Rowing through the gears of a 2015 Volkswagen Jetta S TDI’s six-speed manual transmission since we roll over the scenic two-laners of Virginia’s horse country, we marvel on the truth that we’re actually having fun. Yep, fun. On a Jetta.
Never would we have predicted this when Volkswagen first released the latest Jetta for the 2011 type year. As it boasted improved space, son-of-Audi styling, and a more competitive price, the Jetta was soundly criticized for its utter dearth of character, relentlessly cheap-feeling cabin, gruff five-cylinder base engine, and chassis that had regressed into the Ancient with back drum brakes plus a torsion-beam rear suspension.
Since then, VW has created incremental and significant enhancements to its North American bread-butterer, and by 2014, all U.S.-market Jettas featured four-wheel disc brakes and an independent rear suspension. Also for 2014, a new EA888 1.8-liter turbocharged base four-cylinder engine forced the cantankerous 2.5-liter five-cylinder into retirement. Go into the 2015 Jetta, featuring its midcycle update which brings new front and back design, upgraded interior materials (including-at last-a soft-touch dash top), and a new EA288 diesel engine in TDI models. Alas, it seems that the Jetta has now become the vehicle Volkswagen ought to have been building forever.
Generally, the most significant parts of the vehicle’s midcycle refresh are revised lumination and fascia factors, however in the 2015 Jetta’s case, they're arguably the least fascinating of the changes. A new grille emphasizes the car’s width, as does the new rear bumper, as new head lights give more widely available LED daytime running lights along with the taillamps evoke its Audi-brand cousins. But for the first time, perhaps the least expensive Jetta rides on aluminum wheels. How much the adjustments increase the Jetta’s appears depends on a observer, yet arguably it is now actually harder to tell the difference relating to the Jetta and the one-size-up Passat.
The cabin, once among the Jetta’s worst attributes, has become a convincingly nice area to spend time for 2015. It’s still Teutonically austere and also the door panels are hard plastic, however the dashboard appears much classy, dressed as it is with tunneled gauges and refractive 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 really larger than that of the navigation-equipped cars. Plus the seats in the S, SE, and SEL types we drove were secure and helpful.
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