Tuesday, June 6, 2017

2017 VW Jetta SE: The Brand’s German-Engineered Compact Sedan


Highlight: Jetta’s interior cabin is larger than most of the vehicles in the segment.

Test Vehicles MSRP: $21,715 (S Model: $18,715)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; Daytime Running Lights; a back up camera; power heatable exterior mirrors; and a tire pressure monitoring system

Standard Equipment (Base S Model): 16-inch wheel full covers; manual adjustable front seats; cloth seats; a tilt/telescopic steering wheel; a 5-speed manual transmission; a manual operated ventilated system; a 5-inch touchscreen; cruise control; an electronic speed steering system; 60/40 split folding rear seats; and a pre-wired theft alarm system




Standard Equipment (1.8 Turbo SE): 16-inch black alloy wheels; side mirrors with integrated turn signals; power tilt and sliding sunroof; manually adjustable driver’s seat; leather wrapped steering wheel; rear center armrest with integrated cupholders; pass through from back seat to trunk; heated front seats; leather-like seating; adjustable front center armrest with storage; front reading lights; an electronic blind spot system with rear traffic alert; a 6-inch touchscreen infotainment system; SirriusXM satellite; smartphone integration with Apps; a keyless ignition starter system; and heated front washer nozzles

Options: None

Other Trim Levels:

S; SEL; and GLI 

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 4-speaker with AM/FM/CD

Bluetooth Connectivity: Standard

USB Connectivity: Standard

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder turbo/150-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage:
28-city/40-hwy


What’s New: The VW Jetta last major overhaul was in 2015. For the 2017 model year, the Jetta has been reduced to just four trims. With the simplified trims, VW has made some adjustments to the content, while adding more standard equipment.

Why: VW has taking more of a traditional approach, in terms of the exterior and interior styling. With the Jetta's conservative design, basic interior layout and straightforward user-friendly infotainment system, the 2017 Jetta is available in four trims. And with each trim, buyers can opt for either a manual or an automatic transmission.

Depending on the trim, the Jetta can be outfitted with such optional features as a frontal collision warning system, an electronic blind spot lane changing system, an automatic forward braking system and a rear back up camera with a cross traffic alert system. Added to that, there is a driver’s assistance package that consists of a radar-activated cruise control system, a forward warning collision system and an autonomous braking system.


With that said, we spent time reviewing the new SE trim, which is approximately $3,000 more than the base S model. Under VW’s simplified, realigned trim package, the Jetta SE seems to be the perfect value package, especially for those on a budget.

Our fun-to-drive 5-speed manual SE we reviewed was outfitted with everything from leather-like heated front seats to a satellite radio to a power sunroof to a keyless ignition system to an adjustable front center armrest. And, while our vehicle was equipped with the standard 16-inch wheels, we strongly recommend upgrading to the 18-inch wheels. For approximately $1,200 once can alter both the appearance and the ride of the SE.

Moreover, for those seeking more comfort features in their Jetta, they can opt for the SEL trim. Lastly, for those seeking more punch and a sportier flair, the GLI trim is the way to go. Unlike the typical Jetta, the GLI pushes out 210 horses and rides on a sport suspension, which is lowered by .6 inches. This pocket rocket is spirited and fun to drive, regardless if it’s outfitted with an automatic or a manual transmission.

But: And with the exception of the Japanese makes from Mazda, Honda, Subaru and Toyota, pricing for the German-engineered VW starts out higher than the other compacts.

Moreover, VW continues to offer a conservative style, while the competition has move toward more a curvaceous design. 

Further, to have such features as a navigation system, one has to step up to the SEL trim.

Also, the VW has been decontented over the years, losing some of its German flavor and handling capabilities that differentiated it from years from the crowd.


Verdict:  The Jetta is available in a variety of trims and price points. We found the revised SE value package to be a great buy, especially, when powered by the fun-to-drive manual transmission. It’s roomier than many of the vehicles in the segment and the infotainment is user friendly. Even before adding on rebates and other incentives, for a price point under $22,000, this is definitely a best pick is on our list.


Competition: Hyundai Elantra; Chevy Cruze; Ford Focus; Honda Civic; Nissan Sentra; Kia Forte; Mazda3; Subaru Impreza; and Toyota Corolla

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