2017 Volkswagen Jetta

Helps you arrive ahead of schedule
August 27, 2017 Updated: August 27, 2017

There are two specific things that make the 2017 Volkswagen Jetta SE a good buy: a price tag of $20,895 and a fuel consumption of 38 mpg highway.

The 1.4-liter inline four-cylinder turbocharged TSI engine with direct injection and intercooler delivers a peak of 150 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque. Performance is ensured by carrying this power to the wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic and sport mode.

Independent suspension at the four wheels adds to the road-hugging capability, and electromechanical power-assisted, speed-sensitive steering adds to the sporty attitude.

The 2017 Volkswagen Jetta’s 16-inch alloy wheels wrapped in all-season tires contribute to its sleek, athletic stance. Of course, Jetta is built for its fun-to-drive attitude.

The multifunctional steering wheel puts important function controls at the driver’s fingertip.

There are all kinds of perks on the outside. These include halogen head lights and LED daytime running lights, heated and foldable power-adjustable side mirrors, variable intermittent front wipers, and heated front washer nozzles. What really surprised me was the power tilt-and-slide sunroof. All of these are standard features.

Inside, the multifunctional steering wheel puts important function controls at the driver’s fingertips. Manual climate control and heated front seats with manual lumbar support ensure the comfort of the car’s occupants, regardless of the weather.

From the driver's seat of the 2017 VW Jetta. (Courtesy of Volkswagen)
From the driver’s seat of the 2017 VW Jetta. (Courtesy of Volkswagen)

The leather-trimmed steering wheel, handbrake lever, and shift knob are coordinated with the leatherette seating surfaces. These features work together to sustain the look of a quality interior.

The 60/40 split-folding rear seats with center armrest and pass-through, plus integrated cup holders provide additional comfort and convenience. Power windows are standard even with the base model, which is surprising for such an inexpensive car.

Standard on the 2017 Volkswagen Jetta SE is a rear-view camera and blind-spot monitor with rear traffic alert, contributing to better safety. The car’s status and media data is displayed on the Composition Media infotainment system that has a 6.3-inch center-mounted touchscreen housing an AM/FM/HD Radio and CD player. I felt the screen was a little too small.

The test vehicle also had navigation and SiriusXM Satellite Radio. The limited subscription that came with the vehicle had not been renewed, so I couldn’t evaluate either the satellite radio or Sirius-powered navigation features.

The 2017 Volkswagen Jetta seats four very comfortably. The 104.4-inch wheelbase and 70.0-inch width provide a solid base platform for this passenger volume as well as better, stronger, and more solid road handling.

The Jetta handles curves well and is quiet while cornering and on rough roadways, though it needs work on the turning radius though. The 15.7 cubic feet of trunk space is adequate for passenger baggage.

Should you seek a strong, dependable four-passenger car that is user friendly with excellent mileage habits and costs a fair price, then a Volkswagen Jetta may be just what you need to consider.

The 2017 Jetta lineup consists of five trim levels, starting with the $17,895 S model equipped with the above-mentioned 1.4-liter TSI engine. Moving up to the $20,895 SE adds some tech and comfort items, such as sunroof, driver-assist systems, and heated seats.

The $24,995 SEL ups the engine to a 170 horsepower 1.8-liter turbo engine and adds more features including navigation, dual-zone climate control, and power seats.

The range-topping $27,895 GLI further ups the engine to a 210 horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-four, and adds the Fender premium audio system, sport suspension with XDS (Cross Differential System), 18-inch Mallory wheels, and a leather-wrapped multifunction sport steering wheel.

The last remaining model is a performance-oriented 1.8T Sport, carrying a price sticker of $22,175.

3-year/36,000-mile New Vehicle Limited Warranty
5-year/60,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty
3-year/36,000-mile Roadside Assistance
12-year/120,000-mile Limited Warranty Against Corrosion Perforation

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