Rowing through the gears of the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta S TDI’s six-speed manual transmission as we roll across the scenic two-laners of Virginia’s horse country, we marvel in the reality that we’re actually enjoy the fun. Yep, fun. In a Jetta.
Never would we have predicted this when Vw first introduced the latest Jetta to 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 basic engine, and chassis which had regressed to the Ancient with back drum brakes along with a torsion-beam rear suspension.
Since then, VW has produced incremental and significant enhancements to its North American bread-butterer, and with 2014, all U.S.-market Jettas featured four-wheel disc brakes plus an independent rear suspension. Furthermore 2014, the latest 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 which brings new front and rear design, enhanced interior components (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 car Volkswagen ought to have been building forever.
Usually, the most important parts of a vehicle’s midcycle refresh are modified lumination and fascia elements, however in the 2015 Jetta’s case, they are arguably the least fascinating of its upgrades. A fresh grille emphasizes the car’s wider, as does the new rear bumper, while new headlamps give extensively available LED daytime running lamps along with the taillamps evoke its Audi-brand cousins. And for the first-time, perhaps the least expensive Jetta drives on aluminum wheels. To what extent the revisions enhance the Jetta’s looks is up to a observer, yet arguably it has become ever tougher to see the gap between the Jetta and the one-size-up Passat.
The cabin, once among the Jetta’s worst attributes, has turned into a convincingly nice area to hang out for 2015. It’s still Teutonically austere and also the door panels are tough plastic, but the dashboard looks far classier, dressed as it is with tunneled gauges and reflective piano-black trim sections. High-end material such as navigation has trickled below higher trims to low- and mid-grade levels, and interestingly, an available touch-screen infotainment system without navigation is actually bigger than those of the navigation-equipped cars. Plus the seats from the S, SE, and SEL types we drove were secure and supportive.
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