Press Preview: 2015 Volkswagen Jetta

Odometer (Legend):  531,532


Odometer (ILX):  96,329



“Jetta” is a nameplate that’s carries a long history.  Since the 1980 model year, the Jetta has made a name for itself as the best selling Volkswagen in the United States.  Now in its 6th generation, the Jetta is undergoing what VW calls an “evolutionary refresh” for the 2015 model year.  I was invited as part of the Phoenix Automotive Press Association (PAPA) to attend a special ride & drive program at the Phoenix Art Museum on Tuesday evening.

First Generation Jetta


Sixth Generation Jetta


When I think of “diesel,” my ears automatically start hearing the characteristic loud idle of my younger brother’s Ford F-250 PowerStroke pickup.  It’s the kind of idle you have to raise your voice to speak over.  But this Jetta TDI?  Refined, quiet, and if it weren’t for the low-RPM tachometer and the characteristic diesel torquey driving demeanor, I would have not even guessed it was powered by diesel fuel.  In short:  46 miles per gallon and still enough power to be fun to drive?  This Jetta made me seriously rethink my perception of the VW brand.


Volkswagen representative Megan Garbis flew in from the company’s training facility in Herndon, Virginia and shared a few slides that captured the highlights of the newly-improved Jetta.  The Jetta is made in Puebla, Mexico where VW has had production operations for over 47 years.  I’ll share just a few standout points and driving impressions.

I like how they’ve started offering ‘upscale’ features to be purchased a la carte as opposed to grouping them with packages.  HID headlights with LED treatment, for example, can be added to even the lower trim levels of the Jetta.  The base model, by the way, starts at $16,215.  Aside from that, there are some new features that are firsts for this class of vehicle – like an active radiator shutter that closes automatically at a certain speed to reduce wind drag.


There are a total of 5 engines available on the Jetta, but the clear pick for me would be the 2 liter diesel TDI.  Volkswagen says that adoption of diesel-powered vehicles is on the rise in the U.S., with TDI sales roughly at 28% of overall sales from the VW family of vehicles.  Some may overlook the Jetta TDI based on the fact that it only has 150 horsepower.  But, as Megan stated, “People buy horsepower, but they drive torque.”  Consider the fact that my ILX has 201 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque.  The Jetta has 150 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque.  This translates into a driving experience that I described to my friend Kyle during our test drive as “grabby.”  The TDI shoots off like a rocket as soon as it hits about 2,000 RPM.  I found the 6-speed gearbox fun to drive.


Equipped as a mid-$20’s car, too, the Jetta brings a lot of refinement.  The doors close with a solid ‘thud.’  Fit and finish was good everywhere except the door panels, which had hard plastic materials up top.  The glossy piano black trim finish that surrounds the radio is a nice touch, and there are matching trim pieces on the steering wheel (which, by the way, is carried over from the famous “hot-hatch” Golf GTI model).


The Jetta is a serious contender in this very competitive segment, and I’d encourage anyone looking for great MPG and plenty of optioning choices to give it a very close look.  I thank the Volkswagen team for hosting me at the conference and for the chance to take the new Jetta for a spin!  I left a little tread on the tires for you.


9 Responses to “Press Preview: 2015 Volkswagen Jetta”

  1. Do you have a favorite engine you pick for this Jetta? Looks like a good time!

    • I believe the 2nd Generation Acura TSX was going to offer a diesel engine option but it was cancelled by Acura. I think it was cancelled because it could not meet California emission standards. Tyson, do you recall anything about this? In any event, that car would have been a tremendous car for long distance trips. A gas tank of more than 17 gallons and highway mileage close to 50mpg would have given that car a huge range. You could go close to 800 miles on the highway with one full tank of gas!

      • An 800 mile range would be awesome. I’d still have to stop for a snack/bathroom break every 250 miles or so. That’s my usual interval most of the time. I didn’t hear anything about a diesel TSX ever being in development. As for the Jetta powerplants, I think I do prefer the diesel even though it’s a price premium over the gas engines.

  2. I still think GM ruined diesels for the USA back in the 80’s. They just aren’t embraced here like the rest of the world.

    • Haha, that’s for sure. Maybe someday we’ll get a clue. Audi had really stepped up its diesel game, too. I remember at a recent auto show they were touting the fact that (I believe) every model was going to be made available with a diesel motor.

  3. Joshua Leandro Says:

    I love 2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, it is really an awesome car! Do you know how many miles per gallon of 2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI? I have 2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, I still love my car a lot and really good gas mileage.

  4. High mileage Says:

    MPG and features aside, these VW Jettas and Passats are too boring to look at on the road.

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