The front-wheel drive 2014 VW Jetta compact sedan is a much better car than before due to only a few, but very important, changes for 2014 that have improved the drive experience measurably from the 2013 version.
In 2013, we tested and reviewed the Jetta SEL with a six-speed automatic powered by the (then) 2.5L five-cylinder engine. We found the performance of the 2013 Jetta SEL to be adequate overall, but lacking in road handling and power train performance with particularly noticeable poor integration between the engine and transmission.
What a difference a year makes.
We just finished a week with a new 2014 VW Jetta SEL with the new 1.8L turbocharged and direct-injection four cylinder engine that produces 170 horsepower (same as the old 2.5L) but delivers 184 lb-ft. of torque (7 lb.-ft. more – and delivered lower in the rev range). With more power and a very much improved integration between this new engine and its automatic transmission, this 2014 Jetta SEL got our attention pretty quick.
We noticed very quickly also that VW had made changes in the suspension as well. All 2014 Jetta vehicles now have a multilink rear suspension featuring three transverse and one longitudinal link per wheel plus an anti-roll bar that replaces the previous torsion-beam suspension. When coupled with the front suspension with coil springs, telescopic dampers, and anti-roll bar – the 2014 Jetta is more responsive, more precise and more agile than before. Our test Jetta came equipped with the new electric power-assisted steering (available on SE and above models) further improving the drive experience.
This new power train and suspension combination not only runs better, but it runs more efficiently delivering a full five mpg more economy with an EPA rating of 25/36 mpg City/Highway with an expected average of 29 mpg.
Optional power plants for the 2014 Jetta include a 2.0L four-cylinder (115 horsepower) that is not as fuel efficient as the turbo or you can move up to the well regarded 2.0L four-cylinder TDI diesel that delivers 140 horsepower and 236 lb.-ft. of torque with EPA ratings of 30 mpg City and 42 mpg Highway. In 2013, we would have opted for the TDI diesel in lieu of the 2.5L, but in 2014 – the 1.8L turbo suits us just fine. In fact it so impressed the WardsAuto World magazine people that they named it to the 2014 Wards 10 Best Engines list.
Our 2014 VW Jetta SEL came very well equipped with not only the 1.8L turbo power train, but also runs on 17-inch tires and alloy wheels which enhance the drive experience with the new suspension. The 2014 Jetta also includes Electronic Stability Control (ESC), a front and rear power assisted disc Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), fog lights, six-way power driver seat, cruise control, air conditioning, rearview camera and the RNS 315 color touchscreen navigation system. Also included was the Fender Premium Audio System with a 400-watt amplifier and nine-speaker including a trunk-mounted subwoofer.
Of particular note – when compared to 2013 – the new Jetta (SE models and above) have added soft touch materials to the dash area for a more premium look.
Other features in our Jetta SEL included a power sliding/tilting sunroof, Sirius Satellite Radio, Media Device Interface (MDI) with iPod connectivity, Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity and push button start. Seating surfaces were leatherette and front seats were heated, the multi-functional control equipped steering wheel and shifter are leather wrapped, a 60/40 split rear seat has an armrest with pass through to the trunk and power heated exterior mirrors with turn signal indicators.
Also new for 2014, our Jetta SEL came with the VW Car-Net connected services system which includes Automatic Crash Notification (ACN), roadside assistance and stolen vehicle locating. Also included are remote vehicle access, boundary and speed alerts, vehicle performance reports and an enhanced POI (Point of Interest) service on those vehicles with the navigation system. Most of the features of the new VW Car-Net system can be administered through an available smartphone app (iPhone or Android.
Including delivery, our 2014 VW Jetta SEL with the 1.8 turbocharged engine priced at $26,745.
Though the Jetta is not as ‘design forward’ (inside or out) as some might prefer, it certainly does deliver good performance and room – lots of room for passengers and cargo with a trunk that seems to go on forever. We think that, at the end of the day, if you have to have a Jetta – the 2014 Jetta SEL with the turbo power train will certainly satisfy.