liter engine, which feels more energetic and refined than the smaller power plant. SEL models come standard with the automatic transmission.
Jetta Handling Ability
The non-GLI Jetta delivers a compliant ride and secure handling ability with responsive steering. However, the Jetta no longer stands out among its competition. Rivals such as the Ford Focus and Mazda3 have upped the ante when it comes to driving dynamics. Even with their base trims, they offer a more engaging driving experience than the Jetta.
GLI Is Pure Fun
If you want the performance of the Volkswagen GTI but don’t want a hatchback, the Jetta GLI comes very close. Using the same 210-horsepower engine as the GTI and a standard six-speed manual transmission or optional six-speed automatic, it packs quite the punch and has plenty of torque to get you moving. However, the Subaru WRX, which starts around the same price, boasts quicker acceleration and more horsepower.
Upgrading from the base Jetta results in sharp and responsive road manners, making the GLI truly fun to drive. The downside of the GLI's sportier suspension tune is that its ride is harsh.
Although the 2017 Jetta’s cabin is spacious and comfortable, interior materials tend to be on the cheap side relative to the fresher entries in the class. Hard, shiny plastic is evident throughout. Add-ons like heated leatherette seats or a power-adjustable driver’s seat help things feel a little more upscale, but the Jetta’s dull interior style is uninspiring.
Good Rear-Seat Legroom
While the Jetta’s rear seats are more spacious and provide more legroom than many other compact cars, a few critics point out that others, like the Hyundai Elantra and Chevrolet Cruze, are a bit roomier. Parents will make good use of the Jetta’s standard LATCH system, which includes complete sets of anchors on both outboard rear seats and a tether anchor for the middle seat.
Class-Leading Trunk Space
If you’re looking for a trunk with plenty of space for luggage, shopping bags, or groceries, the Jetta may suit your needs. At 15.7 cubic feet, its trunk is larger than what you’ll find in midsize cars such as the Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima, let alone most compact cars. Another compact, the Nissan Sentra, also provides lots of space. For more room, you can collapse the Jetta's 60/40 split-folding rear seats.
Wealth of Standard and Available Features
The Jetta has a standard rearview camera and Volkswagen's Car-Net telematics system, a crash notification and roadside assistance system that will automatically notify emergency services in the event of a crash, which could end up saving your life.
Also standard is a 5-inch touch-screen infotainment system that has a USB port and Bluetooth. You can also upgrade the system to include a 6.3-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone app connectivity, and satellite radio. GLI models come with a nine-speaker Fender premium audio system, which makes great sound.
Regardless of which infotainment system you choose, menus are intuitive and easy to navigate, and the display features crisp graphics. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto help bring a familiar face to the Jetta’s display by integrating apps from your smartphone. Also, the VW’s Car-Net app suite offers traffic and weather advisories, among other functions.
Jetta Pricing, Options, and Trims
The 2017 Volkswagen Jetta has a starting price of $17,895, which is in the neighborhood of higher-ranked cars like the Mazda3 and Hyundai Elantra. The Jetta tops out around $38,000, which is comparable to the price of a luxury small car.
With the front-wheel drive Jetta, you pick from one of three powertrains before selecting a trim. The base model (1.4T) uses a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Models with the 1.8T designation use a larger 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The performance-oriented GLI uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. A five-speed manual transmission comes standard in the 1.4T. A six-speed automatic is standard in the 1.8T and available for $1,100 in the 1.4T and GLI. The GLI comes standard with a six-speed manual.
The 1.4T model comes in either the S or SE trim (starting at $17,895 and $20,895, respectively). Standard equipment in the S trim includes a rearview camera and an infotainment system that features a 5-inch touch screen, four speakers, a USB port, and Bluetooth. For the Cold Weather package – heated seats and heated windshield washer nozzles – tack on about $400 to the Jetta’s base price. SE models add a 6.3-inch touch screen, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone app connectivity, a power sunroof, keyless entry, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, heated front seats, and leatherette upholstery.
For $24,995, the 1.8T comes only in the SEL trim, which adds dual-zone automatic climate control, navigation, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, a cooled glove box, rain-sensing windshield wipers, forward collision warning with automatic braking, and adaptive cruise control.
For a high-performance Jetta, there’s the GLI trim ($27,895). In addition to engine, suspension, and handling upgrades, the GLI trim adds a nine-speaker Fender premium audio system, larger and sportier wheels, and LED taillights.
Jetta Safety and Reliability
The Jetta earns the highest overall rating of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It scores better than many others in the compact car class.
A rearview camera comes standard in the 2017 Jetta. Available advanced safety features include adaptive cruise control, which maintains a preset following distance from the car in front of you. Upper trims also have blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and forward collision warning with automatic braking, which alerts you to imminent collisions and applies the brakes to prevent them.
Volkswagen covers the Jetta with a three-year/36,000-mile warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Other Cars to Consider
Although the Mazda3 doesn’t have as much rear-seat or trunk space as the Jetta, its interior features high-quality materials, an easy-to-use infotainment system, and sporty performance. Arguably one of the best-handling compact cars, the Mazda3 is a blast to drive. Its base engine provides decent power, but a larger optional engine provides better acceleration. With either engine and an automatic transmission, the Mazda3 returns 28 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway, which are great ratings for the class. Both the Jetta and the Mazda3 have a starting price that sits just under $18,000. With little difference in price, you’re better off going with the Mazda3 if you value dynamics and substance and can make concessions to cabin and cargo space.
If a spacious rear seat and trunk are some of the main reasons you’re considering the Jetta, you should check out the Kia Forte as well, which also delivers on both. There’s plenty of legroom for front- and rear-seat passengers and a 14.9 cubic-foot trunk that is not much smaller than the Jetta’s. It also delivers plenty of standard and available features, including its easy-to-use UVO infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in the upper trims. Interior materials are high quality, demonstrating a level of refinement you won’t find in the Jetta. The Forte’s four-cylinder engine returns 29/38 mpg city/highway with an automatic transmission, which is impressive for the class. With a starting price of about $17,300, the Forte costs slightly less than the Jetta.
Details: 2017 Volkswagen Jetta
The Jetta is a sedan that seats five, and it comes in 1.4T S, 1.4T SE, 1.8T SEL, and GLI trims. The 1.4 trims have a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine, while the 1.8 trim has a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. Front-wheel drive and a five-speed manual transmission are standard, and a six-speed automatic is optional. The performance-oriented Jetta GLI has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic. The Jetta sees trim and feature updates for 2017, but its last full redesign was for the 2011 model year, so this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2011 through 2017 model years.
Standard equipment includes a rearview camera and an infotainment system that features a 5-inch touch screen, four speakers, a USB port, and Bluetooth.
Optional amenities include a power sunroof, keyless entry, a 6.3-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone app connectivity, satellite radio, a nine-speaker Fender premium audio system, rear cross traffic alert, dual-zone automatic climate control, navigation, a cooled glove box, blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning with automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, and heated windshield washer nozzles with rain-sensing wipers.
- "The 2017 Volkswagen Jetta is a roomy highway cruiser, but there are a lot of other compact sedans worth trying first." -- Edmunds
- "Although the Jetta is officially a compact, it's one of the biggest in its class and offers space comparable to a midsize sedan. The range in general hasn't always enjoyed a reputation for having a great amount of equipment or materials of decent quality, but Volkswagen is improving this state of affairs." -- Autotrader (2016)
- "No matter what flavor 2015 Volkswagen Jetta drivers want, they're not likely to be disappointed. The cabin is spacious and comfortable. There's a powertrain for every kind of driver. And some excellent technological touches upgrade the Jetta in a meaningful way without emptying a customer's wallet." -- Motor Trend (2015)
Research Prices: 2017 Volkswagen Jetta
Over 75,000 car shoppers have purchased a car through the U.S. News Best Price Program. Our pricing beats the national average 86% of the time with shoppers receiving average savings of $3,279 off MSRP across vehicles. See what others paid for the Volkswagen Jetta and get upfront pricing to make sure you don't overpay. Learn More »