The FREE Complete Bay Area Auto Enthusiast Guide


It may have lost its No. 1 place as the second best-selling model for VW in the United States to the small Tiguan SUV but the Jetta still may catch up some day. We liked the fully redesigned and sportier R-Line trim we test drove recently. The 1.4-liter turbocharged/intercooled 4-cylinder direct-injection engine still belts out 147 horsepower at 5000 rpm and 184 pounds-feet of torque at 1400 rpm. It is mated to an 8-speed auto gearbox. An independent strut-type front and a torsion-beam rear suspension provide a delightfully lively outing while calmly absorbing bumps. The electro-mechanical speed-sensitive power steering is quick and communicative to result in a positive on-center response. Switch on the eco mode and you are guaranteed substantial fuel savings.

Ensconced on the unitary structure of the compact sedan is a larger trapezoidal and blacked-out grille with four chrome bars, surrounded by LED headlights and day time running lights. That this is an R-Line is evident from badging on the grille and black side mirror caps. The Jetta is now bigger in many respects, with wheelbase up by 1.3, length by 1.8, width by .8 and height by .2 inches. There also is more head, knee and shoulder room. Go ahead and load up those suitcases and golf bags in the cavernous trunk, which flaunts 14.1 cubic feet of space. The infotainment integrates Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto smartphone apps as well as VW Car-Net. As always, readings on the driver information center between the round speedometer and tachometer gauges are large, eligible and perfectly located. Have tall folks in the family? No reason to worry. The six-way heated driver seat is height adjustable. The R-Line inspired three-spoke tilt/telescopic steering wheel, two-tone seats and black headliner are pleasing to the eye. Other standard amenities include dual auto a/c, 60/40 fold rear seat, leatherette seats, 6.5-inch touch screen, cruise control, panoramic sun roof, push-button start and overhead sunglass holder.

Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, four-wheel antilock brakes with electronic brake distribution and hydraulic brake assist, stability control, rearview camera, post-collision braking, blind-spot monitor with rear traffic alert, forward collision warning, three-point safety belts for all, daytime running lights and tire pressure monitoring system come at no extra cost. 

The bigger and better Jetta becomes an even more attractive proposition for small-car buyers. Indeed, this compact sedan is a splendid blend of thrift, practicality and fun.

Tires: 205/55 R17
Wheelbase: 105.7 inches
Length: 185.1 inches
Width: 70.8 inches
Height: 57.4 inches
Weight: 2,970 pounds
Fuel capacity: 13.2 gallons
City: 30 mpg
Highway: 40 mpg
Base price: $22,995
Web site:

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