Despite looking like the mellow 2014 model, the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T SE is new in (nearly) all the right ways. It rides on a four-wheel independent suspension as Volkswagen terminated the wimpy torsion-beam rear suspension. Rear drum brakes are swapped with (much better) disc brakes. Most notably, the advent of the 1.8-liter turbo is wizard.
Seriously, this is a fantastic engine! The 170 horsepower, turbocharged 1.8-liter, four-cylinder makes 184 lbs-feet of torque way down at 1,500 rpm. There is little to no lag off the line and it pulls all the way to redline with gusto – just like the old 2.0-turbo – but it’s better still. The 2015 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8t SE gets 25 mpg city, 37 mpg highway with an average of 29 mpg. That’s top-notch gas mileage AND you are not penalized by using regular unleaded.
My tester has an excellent, easy to use five-speed manual transmission. I don’t know why VW opted to forgot a six-speed manual (they have an excellent six-speed manual available for the diesel), but they do have an optional six-speed automatic transmission available.
The 2015 Volkswagen Jetta starts at $17,345 (that’s with the 115 hp, normally aspirated 2.0-liter) with the 1.8T starting at $18,995. My 2015 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T SE total MSRP is $20,810. That’s impressive given how expensive a car like this would have been just a few years back.
According to Volkswagen, this is what you get with the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T SE:
- 16″ Sedona alloy wheels
- Bluetooth® with audio streaming with compatible devices
- Media Device Interface (MDI) with iPod® cable*
- Sound system with MP3- and WMA-compatible CD player, AM/FM radio
- SiriusXM® Satellite Radio with 3-month trial subscription
- Manual air-conditioning
- Cruise control
- Multi-function steering wheel
- Push-button start
- Multi-function trip computer featuring trip time, trip length, average trip speed, average trip fuel consumption, current fuel consumption, miles to empty, speed warning, current speed, and temperature
- Heated front seats
- Front seats, 6-way manually adjustable”
*= Please note: this iPod cable is for the older iPod units. For some odd reason, Volkswagen has NO standard USB ports. Odd decision and one that will not go over well with their target demographic.
This car is a blast!
Driving the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T SE is very rewarding. Credit goes to the beautifully setup, four-wheel independent suspension for returning a stout corner carver, even with the not-very-sporty 16-inch wheels clad in thick side-wall rubber. Thanks to that thick rubber, the ride is sporty but never harsh. Get the larger wheels, you’ll feel your molars chatter.
Using the five-speed manual transmission aggressively reveals a playful response in the torque-heavy four-banger. Charge into a corner, ease through the apex and let the torque pull you out with a pleasant growl. You’re never going to slow to feel the torque pull. Nice.
The chassis is well sorted and the steering feel, though not very communicative, is pretty precise. It’s nicely weighted too. After a day or two, you’ll know exactly where there front wheels are and what they are doing.
The 2015 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T SE is a IIHS Top Safety Pick+3 and a NHTSA 5-star overall crash test rating vehicle. Impressive.
Well, once again, its rather disappointing that there are no standard USB ports. The interior seating is comfortable; however, there is still a massive, hard plastic swath that bookends the rear seats.
The massive trunk (15.7 cubic feet) looses some of its capacity with cheap, rather large hinges that noticeably intrude.
Without a doubt, the largest disappointment is the exterior update. Volkswagen missed an opportunity to make this car truly stand out. As nice as the underpinnings are, if the exterior doesn’t appeal to potentially new customers and fans, it’s going to be hard to entice them. It’s not that the new Jetta is ugly, it’s not – but it’s not striking either.
With that said, there’s enough goodness with this 2015 Volkswagen Jetta to state that it is one of the most rewarding cars in its class and price-range. Yep, it’s that good.
Check out this fun video!