The Jetta has long been Volkswagen’s best-selling vehicle in the United States. For 2017, VW eliminates the diesel and hybrid trims from the Jetta lineup, simplifying the model offerings to just four: S, SE, SEL and the performance oriented GLI.
The 2017 Jetta is a sporty little number with three turbocharged 4-cylinder engine choices. The base S and mid-level SE trims get a 1.4-liter engine that develops 150 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque, and the SEL trim gets a 1.8-liter engine that develops 170 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque. Finally, the GLI gets a 2.0-liter turbo-four that kicks out 210 horses and 207 lb.-ft. of torque.
Available transmissions in the front-wheel drive Jetta include a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic. The GLI model gets either a 6-speed manual or a fast-shifting 6-speed dual clutch automatic. These proven power trains give the Jetta an engaging drive and good fuel economy.
With the manual transmission, the 1.4-liter gets the best EPA rating of 28 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. The 1.8-liter promises 25 mpg in the city and 35 on the highway, and the 2.0-liter is rated at 24 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the road.
The new Jetta has a roomy and comfortable interior with generous rear-seat legroom and headroom. The trunk is a sizable 15.7 cubic feet, which can be increased by folding the 60/40-split rear seatback. I climbed into the back seat and found it comfortable for my 6-foot-1 frame. My hair barely brushed the headliner in the back row.
There are lots of soft touch materials across the dash and on the armrests. Even entry-level Jetta models are well-equipped with standard air conditioning, cruise control, one-touch power windows, remote keyless entry, Bluetooth, a rearview camera and power heated mirrors. Controls and switchgear are simple and intuitive to use.
Stepping up in trim, features include a six-way power driver’s seat; a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, a sunroof, V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces and heated seats.
Infotainment is via MIB II with a 6.3-inch touchscreen. Our test Jetta GLI is had sport front seats, a Fender Premium Audio System, a navigation system, unique red stitching, and a Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert and Park Distance Control.
The Fender Premium Audio System cranks 400 watts of power through nine speakers and a trunk-mounted subwoofer.
On the road, the Jetta has a firm ride, especially in the GLI with its sport tuned suspension. Steering is linear and responsive, and the Jetta had scant body roll in hard cornering.
The Jetta has sporty European styling with large VW logos on both the hood and trunk lid. GLI badging is also prominent.
When it comes to safety, the 2017 Jetta is about as safe as they come. The Jetta earns five out of five overall safety stars from the government and was named a Top Safety Pick Plus from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Jetta has a full complement of airbags, including side curtains.
Volkswagen also offers Car-Net Security & Service, which allows owners to remotely access their vehicle. The service includes automatic crash notification, a manual emergency call, roadside assistance and stolen vehicle location assistance.
Finally, the Jetta also offers Family Guardian, a suite of features that allows parents to keep track of how their young drivers are performing behind the wheel.
The base S Jetta with the automatic transmission starts at $18,995, the SE starts at $21,995, the SEL starts at $24,995 and the GLI starts at $28,995. You can subtract $1,100 if you want the manual transmission.
2017 Volkswagen Jetta 2.0T GLI
2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder
$28,995 plus freight
EPA mileage estimates:
24 mpg city/33 mpg highway/27 mpg combined
Estimated highway range: