Joel Helmes road tests and reviews the top-spec 2015 Volkswagen Jetta.
The Volkswagen Jetta is one of the world’s top-selling cars, yet in a small car market dominated like ours is by the Toyota Corolla, sales of the Jetta locally have probably never met VW’s expectations.
That comes despite attractive looks and a good selection of model grades and engines.
The 2015 Volkswagen Jetta range kicks-off from just $22,790, which will get you into a Volkswagen Jetta powered by a 1.4 litre turbocharged petrol engine delivering 118kW/240Nm and using 6.5L/100km combined.
The small-capacity engine is offered in three model grades – Trendline, Comfortline and Highline.
A turbo-diesel Volkswagen Jetta is offered only in Highline trim and will set you back from $36,490. For the record, the diesel gives you 103kW/320Nm and claimed combined fuel usage of just 5.5L/100km.
Then, at the top of the three is the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta Highline Sport, an offering priced from $39,990.
Under the bonnet of the flagship Jetta is a 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 155kW/280Nm and uses a combined 7.8L/100km. Around town, Volkswagen reckons the engine will drink up to 10.7L/100km, though I found it more frugal and achieved 7.8L/100km.
So, in city/suburban areas the turbo-petrol engine is quite efficient and quite willing too. In fact the performance holds up well to the use of the word ‘sport’ in the models name.
Transmission choice in this grade of Jetta is six-speed dual-clutch automatic only. The transmission does an admirable enough job to keep up with the power and torque, though at times it takes a bit longer than I would like to figure out exactly what ratio it wants to be in.
It is also quite pedestrian in finding the drive position, something quite noticeable when trying to execute a quick three-point turn. But, in saying that, the Volkswagen Jetta has a great turning-circle, so maybe that won’t be too much of an issue.
The steering in the Jetta is just about perfect, really crisp and sports car-like but without being too heavy. The performance oriented suspension is not exactly the best set-up I have experienced with bumps and cracks being felt a bit more than you might expect. The trade-off is excellent handling.
Inside the cabin I’m pleased to say that the 2015 VW Jetta mostly gets ticks of approval from me. Highlights include the seats, legroom (especially in the rear), clear and fuss-free gauges and relatively easy to navigate driver info screen.
There are a couple of bits inside the cabin that are starting to look a little dated; primarily the indicator/headlight stalks. You could also probably make an argument that the door trims are a bit cheap and hard feeling.
Everything fits nicely though, and there’s plenty of cabin storage spots and a good-sized boot too. The steering wheel is also a real highlight.
While in this grade of Jetta you will enjoy a centrally-located push-button ignition, seat heaters, dual-zone climate control, reverse camera and a cooled glovebox!
Alas, we have to stop with the compliments for the Jetta there and focus for a minute on the infotainment system. Yes, sound quality is great, synching a phone is easy and the GPS is easy to program, however, it had one terrible habit that drove me crazy!
As the video below shows, every time you switch the engine back on the system reconnects to your phone via the Bluetooth system and wants to start playing audio from your phone. This happens regardless of whether you have an audio player on even in the background of your smartphone.
I was sure to turn off the podcast player etc. in my iPhone and the system still wanted to give me Bluetooth audio from my phone rather than good old AM/FM radio. So frustrating and slow!
At this stage there isn’t an ANCAP safety rating for the Volkswagen Jetta range.
Summing it up; nearly $40,000 is a lot of money in anyone’s language for a small sedan. As such I am sure that the more-affordable 1.4 litre version would most likely be the value pick of the range.
The Jetta Highline Sport however has a comfortable and nicely laid-out cabin, plenty of get up and go and a truly sporty feel.
The infotainment system is a letdown and something that should be improved by Volkswagen ASAP. Overall though, and especially with quite good looks, I have to say I walk away from my first experience with a Volkswagen Jetta quite satisfied.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2015 Volkswagen Jetta Highline Sport
Engine: 2.0 litre turbo-petrol producing 155kW and 280Nm
Transmission: Six-speed dual-clutch automatic (only)
Safety: Not tested
Warranty: Three years
Price: From $39,990
For further information, please see Recalls and faults: Volkswagen Mk.6 Jetta.