Rowing through the gears of the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta S TDI’s six-speed manual transmission as we roll over the scenic two-laners of Virginia’s horse country, we marvel at the reality that we’re actually enjoy the fun. Yeah, fun. On a Jetta.
Never would we've predicted this when Volkswagen first introduced the existing Jetta to the 2011 type year. While it boasted improved space, son-of-Audi styling, and a more competitive price, the Jetta was soundly criticized to its utter dearth of character, relentlessly cheap-feeling cabin, gruff five-cylinder base engine, and chassis that had regressed into the Dark Ages with back drum brakes and a torsion-beam rear suspension.
After that, VW has created incremental and substantial improvements to the North American bread-butterer, and by 2014, all U.S.-market Jettas featured four-wheel disc brakes with an independent rear suspension. Furthermore 2014, another EA888 1.8-liter turbocharged base four-cylinder engine forced the cantankerous 2.5-liter five-cylinder into retirement. Enter the 2015 Jetta, featuring its midcycle update which brings new front and rear design, upgraded interior components (including-at last-a soft-touch dash top), and a new EA288 diesel engine in TDI models. Alas, it would appear that the Jetta has now become the car Volkswagen ought to have been building since the beginning.
Usually, the most important elements of the vehicle’s midcycle refresh are revised lumination and fascia aspects, but in the 2015 Jetta’s case, they are arguably at least fascinating of its changes. A new grille emphasizes the car’s wider, as does the new rear bumper, while new head lights offer more widely offered LED daytime running lamps along with the taillamps evoke its Audi-brand cousins. And for the first time, even the cheapest Jetta drives on aluminum tires. To what extent the adjustments help the Jetta’s looks is up to the viewer, nevertheless arguably it is ever harder to see the difference relating to the Jetta and the one-size-up Passat.
The interior, when one of the Jetta’s worst attributes, has become a convincingly nice area to hang out for 2015. It’s still Teutonically austere and the door panels are tough plastic, but the dashboard looks much classy, covered since it is with tunneled gauges and refractive piano-black trim panels. High-end material including navigation has trickled below higher trims to low- and mid-grade levels, and interestingly, an available touch-screen infotainment system without navigation is actually bigger than that of the navigation-equipped cars. And also the seats from the S, SE, and SEL types we drove were firm and helpful.
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