• Sign in
  • |
  • Sign up

Real-World Review

2014 Volkswagen Jetta SE: Real World Review

RELATED READING
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Acura cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs Infiniti cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION
2014 Volkswagen Jetta

author photo by Doug DeMuro

The latest Volkswagen Jetta debuted for the 2011 model year. In automotive terms, that means the current model is getting old, especially in the crowded compact car segment. So how does the Jetta fare against its rivals? We spent a week with a mid-level 2014 Volkswagen Jetta SE model to find out.

Solid, But Basic

One thought that most of our staffers had when they drove the Jetta was that it felt pretty solid. It's quiet on the highway, the controls don't feel cheap and the Jetta still sounds and drives like a bigger car than most Asian and domestic rivals. That's good news for shoppers interested in a compact car that feels like it has some substance around it.

While it may feel solid, the Jetta is no luxury car. Everyone who drove it mentioned that the interior looked and seemed rather basic. There's no excess style or enjoyment from the controls, and everything seems like it's placed there because it has to be. In other words, there's no real wow factor inside the car.

Bland Elsewhere, Too

That feeling of blandness continues to the outside of the car, where the styling can best be described as simple. We wouldn't call it gorgeous, and we certainly wouldn't call it ugly. Instead, it's a very traditional look that doesn't stand out from the crowd.

The same can be said for the driving experience. Steering feels a little over-assisted, and acceleration is good but not great. Admittedly, the new 1.8-liter turbocharged engine is much better than the outgoing 2.5-liter. Fuel economy is also good but not great, and we were left wondering where the sedan's sixth gear was located, as nearly every rival offers it. Engine noise and road noise were tolerable -- not class-leading, but not at the bottom, either.

Not a Standout

If we were to sum up the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta SE with a few simple words, it would be that it's fine but not excellent. Part of the reason for this is the Jetta's aging design, which has been surpassed by many competitors, including the Ford Focus and Honda Civic (all new for 2012), and the Kia Forte, Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla, which are all-new for 2014.

Another reason the Jetta doesn't stand out is that Volkswagen didn't engineer it to do so. Instead, VW wanted a good, solid car designed to appeal to drivers who are not in search of the latest style or the newest gadget but instead reliable, roomy, affordable transportation. We think the Jetta is just that, but little more.

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SE Sedan
Used 2011 Volkswagen Jetta
$14,994
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2009 Volkswagen Jetta SE
Used 2009 Volkswagen Jetta
$6,995
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2003 Volkswagen Jetta GL
Used 2003 Volkswagen Jetta
$3,999
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2013 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Sedan
Used 2013 Volkswagen Jetta
$17,420
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Close 
2014 Volkswagen Jetta SE: Real World Review