“While it might not be everyone’s first choice in colour, the Jetta diesel’s Toffee Brown Metallic looks like a cold glass of root beer on wheels.” (more…)

“At first glance the 2015 Jetta looks like a warmed over update but below the surface is substantial change…”

Volkswagen has had an impressive ride here during the past few years, gaining market share and selling record numbers of cars – its best-selling car being the Jetta.

When the last VW Jetta was introduced in 2011, it represented a major shift in the company’s sales philosophy. The decision was to make a larger sedan, yet drop the price to compete right in the heart of Canada’s compact segment, our largest sales category. With a starting price under $15,000 the Jetta is the biggest car in the compact class, offering a gateway into owning a German car, yet having the space and comfort North Americans expect. For 2015 VW continues with the same philosophy but ups the ante to include new engines, styling and interior amenities.


It would be easy to overlook the substantial updates to this new Jetta because the exterior tweaks are so subtle they need pointing out. The front grille, bumper and headlamps have all been replaced to include a bigger air opening and LED marker lights, plus xenon headlights are available. The back also receives a minor update that includes a new bumper, trunk and tail lamps. With a starting price of $14,990, the Trendline comes with hubcaps on 15-inch wheels. The midlevel $20,090 Comfortline can be equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels and the $25,490 Highline is fitted with 17-inch alloys. Then there are the TDI diesel versions that range from $22,490 to $27,790. Volkswagen has a wide range of prices, equipment and engine choices to suit. The most popular is the Trendline Plus at $17,190 that includes the must have…heated front seats!


What isn’t obvious on first inspection is just how far the Jetta interior has come unless you know the previous model. It was a practical car but hardly luxurious or even sporty – spartan might be a good word. That has all changed with the new 2015 model thanks to new switches and dials that looks and feel first rate. The upper dash on all but the base Trendline is now fitted with soft-touch materials and the base model even comes with a 6.5-inch touchscreen that also doubles as a backup camera. Bluetooth is optional on the Trendline plus but becomes standard on Comfortline and above. The top highline features leather, a bigger 8-inch screen and push button start. What all Jetta’s come standard with is a huge back seat, massive trunk and plenty of room side-to-side. This really is a mid-size car that starts at a compact car price.


The drive event for the all-new Jetta was held in Middleburg Virginia, which I later discovered is in the wealthiest county in the United States. Huge homes on rolling farms, with stone fences and colonial designs reminds visitors that this is historic country; Middleburg witnesses action during the Gettysburg campaign of the American Civil War.

The Salamander Resort was the backdrop for the introduction, an equestrian themed luxury resort that would make any new car look good. Surrounding it are rolling hills and winding roads, a perfect place to exercise the new suspension and engines in the Jetta. The previous car was recently updated to a full independent suspension and that carries over, as do disc brakes on all four wheels. The big news is a new 1.8L direct injection, turbocharged 4-cylinder with 170hp but an impressive 185 lb.-ft of torque. Speaking of torque, the new TDI diesel engine pumps out a whopping 236 lb-ft of torque and now comes with “AdBlue” exhaust after treatment to improves tailpipe emissions by forty percent.


After driving both the new engines back to back I’d be hard pressed to choose. I love the torque of the diesel and the impressive efficiency. (It is rated at just 6.7L/100km in the city and 4.7L on the highway.) But the new turbo gasoline engine is a more spirited unit provides a more enthusiastic experience. This engine delivers 8.1L/100km in the city and 5.6L on the highway. If I drove a lot, the diesel would be the way to go, but for more, fun the new 1.8L is impressive. Still in the mix is the old 2.0L 4-cylinder with 115hp offered in all Trendline and Comfortline models. This engine has been around since Moses was a boy, but it is a proven engine and offers a great starting price.

At first glance the 2015 Jetta looks like a warmed over update but belowunder the surface is substantial change. The highlights are the new interior and wonderful optional engines. Diesel or gas? – That’s a tough decision.

Contact: zack [dot] spencer [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

The Lowdown

Power: 2.0L with 115hp, 1.8L with 170hp and 2.0L diesel with 140hp.

Fill-up: 8.1L/5.6L/100km (city/highway)

Sticker price: $14,490-$27,790

A near-new Volkswagen Jetta can be an excellent purchase for buyers who want a compact sedan that offers Euro style, performance, heritage and flair…

Volkswagen introduced a bigger and made-in-America Jetta for the 2011 model year and in doing so it profoundly altered its sales position.

It was no longer fringe a “Golf with a trunk” but a mainstream stand-alone model. Moving to Mexico allowed VW to slash the start price for the 2011 Jetta by a whopping $6,300, in Canada, compared to the previous year edition. And it has certainly paid-off in terms of sales. Last year (2013), VW Canada sold more than twice as many Jetta models than it did in 2010 and the Jetta’s sales position jumped from eleventh to sixth in the highly competitive small car segment.

Used Jetta buyers should also benefit by getting to choose from a larger pool of previously owned Jetta models on the market. On the downside, this generation Jetta has lost some of its Germanic-built prestige, in the eyes of VW purists.

The redesigned 2011 Jetta’s longer wheelbase allows extra passenger space inside a cabin that boasts best-in-class rear seat legroom, plus its 440-litre trunk is larger than both Honda Civic and Mazda3. Even a base Trendline edition comes with power windows and door locks, 60/60 split folding rear seats, six-way manually adjustable front seats, a height-adjustable telescopic steering wheel, anti-lock brakes and an electronic stability control system.

The entry engine is a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, that can produce 114 horsepower and mated to either a five-speed manual or an optional six-speed (Tiptronic) automatic transmission. Fuel economy is rated at 9.1 L/100km in the city and 6.0 L/100km on the highway.

The other trim levels are Comfortline, Sportline and Highline. A 2.5-litre (170-horsepower) gas engine was optional on Comfortline and standard with Sportline and Highline. This five-cylinder engine is available in numerous VW products and has good low-end power, but sounds a little ragged at the high end of its speed range. Fuel economy is rated at 9.9 in the city and 6.2 L/100km on the highway.

The TDI edition is a popular choice with Jetta buyers. It’s powered by a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine and came in Comfortline and Highline trim levels. Like all diesel engines the torque and fuel economy figures are impressive. It’s rated at 236 ft-lbs @ 1,750 rpm and can sip diesel fuel at a rate of 6.7L/100km in the city and 4.6 L/100km on the highway.

Jetta’s big news story for the 2012 model year was the introduction of a high-performance GLI edition. Subtle exterior styling changes wrap a package of go-faster mechanical goodies that includes a turbocharged (200 horsepower) 2.0-litre TSFI engine and a fully-independent multi-link rear suspension.

Notable standard features in GLI include its dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry and push-button start/stop and a unique flat-bottomed three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel. Surprisingly, the GLI is more fuel frugal (8.8/6.1 L/100 km – city/highway) than the other gas engine versions of Jetta. However, it likes premium fuel.

The 2013 model year brought numerous minor trim changes to Jetta, but a new Hybrid edition was the big introduction. Jetta Hybrid is powered by a full-hybrid system that can run in a pure electric mode. Its E-driving range is limited to about 2 km, but if used wisely, such as stop-n-go traffic, it’s a terrific fuel saver. Jetta Hybrid’s city/highway fuel rating is 4.6/4.2 L/100km respectively.

Although the 2011 and 2012 model years of Jetta received “Top Safety Pick” ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, it got a “marginal” rating in a new small overlap frontal crash test introduced by the Institute for 2013 model year vehicles. This crash test is designed to replicate an offset collision with another vehicle or an object like a tree or a utility pole.

Overall, a near-new Volkswagen Jetta can be an excellent purchase for buyers who want a compact sedan that offers Euro style, performance, heritage and flair, without a premium price tag.


Price Check: 2011 – 2013 Volkswagen Jetta (May 2014)

Year                    Edition                                                 Expect to Pay Today

2011                  Comfortline                                                $13,000 to $17,000

2012                  Comfortline                                                $15,000 to $19,000

2013                  Comfortline                                                $18,000 to $22,000

Prices vary depending on a used vehicle’s condition, mileage, usage and history. A complete mechanical check should always be performed by a reliable auto technician prior to purchase.


Safety Recalls: 2011 to 2013 Volkswagen Jetta:

2009/2010/2011/2012: The fuel injection lines may crack and cause diesel fuel leakage, on vehicles equipped with a 2.0L TDI (diesel) engine. Dealers will install vibration dampers on the fuel injection lines and replace them, if necessary.

2011: The converter box may be protected by the same fuse as the horn and the anti-theft alarm system. If this fuse gets blown, the converter box may shut-off applications such as the engine management system, lighting system and wipers. Dealers will separate the wiring for the horn and the theft protection horn from the power supply of the converter box, and route the wires to separate fuses.

2011/2012: Stainless steel exhaust tips, sold as over-the-counter accessories, may extend beyond the original length of the factory-installed exhaust pipes. Dealers will inspect and, if necessary, replace the exhaust tips with updated versions.

2012: Jetta GLI models may have been equipped with a Daytime Running Light (DRL) system that can be deactivated. Dealers will reprogram the Body Control Module.

2013: Jetta hybrid models equipped with the direct-shift gearbox may experience electrical shorts and blown gearbox fuses, as a result of corrosion inside the gearbox due to incompatible gearbox lubricant additives. Dealers will replace the existing gearbox lubricant with an updated formulation.

2013/2014: The factory installed block heater may overheat while in use and potentially result in a fire. Dealers will replace the block heater and advise owners to stop using it in the interim.


Contact: bob [dot] mchugh [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

  • Recent Comments

    • Andrew Ross { Enjoyed your Forest of Bowland in the BMW X5M, particularly the photo of the BMW in front of the main part of Stonyhurst College where... }
    • Davd Randall { Bantam designed the Jeep, not Willy's or Ford. The American military gave the original Bantam prototype to Willys and Ford to copy. There is plenty... }
    • Elliott Parodi { All Escalades come with a 6.2-lilter V8 engine that produces 420 horsepower. A six-speed automatic is the only transmission offered and drives the rear wheels.... }
    • Ev { Alexandra is an excellent journalist. }