By David Thomas on April 14, 2014
Competes with: Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla
Looks like: We'll need stronger glasses to notice the changes
Drivetrain: 2.0-liter four-cylinder, 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder/electric hybrid, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder diesel
Hits dealerships: Fall 2014
There may not be much new to see when evaluating the updated 2015 Volkswagen Jetta, but there has been a lot of work under the hood and on the option list. VW will showcase the upgraded sedan this week during the 2014 New York International Auto Show.
The Jetta trim lineup also remains the same with the base car, a GLI high-performance model, hybrid and TDI diesel.
Subtle tweaks to the front and rear of the Jetta are hard to distinguish for the casual observer, but the company says that some of the work, especially up front, enhances aerodynamics.
Bi-xenon headlights are optional and have LED daytime running lamps. The grille and fog lights have also been updated. The back has been updated with an integrated spoiler that appears more like a design element than an actual spoiler. LED taillights are also optional.
If you thought changes were hard to discern outside, the new Jetta's interior is even more modestly upgraded. The gauge cluster on most trims is new with an optional color multifunction display. New trim colors and materials are also new depending on the trim, and there are also new fabric colors and seat designs.
Where the new Jetta scores major points is the introduction of a new diesel powertrain that replaces the outgoing TDI model's engine. The new 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel produces 150 horsepower and 236 pounds-feet of torque. VW is estimating mileage from the TDI at 32/45/37 mpg city/highway/combined. The current TDI is rated at 30/42/34 mpg city, highway/combined. The diesel also gets a radiator shutter that closes to allow for faster warm up and then opens and closes based on vehicle speed to improve aerodynamics.
The rest of the engine lineup carries over from 2014 including the 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that replaced the 2.5-liter five-cylinder last year. Its introduction was a bit overlooked but is a vast improvement in terms of performance.
Volkswagen has also added new safety features for the 2015 Jetta; most are optional. Blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert and front collision warning will all be offered for 2015.
Managing Editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David