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2015 Volkswagen Jetta First Impression

By Kevin ''Crash'' Corrigan
2015 Volkswagen Jetta First Impression
The Volkswagen Jetta is the German company’s best-selling product here in Canada. Yes, we Canadians love the Jetta, which is basically a Golf with an added trunk. We’re not alone, as Volkswagen has sold over 14 million Jettas worldwide since its introduction back in 1979.

Even a mid-cycle refresh like the one we’re getting for 2015 is worth getting excited about. However, as they say, “it’s all in the details,” and that’s exactly where one needs to look to discover what’s new for 2015.

2015 Volkswagen Jetta Prices & Specs
Pricing starts at a staggeringly low $14,990 for the base model, and even if you plump for the top-of-the-range (Highline), you’ll still have loose change left over from $30k. However, the big news for 2015 is the introduction of a new 2.0L TDI Clean Diesel unit (now 150 hp, 236 lb-ft) which will be available across the range. Yes, you read that right! This means Volkswagen now offers the cheapest diesel-powered vehicle in Canada (the entry-level Trendline: $23,890).

Available in three trim levels (Trendline, Comfortline and Highline), the 2015 Jetta comes with a choice of three powerplants.
  • Standard: 2.0L 4-cylinder (115 hp, 125 lb-ft, 5-speed manual or 6-speed auto with Tiptronic);
  • Optional: 1.8L turbo 4-cyl (170 hp, 184 lb-ft, 5-speed manual or 6-speed auto with Tiptronic);
  • Optional: 2.0L turbo-diesel (150 hp, 236 lb-ft, 5- or 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic DSG with Tiptronic)..

There’s also a new 150-hp Turbo Hybrid model coming later in the year.
  • Fuel economy (city/highway/combined):
  • 2.0L manual/automatic: 9.5/6.9/8.4L/100km, 10.4/7.0/8.9L/100km
  • 1.8L TSI manual/automatic: 9.3/6.3/8.0L/100km, 9.3/6.3/7.9L/100km
  • 2.0L TDI manual automatic: 7.7/5.2/6.5L/100km, 7.5/5.3/6.5L/100km
Driving the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta
I’m going to concentrate on the new diesel unit here as, in my opinion, it’s the smartest choice.

If you’ve driven Volkswagen diesels before, then you don’t need me to explain just how good they are. However, this new unit takes things one step further -- more power (10 extra hp over previous version), smoother, and even quieter. When I say this, I truly mean it. You can feel the added power and, in many ways, the refinement of this new diesel units puts some modern gasoline engines to shame.

With 236 lb-ft of torque on hand, there’s not much pedal pressure required to get the new TDI Jetta up and running, and from there on, this number simply supplies bonus fun!

The Jetta feels nicely planted on the road, like a German car should, yet is light and nimble enough to enjoy, especially when one pours on that TDI torque while exiting a corner. This is something which can rather quickly become addictive, but there are so many people out there who simply can’t see past the rather low horsepower figures which sit alongside the diesel torque numbers. To them I say, “Try a modern diesel, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”

Inside & Out of the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta
The Jetta gets a freshly designed grille/face for 2015 which gives it the appearance of a wider car. It’s a little different, but I like it as it adds to the stateliness of the vehicle, almost approaching that of the higher-priced Passat. The rear also receives a mild makeover in the way of a redesigned bumper.

New for 2015, there’s an available active radiator shutter system which is said to improve aerodynamics and overall fuel economy.

Stepping inside, the improvements are somewhat less noticeable. A touch of Piano Black here, some brushed aluminum/chrome where we haven’t seen it before, but that’s about all. However, things have changed quite considerably, you simply need to dig a little deeper. Bluetooth is now standard across the range, and even the base Jetta comes well equipped (SiriusXM® touchscreen satellite radio, backup camera, vehicle immobiliser, multifunction steering wheel, tilt and telescopic steering column, trip computer, 60/40 split rear seat).

As nicely appointed as the Jetta is, it should be noted that in order to get A/C, heated seats/mirrors, and iPod connectivity, you will need to step up to the slightly more expensive Trendline Plus.

Also new on the Jetta are a host of available safety features including blind spot monitoring/rear-traffic alert systems, and even a forward collision warning system available on top models.

Like I said, the improvements for 2015 are there, you just need to look for them!

Comparing the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta
The Jetta operates in a very busy playground and has several potential competitors (Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte, and Volkswagen Golf).

However, with the exception of the Cruze, not one, bar its own stable-mate (the Golf), offers the option of diesel, so this pares those numbers down pretty well and my vote would still go to Volkswagen’s established history in oil burners.

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