The 2014 Volkswagen Jetta SE automobile has come a long way. My five-speed manual transmission sporty tester coated in a reflex silver metallic exterior with a titan black and leatherette interior, was great on gas with 26mpg in the city and 36mpg on the highway and had smooth ride quality.
My tester attracted all audiences whether young or mature, the Jetta is a great fit. It’s roomy and appeals to all ages.
One thing that I enjoyed was the spacious interior and trunk space, not to mention the new turbocharged gas engine. Pure fun in the sun.
Technically speaking, the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta is available in Base, S, SE, SEL and TDI trim levels.
The stick-shift-only Base model, which is technically available but must be special-ordered from the dealer, comes with a 2.0-liter engine, 15-inch steel wheels, power windows, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, height-adjustable front seats, cloth upholstery, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat and a four-speaker CD sound system with an auxiliary audio jack.
My tester the SE with Connectivity adds 16-inch alloy wheels, heated washer nozzles, heated front seats with driver lumbar adjustment, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and Car-Net telematics. The SE with Connectivity and Sunroof adds (you guessed it) a sunroof, plus keyless entry/ignition and an upgraded sound system with a touchscreen interface and SD memory-card reader.
The SEL includes all the SE’s optional equipment, plus 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a soft-touch dashboard, a rearview camera, a six-way power driver seat, a touchscreen navigation system and an eight-speaker Fender premium sound system.
The 2014 Volkswagen Jetta Base and S trims come with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 115 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 27 mpg combined (24 mpg city/32 mpg highway) with the automatic and 28 combined (24 city/34 highway) with the manual.
The Jetta SE and SEL upgrade to a new 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that cranks out 170 hp and 184 lb-ft. The SE gets the same transmission choices as the lower trims, while the SEL is automatic-only. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 30 mpg combined (26 mpg city/36 mpg highway) with the manual and 29 mpg combined (25 city/36 highway) with the automatic.
On the safety side, the 2014 VW Jetta comes standard with traction and stability control, antilock disc brakes, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. A rearview camera is included in SEL and TDI models. VW’s new Car-Net telematics system, standard from SE with Connectivity on up, includes automatic crash notification, roadside assistance, remote vehicle access, stolen vehicle location and geo-fencing (which allows parents to set boundaries for teenage drivers). A Car-Net smartphone app lets owners control many of these functions on the go.
In government crash tests, the Jetta earned four stars out of five overall, with four stars for total front crash protection and five stars for total side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Jetta its best possible rating of “Good” in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests. In the IIHS’s new small-overlap frontal-offset test, the Jetta posted a “Marginal” rating (second worst of four), though most cars the IIHS has tested for small-overlap posted similarly mediocre ratings.
While the 2014 Jetta has one of the least exciting interiors in its class, some might interpret this as tasteful restraint. Whereas rivals may use various curves, angles and textures to catch your eye, the Jetta just gives you simple, straightforward gauges and a no-nonsense control layout. A soft-touch dashboard can be found on the SEL and TDI models.
What the Jetta loses in finer details, it makes up for with interior space and features. The backseat is large enough for full-size adults to ride in comfort, which cannot be said of the Focus, for example, and the 15.5-cubic-foot trunk is one of the roomiest you’ll find in this class. Also likeable is the available touchscreen stereo interface and its redundant dial knob, which is ideal for controlling a portable music player. The associated navigation system, however, is a bit of a letdown due to the small screen and limited amount of display information.
One thing that hasn’t changed about the Jetta over the years is its solid, substantial feel on the road. The smooth ride quality is ideal for both rough city streets and long trips on the highway. Around turns, the Volkswagen Jetta is not especially sporty, but it’s steady and its steering is precise.
My tester’s price was $22,885.
Until next week, drive safe and buckle up, it’s the law.