Reviews

2015 Volkswagen Jetta Walk Around



The refresh of the sixth-generation Jetta includes a redesigned front and rear ends. From head-on, the most apparent change is the wider, more prominent lower air intake, which ditches the old scoop design and now extends nearly the entire width of the car. New foglights also debut (on models so equipped), as well as new accent lighting around the headlamps. The 2015 Jetta is also more aerodynamic than before, helping with efficiency.

Still, the design remains simple and minimalist, with crisp lines and subtle curves, without the drastically sharp creases and aggressive sculpting employed by many other car companies. The Jetta is one of the largest in the compact segment, about four inches longer than the Honda Civic, and slightly longer than the Chevrolet Cruze and Toyota Corolla. Because of this, it feels more like a midsize car.

In the rear, the 2015 Jetta gets a new trunk lid, taillights and bumper. Certain models come with a rear spoiler, like the SE Sport and Hybrid models.

The GLI has a stronger, sportier stance. The front grille and lower air intake use a honeycomb mesh design, sportier front and rear fascias and side skirts, as well as larger, unique alloy wheels.

Interior

As before, the Jetta interior is clean, stylish, comfortable, accommodating, and functional. Bright chrome trim around air vents, gauges, dash and instrument panel give the 2015 Jetta a more upscale look.

The Jetta also gets a new tunnel design instrument cluster, which looks sportier and more visually interesting than the old design. It keeps the white-on-black color scheme, which looks good and is easy to read. The standard driver information display is big and easy to read, located neatly between the tachometer and speedometer, giving quick access to fuel mileage, range, odometer and temperature information.

Even with hard plastics around the center console and doors, the Jetta interior feels better than the Honda Civic, although is might not be as rich as the Ford Focus, Chevy Cruze or Hyundai Elantra. The standard cloth seats are comfortable, and Volkswagen’s V-Tex leatherette upholstery seems durable, and could pass for real leather.

Seats have a relatively wide range of adjustability; moreso with the power seats found on upper trim levels. Short to moderate drives are fine, though after about five hours in the saddle on a sometimes choppy freeway, backs and rear ends might start to get tired, especially in the sport seats.

The Jetta makes excellent use of space. There’s good headroom front and rear, and rear-seat legroom is first in class at 38.1 inches, as much as the BMW 7 Series. With the rear armrest down, there’s a pair of cupholders for the rear passengers, to relax with a drink as they stretch their legs out. Small creature comforts help to make the cabin livable, including comfortable door-side armrests, convenient cupholders, good door pockets and grab handles.

The center stack design depends on the trim level. On our TDI SE test car with connectivity, a mix of touchscreen options and hard buttons around the screen make most functions easy to access. Though, we didn’t love the Jetta’s touchscreen display, which seems small and antiquated compared to some.

We also found the navigation system frustrating to use at times; entering destination information manually felt clunky, and the voice recognition didn’t always work properly. We also found the navigation system’s female voice harsh and grating. We did appreciate the USB connectivity and Bluetooth audio streaming, which, along with VW’s Car-Net interface, allowed us to play songs from our iPhone and Pandora app. The base audio system isn’t anything special. The upgraded Fender audio system sounds much better.

Trunk space measures 15.7 cubic feet in all sedan variants, with a 60-40-split folding rear seat. Models equipped with the rear seat pass-through offer even more flexibility. The Jetta Hybrid trunk measures only 11.9 cubic feet, because the battery pack rides over the rear axle.

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