Volkswagen announced that it will introduce the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta at the New York auto show, just one year after adding significant updates for the 2014 model year. This year’s changes are both aesthetic and mechanical, with revised front and rear styling, updated safety technology, improved aerodynamics, and a new EA288 diesel engine.
Engine options for the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta now include the 115-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder, the 170-hp 1.8T introduced last year, the Jetta GLI’s 210-hp 2.0T, the Hybrid’s 150-hp 1.4-liter four-cylinder, and a new diesel-powered 2.0-liter turbo-four. The new engine, also slotted for the 2015 Volkswagen Golf, adds 10 hp and eight percent better fuel economy compared to the 2014 Jetta TDI's 2.0-liter. Buyers who opt for the 2015 Jetta TDI will enjoy the 150-hp engine’s beefy 236 lb-ft of torque, while their wallets will appreciate its 32/45/37 mpg (city/highway/combined) rating with a manual transmission -- up from the 2014 model's 30/42/34 mpg ratings.
Sleeker and more slipperyThe 2015 Volkswagen Jetta now sports a sharper and more aerodynamic front end, with a clean-looking three-bar horizontal grille and a wider, more aggressive lower air intake. Available Bi-Xenon headlights are flanked with LED daytime running lights, positioned atop the Jetta’s re-shaped foglights which are now integrated into the front bumper.
Aerodynamics also improve at the rear, where the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta receives a new trunklid that is more aerodynamic and has more defined lines than in 2014. The body lines extend to either side toward the rear fenders, matching the available striped LED taillights and updated rear bumper. There's also a new rear undertray and special flaps in front of the rear wheels, all of which help further reduce drag.
On top of the new Jetta’s reduced drag, models equipped with Volkswagen’s 1.8-liter turbo-four engine or the new 2.0-liter turbo-four diesel engine receive an electrically controlled radiator shutter. With less air cooling the engine, 1.8T or TDI-powered Jetta models can warm up more quickly until cooling needs prompt the mechanism to re-open. Moreover, closing the grille reduces drag.
New for 2015 is a smattering of safety tech such as adaptive front lighting, blind spot detection, radar-based rear cross-traffic alert, and frontal collision warning. Compared to the Jetta from just a few years ago, which eschewed advanced tech and standard features in order to keep prices low, the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta has finally caught up to its competition.
Refreshing the refresh?When redesigned Jetta first arrived in 2011, Volkswagen received widespread criticism for "cheapening" the Jetta too much for the American market. The company quickly upgraded the Jetta for 2013 with a better interior and all-around disc brakes (ditching the rear drum brakes). The 2014 Jetta saw further adjustments including the addition of the 1.8T engine for SE and SEL models, and an independent rear suspension as standard for all models.
The improvements, which were made ahead of this scheduled mid-cycle refresh for 2015, made a palpable difference. We were pleasantly surprised how much better the 2014 Jetta felt than its predecessor, so much so that it made it to the final round in our compact sedan comparison test, narrowly falling to the 2014 Mazda 3. Expect the updated 2015 Volkswagen Jetta to continue to excel thanks to its spacious interior, well-designed European feel, and comfortable ride.
For more on Volkswagen’s future offerings, follow our coverage of the 2014 New York auto show, beginning on April 16.