2014 Volkswagen Jetta SE 1.8T Review

By James Hamel on June 3, 2015


2014 Volkswagen Jetta SE 1.8T Review Video

by James Hamel


In this country the tried and true, ever-boxy Volkswagen Jetta needs little introduction to the buying populace. This relatively affordable German sedan has always offered an engaging driving experience, an enormous trunk (you know how much we love those!), terrific fuel efficiency and affordable prices of entry. Well, when Volkswagen last redesigned the Jetta they really went for the gusto with making this German (well, assembled in Mexico but that is neither here nor there since their Puebla facility is truly state of the art) more affordable to buy and sadly went about cost cutting interior plastics which were once a strong suit. (Check out the newly unveiled 2015 Jetta to see how Volkswagen returned its interiors to truly premium in feel.)

But the job of this 2014 VW Jetta was to introduce an all-new 1.8 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder motor good for 170 horsepower/184 lb. feet of torque all while delivering 26 city/36 highway on regular unleaded. During our week with a 5-speed manual transmission equipped Jetta 1.8T we averaged 31 miles per gallon so we were mightily impressed. The most basic Jetta models costing under $17,000 still make do with a geriatric 2.0 liter engine which we recommend you avoid. The 1.8 liter turbo is available with the Beetle, Passat and no doubt soon to be more models so it works just as well with the optional automatic gearbox.

Besides, our SE manual Jetta didn’t even cross $20,000 and it had air conditioning, power windows, door locks and mirrors, cruise control, 8-way power front seats, an AM/FM/CD player with 6-speakers and USB/i-pod integration, Sirius XM satellite radio as well as two years of free maintenance. And yes, it had 15.5 cubic feet of trunk space—plenty of room for bodies, um, we mean groceries. And for not much more you can add features like sporty alloy wheels, Bluetooth, heated front seats and side mirrors, a power sunroof, push-button start, back-up camera and navigation. But honestly, we didn’t miss any of those things in our sub-$20,000 German sport sedan. Yes, readers, it’s back.


What’s it Like to DRIVE the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta SE 1.8 Turbo for a Week? 

Compared to the droning engine note of the 2.5 liter 5-cylinder engine that this 1.8 liter turbo replaces, just the feeling of sportiness with a whole heck of a lot of zip is amplified ten-fold. This is one eager to rev little turbo engine and while the manual only has 5-speeds, they are well chosen and the gearbox easy to manipulate even for a beginner. The 6-speed automatic manages to keep the turbo on the boil just as well, surprisingly so again you will enjoy driving the Jetta no matter which gearbox you pick.

For 2014 Volkswagen also changed the rear suspension back to a fully independent unit and then also replaced the hydraulic power steering system with an electric one. Usually when hydraulic power steering systems get ditched so does any semblance of steering feel but somehow Volkswagen managed to vastly improve the reactions and feel the driver enjoys behind the wheel of the Jetta for 2014. We asked them how and they wouldn’t give up their secret. So instead of worrying about that, enjoy the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta.

Why This Ride? 

– The SE 1.8 Turbo we tested was a bargain at under $20,000 nicely equipped

– Free two years maintenance

– The turbo motor gives you power when you want it, where you want it

– Great fuel economy

– The handling and steering are back to the usual Volkswagen standards.

2014 Volkswagen Jetta SE WTR

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