It's a sign of the times that for the second year running, Volkswagen is paring down the number of configurations available for its compact Jetta sedan to just three, in the process eliminating the sportiest member of the family, the GLI.
The lineup now consists of just three trims -- a new Sport model, plus returning Wolfsburg and Highline variants -- and with the loss of the GLI, you can now no longer have a Jetta with VW's excellent 2.0L turbocharged engine, which becomes exclusive to the GTI hot hatch. Gone are the familiar Trendline and Comfortline trims that had been staples of the Jetta's lineup.
Sport and Wolfsburg use a 1.4L turbocharged engine making 150 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque and the Highline gets a 1.8L that bumps horsepower to 170 but matches the smaller engine's torque figure. The smaller engine comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission that can be optioned to a six-speed automatic, and the Highline and its 1.8L comes with the automatic only.
In the process of streamlining the Jetta range, VW has upped the value quotient at the entry level, with the Sport model getting 16-inch alloy wheels, black radiator grill and matte black caps on side mirrors that now come with standard power adjustments and heating. Inside is a 6.33-inch infotainment screen that used to limited to upper trims. That upsized screen is home to VW's App-Connect suite, which comprises the Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink smartphone integration systems, which used to be part of an optional connectivity package.
Wolfsburg gets a unique set of 16-inch wheels, fog lights, black rear spoiler and roof and a front bumper with honeycomb mesh inserts. This trim loses the six-way power driver's seat it offered last year.
Changes at the Highline level include new 17-inch wheels, chrome exterior accents, leatherette seating (which replaces full leather) and an upgraded infotainment system with proximity sensor, voice control and navigation. Also standard in this top-range model are adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert and frontal collision warning with automatic emergency braking.
Ironically, the Jetta GLI goes away just as a handful of other compact cars have gained well-received performance-oriented models, like the Nissan Sentra SR Turbo and the Hyundai Elantra Sport.
But the Jetta remains a handsome, if anonymous, small sedan with a comfortable and roomy interior and both of its remaining engines offer satisfying enough performance and thrifty fuel consumption that help make up for the fact that VW's TDI diesel engines are gone for good from North America. The 1.4L's manual transmission is a pleasing piece of machinery to use, but the automatic's extra ratio makes it better-suited to the engine's power delivery.
Nevertheless, the the stickshift promises nominally better fuel economy than the 1.4L/automatic combo's estimates of 8.5/6.2 L/100 km (city/highway), while the 1.8L/automatic is rated 9.4/6.8.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed
No content available