Rowing with the gears of an 2015 Volkswagen Jetta S TDI’s six-speed manual transmission since we roll along the scenic two-laners of Virginia’s horse country, we marvel at the fact that we’re actually wonderful time. Yep, fun. In a Jetta.
Never would we have expected this when Volkswagen first launched the existing Jetta to the 2011 model year. Though it boasted increased space, son-of-Audi styling, along with a more reasonable price, the Jetta was soundly criticized for the utter dearth of character, relentlessly cheap-feeling cabin, gruff five-cylinder base engine, and chassis which had regressed in to the Dark Ages with back drum brakes plus a torsion-beam back suspension.
After that, VW has produced incremental and substantial enhancements for the North American bread-butterer, and by 2014, all U.S.-market Jettas featured four-wheel disc brakes and an independent rear suspension. Furthermore 2014, the latest 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 which brings new front and back styling, upgraded interior components (including-at last-a soft-touch dash top), and a new EA288 diesel engine in TDI models. Alas, it appears that the Jetta has now become the vehicle Volkswagen should have been building since the beginning.
Typically, the most critical parts of a vehicle’s midcycle refresh are modified lumination and fascia factors, however in the 2015 Jetta’s case, they are arguably at least interesting of the changes. A brand new grille focuses on the car’s size, as does the latest rear bumper, while new head lights give extensively offered LED daytime running lamps plus the taillamps evoke its Audi-brand cousins. As well as the first-time, perhaps the least expensive Jetta drives on aluminum wheels. To what extent the modifications help the Jetta’s looks is up to the viewer, but arguably it is actually harder to see the difference amongst the Jetta and also the one-size-up Passat.
The cabin, when among the Jetta’s worst features, 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 far classy, covered since it is with tunneled gauges and reflective piano-black trim sections. High-end content including navigation has trickled below higher trims to low- and mid-grade ranges, and interestingly, an available touch-screen infotainment system without navigation is in fact larger than that from the navigation-equipped cars. Plus the seats from the S, SE, and SEL types we drove were firm and helpful.
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