Rowing with the gears of an 2015 Volkswagen Jetta S TDI’s six-speed manual transmission since we roll across the scenic two-laners of Virginia’s horse country, we marvel on the truth that we’re actually enjoy the fun. Yep, fun. In the Jetta.
Never would we have predicted this when Volkswagen first released the existing Jetta for that 2011 model year. Though it boasted improved space, son-of-Audi styling, and a more reasonable price, the Jetta was soundly criticized to its utter dearth of character, relentlessly cheap-feeling cabin, gruff five-cylinder basic engine, and chassis which had regressed into the Ancient with back drum brakes and a torsion-beam rear suspension.
Since then, VW has created incremental and significant improvements to the North American bread-butterer, and by 2014, all U.S.-market Jettas featured four-wheel disc brakes and an independent rear suspension. Also for 2014, the latest EA888 1.8-liter turbocharged base four-cylinder engine forced the cantankerous 2.5-liter five-cylinder into retirement. Enter the 2015 Jetta, having its midcycle update that brings new front and rear styling, 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 vehicle Volkswagen must have been building since the beginning.
Typically, the most important aspects of the vehicle’s midcycle refresh are revised lighting and fascia factors, but in the 2015 Jetta’s case, they're arguably at least fascinating of its changes. A fresh grille emphasizes the car’s wider, as does the latest back bumper, while new headlamps offer extensively accessible LED daytime running lamps plus the taillamps evoke its Audi-brand cousins. And for the first time, maybe the least expensive Jetta rides on aluminum tires. How much the adjustments increase the Jetta’s looks is up to the viewer, but arguably it is ever harder to tell the difference between the Jetta and also the one-size-up Passat.
The cabin, when among the Jetta’s worst features, has turned into a convincingly nice place to hang out for 2015. It’s still Teutonically austere along with the door panels are tough plastic, however the dashboard appears far classier, dressed which is with tunneled gauges and refractive piano-black trim panels. High-end content 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 in fact larger than that from the navigation-equipped cars. And the seats in the S, SE, and SEL models we drove were firm and helpful.
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