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2014 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Trendline+ Review

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The last Jetta produced for our market suffered noticeably from cost-cutting measures and was lambasted for its cheap interior's lack of quality. Those issues have been largely addressed, with soft-touch dash materials in the top-spec Jetta, as well as standard independent suspension and four-wheel disc brakes across the model range.

Volkswagen manufactures some 14 different powertrains globally from traditional gasoline combustion to plug-in hybrid to full-on electric -- and they realize that there's no single solution to conserving fuel and reducing emissions. Each market has different requirements, and the company has been promoting their diesel engines as a good choice for thrifty Canadians. Volkswagen has been selling diesel since the 1970s, and clean diesel now comprises 28% of their sales.

What is a Volkswagen Jetta TDI?
A compact sedan with German engineering, the Jetta is comfortable yet rather plain when it comes to luxury. For a compact, the Jetta looks and behaves like a larger sedan. Despite its small, maneuverable size the Jetta makes a great family vehicle with 440 litres of trunk space (more than the Corolla, Focus, Civic or Cruze).

For 2014, the Jetta is now available with TDI on all trim levels, where previously it was available only on the range-topping models.

2014 Volkswagen Jetta Price and Specs
The Jetta ranges in price from $14,990-$29,190 and is available with a 1.8L L4 turbo producing 170hp/184 lb-ft, a 2.0L L4 rated at 115hp/125 lb-ft or the 2.0L inline 4-cylinder turbodiesel found in my tester. It puts out 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, and is mated to a 6-speed DSG transmission. It's a good match for the 1,272kg sedan.

The Jetta TDI Trendline+ starts at $22,490, with an optional $800 Connectivity Package and a 6-speed automated sequential transmission for $1,400.

Inside and Out the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Trendline+
Outwardly, the Jetta is attractive, yet conservatively styled. With its clean, blocky lines, the Jetta is totally Germanic in design. The 15" standard steel rims don't do much for the Jetta's appearance, however, moving up through the trim lines adds larger and much prettier multi-spoke alloys.

Inside, the cabin is very simple, and as mentioned before, not at all luxurious. Having been blasted in the past for their shoddy, dated interior quality, Volkswagen has improved the Jetta's cabin quite a bit -- although there are still the odd bits of flashing on plastic edges around the gauge bezel.

Seating is power adjustable, supportive, and covered with durable upholstery.

It's a comfortable, well-functioning space, and the switchgear and centre console are ergonomically logical if not stylish. There's no Navigation, no fancy touchscreen, and the tiny display is only a step above the one in my 20-year-old hatchback. But there's a nice little trip computer between the gauges, and an $800 connectivity package that easily accepts my Blackberry. There is a stereo, and it does make noise. Higher trim lines receive a really decent Fender sound system, but it's part of a $1,570 Technology package.

Driving the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Trendline+
The Jetta's German pedigree becomes obvious as soon as you've hit the road. The ride is quite firm, yet pleasantly so for those of us who enjoy composure and road feel over cushiony comfort. The former torsion beam rear suspension is gone, replaced with independent suspension all around. As a result, the 2014 Jetta offers a very composed and confidence-inspiring ride through turns and over rough pavement.

Although base model Jettas still retain the old hydraulic steering setup, the rest of the lineup (including this one) has electro-mechanical steering that's geared towards fuel efficiency rather than responsiveness. Fairly precise and nicely weighted, the steering increases in weight at highway speed.

What the Jetta sacrifices in luxury, it makes up for in safety. All Jettas come well-equipped with standard features like six air bags, electronic stability system, four-wheel ABS, tire pressure monitoring system, and head restraints.

The Jetta's powertrain seems perfectly matched to its size and handling. The 2.0L diesel engine feels well-matched to the car's size, and effortlessly moves it along at a brisk pace. It's easy to forget that there's a diesel under-hood, until you roll the window down. Even then, it's by no means unpleasant.

Fuel consumption wasn't as good as it could be, thanks to the extreme cold. I averaged around 8.5L/100km, yet I've previously gotten 6.1L/100km while driving the same model during nicer weather. Of course, all the climate controls and seat warmers necessary also take their toll on fuel consumption.

Comparing the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta TDI.
The Jetta’s main competitors are the Chevy Cruze Diesel, Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic (hybrid model available), Mazda3 (hello SKYACTIV!), and Ford Focus EcoBoost.

Overall, the Jetta is an extremely pleasant and capable daily driver, and well worth a look for those in the market for a compact car.

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    2014 Volkswagen jetta TDI 2.0L Trendline+
    volkswagen jetta 2014
    2014 Volkswagen jetta TDI 2.0L Trendline+
    Review this Vehicle
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