Volkswagen’s bestseller gets better for 2014

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There are a lot of reasons why the Jetta is Volkswagen’s best-selling vehicle.

The compact sedan is offered in a wide variety of trim styles and engine variants, and can range in price from under $16,000 to well over $35,000.

That means that there’s a Jetta for just about any budget. Gary Desanzo, general manager of Day Volkswagen-Audi, considers a purchase like that money well spent.

“Like all Volkswagen models, the Jetta represents a great value and offers a unique German-engineered driving experience,” said Mr. Desanzo. “All Jettas come standard with a host of safety features, high-quality materials and a cavernous trunk.”

This year, Strategic Vision, a consumer-focused research firm, added the Jetta to its “Most Loved” list. Since 1984, when Volkswagen first rolled out the Jetta GLI to the U.S. market, it’s been one of the brand’s best sellers, both in the Pittsburgh area and across the country.

On top of being Volkswagen of America’s number one-selling car for decades, the Jetta is one of the world's most successful sedans with more than 14 million units sold. Last year alone, Volkswagen delivered 925,000 units worldwide—making the Jetta the top-selling car for both the brand and of the entire VW Group.

It’s also one of the safest vehicles on the road today, recently earning a 5-Star Safety Rating from the government’s New Car Assessment Program, which is run by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“Volkswagen is delighted that the Jetta, our biggest-selling model, has earned the highest 5-Star overall crash rating from the government—providing further validation that Volkswagen produces some of the safest vehicles in the industry,’ said Marc Trahan, executive vice president Group Quality Volkswagen Group of America. “Our vehicles have numerous safety technologies that work to help prevent collisions and help protect occupants when an accident is unavoidable.”

The 2014 Jetta is available in Base, S, SE, SEL and TDI trims as well as a Hybrid and performance oriented GLI model. The Base is powered by an inline 2.0 liter mated to a manual transmission. You have to step up to the S to get the available automatic gearbox.

As you move up in trims, there are plenty of choices. The Jetta lineup offers a total of five different powerplants that range from the frugal to the free-spirited and powerful. At the upper end of the fuel economy spectrum are the new Jetta Hybrid and TDI clean diesel versions, the latter of which gets 42 miles per gallon on the highway. For the sport-minded, a 2.0-liter turbo in the Jetta GLI puts out 210 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque for exhilarating performance, while still getting 32 miles per gallon on the highway.

A 1.8-liter turbo replaces the outgoing 2.5-liter engine in the SE and SEL trims. It puts out the same 170 horsepower as the engine it replaces, but offers slightly more torque. The new 1.8-liter is also designed to run on regular 87 octane fuel and gets up to 36 miles per gallon on the highway.

The 1.8-liter can be mated to either a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic. Step up to the GLI and its 2.0-liter turbo can be mated with the available DSG dual clutch transmission or a close ratio six-speed manual. The DSG is an automatic that can hit shift points faster than even the most experienced drivers. You really need to get it on the road and experience it to believe it.

In terms of ride and handling, Jettas have a strut-type front suspension with coil springs, telescopic dampers and an anti-roll bar. All Jettas also feature a multi-link independent rear suspension. All models from the SE on up also feature electric power-assisted steering.

The cabin of the 2014 Jetta is spacious, especially for a compact. The Jetta has a wheelbase of over 104 inches, which translates into more than 38 inches of rear legroom. Combined with its gently sloping cabin design that offers a little more headroom, and most adults will find the rear seat comfortable. The trunk is equally impressive, especially for a sedan this size, offering up to 15.5 cubic feet of cargo space.

Inside, the Multi-Media Interface cable has been relocated from the glovebox to the center console for easier access. The SEL, TDI with premium and TDI Premium with Navigation trims also receive a rearview camera. The SE Connectivity and Sunroof package also adds keyless access and push button start. A navigation system and automatic transmission are now standard on the SEL.

Finally, Volkswagen has rolled out its VW Car-Net connected services to the Jetta lineup this year. This new service is available for six months at no charge.

“Car-Net is VW’s answer to OnStar,” said Mr. Desanzo. “It allows drivers to communicate with a live representative for concierge services, remote unlock and remote vehicle diagnosis. Car-Net also enables parents with young drivers to set geographical boundaries and speed limits. It’s like having a chaperone anytime that your kids leave home.”

The 2015 version recently made its debut at the New York International Auto Show, sporting even more improvements to this popular compact sedan. It’s not expected to be in area dealerships until the third quarter, however.

Still, the 2014 model offers a lot of value at every trim level. While previous versions offered up a somewhat Spartan cabin, the 2014 Jetta offers a lot more soft touch materials and upgraded finishes, giving the cabin a more upscale feel.

Which is just one more reason the 2014 Jetta is the best seller at Pittsburgh area Volkswagen dealerships.

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