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Volkswagen adds another turbo engine for 2014 Jetta.

Volkswagen Group of America plans to become the world’s largest automotive manufacturer by 2018, and the sixth generation front-wheel-drive Jetta sedan is a key part of its global strategy.


Jetta SE and SEL models have a new turbo-charged engine for 2014. ©Volkswagen of America Inc. photo

Volkswagen phased out the Jetta’s 2.5-liter, five-cylinder engines in its SE and SEL trims, moving to a third-generation 1.8-liter, turbo-charged, direct-injection, four-cylinder engine with more pick-up and better gas mileage.

Jetta model choices are the base S, SE, SEL, TDI, and upscale GLI. Hybrid versions also are offered on the SE and SEL models. With the 1.8-liter gas engines, there are four choices–base, SE with Connectivity, and SE with Connectivity and Sunroof (our test drive with manual transmission; automatic is optional), and SEL, which adds navigation, upgraded audio, automatic transmission, and other features.

The new engine has the same horsepower but adds seven more pounds of torque at much lower rpms for better off-the-line starts and road grip. However, it still remains slightly underpowered for spritely highway passing. Handling was responsive with a new electric-assist system replacing the power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering on select trims.

Outside, the Jetta has moderate good looks, adding a soft character line from headlight to rear for 2014.

Inside, the Jetta offers ample occupant comfort, especially in the rear seats, and the 15.5-cubic-foot trunk is exceptionally spacious for this size vehicle.

Gauges are easily read, and a standard iPod cable allowed connection with VW’s Media Device Interface for in-car use.

The Jetta received a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s New Car Assessment Program. Jetta is the third Volkswagen model (Passat and Beetle coupe) to receive the five-star rating.

Likes: Ride, handling, price, mileage, occupant and cargo space
Dislikes: Low horsepower
Bottom Line: Jetta continues to be price and performance competitive in small sedan market.

Tom Crosby is a contributor based in Charlotte, N.C.


Mar/Apr 2014 Issue

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