2015 Volkswagen Jetta SEL

Built to last - while making a lasting impression
March 8, 2015 Updated: March 8, 2015

German engineering is at its best when describing the 2015 Jetta. Engineering craftsmanship places importance on fundamentals, and at the same time pays careful attention to the details.

You have multiple considerations when it comes to engine choices. There is a 2.0L gasoline engine that delivers 210 hp, and then there is a 2.0 L TDI clean diesel turbo engine delivering 150 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. Finally there is the lively 1.8 L light-weight turbo gasoline engine delivering 170 hp and 184 lb-ft torque that powered my test vehicle.

The gauges of the Jetta are arranged in a sport cluster. By design the driver is closer to the whole driving experience. Sit back and enjoy the experience with the 6-speed automatic transmission while feeling the curvature of the road with the multi-function sporty steering wheel.

The rearview camera allows you to see what is behind you when backing up or parallel parking. The available Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert displays warns you of moving and still objects behind you, which is quite handy while backing up.

The 5-inch Touchscreen Navigation system gives you turn-by-turn directions to anywhere you want to go, whether across the country or around the block.

Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity lets you to make calls and stream music while keeping your hands on the wheel.

Inside, the Jetta SEL is somewhat roomy, allowing you sufficient rear seat leg room. The 60/40 split-folding rear seats with folding center armrest, cup holders and pass-through complements the 15.5 cubic feet of space in the trunk.

One of the impressive features was HomeLink. This system allows you to open and close compatible garage doors and front gate, and to turn your home’s security system, lighting, or other compatible devices on and off. What a joy to use when a good portion of Texas was covered with ice and snow accompanied by blistering frigid winds this week.

Protecting you is the number one priority for VW. The 2014 Jetta was the top safety pick for the IIHS when equipped with Forward Collision Warning (optional). While passive safety devices like steel safety cage frame, adaptive airbags, Intelligent Crash Responsive System (ICRS), and active safety features such as six stability-enhancing systems and Tire Pressure Monitor System are all standard VW equipment.

Jetta is designed beautifully on the outside.

The Jetta line comes in nine exterior colors plus two cloth and four V-Tex leatherette choices for the interior. The SEL is limited to five exterior colors and two leatherette interiors, and my SEL had the Platinum Gray Metallic exterior and the Titan Black Leatherette interior.

Jetta models with the 1.8 L turbo engine have an EPA fuel economy of 25 mpg city and 37 mpg highway for a combined 30 mpg. My driving experience gave me 27 mpg. The 2.0 L NA gas engine is rated at 25/34/28 and the TDI Clean Diesel is rated at 31/46/36.

My Jetta had plenty of torque, smooth on the straight-away and tight on the curves. It was comfortable both in front and back. I would have liked a little more strength in the steering wheel and weight in the front doors.

Manufacturer’s suggested retail price was $25,380. Options packages include a $995 Lighting Package with various upgrades to head lights, fog lights, and interior ambient lighting, plus a $695 Driver Assistant Package with items like Forward Collision Warning and Blind Spot Monitor.

Jetta is designed beautifully on the outside. The test Jetta had Bi-Xenon headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights, side mirrors with integrated turn signal, LED taillights and fog lights, all resting very comfortably on 18-inch alloy wheels.

Additional standard features
Cruise control
Two 12 V aux power outlets
SiriusXM Satellite Radio
Power locks and windows
Intermittent windshield wipers

Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or dcaussey@sbccglobal.net