Rowing from the gears of an 2015 Volkswagen Jetta S TDI’s six-speed manual transmission since we roll across the scenic two-laners of Virginia’s horse country, we marvel in the truth that we’re actually having fun. Yep, fun. On a Jetta.
Never would we've expected this when Volkswagen first introduced the current Jetta for the 2011 model year. While it boasted increased 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 have regressed in to the Dark Ages with back drum brakes along with a torsion-beam rear suspension.
Since then, VW has produced incremental and substantial enhancements to the North American bread-butterer, and by 2014, all U.S.-market Jettas featured four-wheel disc brakes plus 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, having its midcycle update that gives new front and rear styling, improved interior materials (including-at last-a soft-touch dash top), plus 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.
Typically, the most important parts of the vehicle’s midcycle refresh are modified lumination and fascia factors, however in the 2015 Jetta’s case, they are arguably the least fascinating of the updates. A brand new grille focuses on the car’s size, as does the latest back bumper, as new head lights give more widely offered LED daytime running lights and the taillamps evoke its Audi-brand cousins. And for the first-time, even the cheapest Jetta drives on aluminum tires. To what extent the adjustments improve the Jetta’s looks depends on a observer, but arguably it has become actually tougher to see the gap regarding the Jetta and the one-size-up Passat.
The cabin, when among the Jetta’s worst features, has turned into a convincingly nice place to hang out for 2015. It’s still Teutonically austere along with the door panels are tough plastic, though the dashboard seems much classier, dressed which is with tunneled indicators and refractive piano-black trim sections. High-end content including navigation has trickled down from higher trims to low- and mid-grade levels, and interestingly, an available touch-screen infotainment system without navigation is actually bigger than that from the navigation-equipped cars. And also the seats in the S, SE, and SEL types we drove were secure and helpful.
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