Roseville, Calif. – The diversity that was the calling card of the Volkswagen Jetta for many years has been diluted a bit in the wake of last year’s emissions-cheating scandal.
In 2016, Volkswagen admitted it cheated on Jetta TDI diesel emissions testing and agreed to buy back or fix nearly 5,000 diesel cars that were sold in the U.S. However, don’t hold a pity party for VW. It announced in late February 2017 that it was back in the black for 2016 after suffering a loss the previous year due to the diesel emissions disgrace.
The Jetta lineup is not nearly as diverse for 2017. Gone are the diesel and hybrid engines that provided a lot of options for Jetta shoppers. That’s a shame, because the Jetta has historically been a money-maker for the German automaker, thanks in part to being an extremely diverse compact sedan that was Volkswagen’s top-selling vehicle.
Now reduced to four trim models, the Jetta line falls short of previous lineups where the choices included a sedan, hybrid, sportwagen, and various turbocharged engines, making it a real toss-up regarding which model to purchase.
Two years ago, Volkswagen fully embraced turbo technology. It supplanted the previous five-cylinder engine, which took its share of criticism, with turbocharged models. The reception was good and obviously Volkswagen agrees.
The Jetta still features three pretty good engines, all of them turbocharged. The base model is a turbo 1.4-liter, inline-4 that generates 150 horsepower and 184-pound-feet of torque. It provides the best gas mileage of the three engines at 28-38 mpg. For a little more power, there’s the turbo 1.8-liter, inline-4 that ups the horsepower to 170 and has the same torque – 184 pound-feet. Gas mileage is 25-35 mpg.
2017 Volkswagen Jetta
* Performance: turbocharged 1.4-liter, four-cylinder, 150 horsepower; turbocharged 1.8-liter, four-cylinder, 170 horsepower; turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, 210 horsepower
* Mileage estimate range: 28-38 mpg; 25-35 mpg; 24-33 mpg
* Price: $17,895 to $28,995
* Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain 5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance 3 years/36,000; corrosion 12 years/unlimited
The third engine is quite a bit more robust than the first two. It’s a turbo 2.0-liter, inline-4 that produces 210 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. Predictably, the gas mileage is the least productive at 24-33 mpg. If mileage is near the top of your list, note that the turbo 1.4-litter Jetta gets up to 40 mpg with a manual transmission.
Although the Jetta remains conservative in appearance and is devoid of any real personality, there are some plusses overall, including smooth ride quality, strong braking, spacious interior and trunk (large for the class at 15.7 cubic feet.), and good fuel economy. The 5-passenger Jetta is very roomy and overall is big when compared to most compact sedans.
The interior has its share of enviable qualities, including a better focus lately on arming drivers with a better selection of high technology. But the Jetta is still fairly easy to master even with some new features, like two available touchscreen sizes, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, and VW’s own suite of connected conveniences and services.
Even with the EPA scandal and losing the hybrid and diesel models, the Jetta is still a small compact sedan that car shoppers should include on their take-a-look list. The Jetta provides considerable quality and can be purchased at a reasonable price.