• VW replacing 2.5-liter 5-cylinder with 1.8-liter turbo 4-cylinder
  • Power stays the same, but gas mileage increases
  • Sporty R-Line trim also expanding for 2014

Volkswagen is changing its lineup for the 2014 model year. The automaker recently announced a host of updates for 2014, including a new engine and an expanded R-Line trim.

The biggest update is an all-new engine. VW says its new 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder will replace today's 2.5-liter 5-cylinder in the Jetta, Beetle and Passat. The new engine will make 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, roughly the same output as the outgoing 2.5-liter powerplant.

But if power and torque numbers are the same, why is VW switching engines? The answer is easy: gas mileage. The brand says the new engine, installed in the Jetta, will boost fuel economy by 1 mile per gallon in the city (to 25 mpg) and a whopping 5 mpg on the highway. That raises highway gas mileage from 31 mpg to 36 mpg.

Fuel economy also increases in the Passat. VW's midsize sedan will see 2 mpg more in the city, for a total of 24 mpg, while highway gas mileage increases by 3 mpg, to 34 mpg. The Beetle's gas mileage improvements have not yet been announced.

In addition to the new engine, Volkswagen is also expanding its sporty R-Line trim. Today, the trim is offered only on the CC sedan and the hardtop Beetle. But by the end of the year, VW says it will have R-Line versions of the Beetle Convertible, Touareg and Tiguan.

Other updates to the VW lineup for 2014 are minor. The main one is that base-level Jetta models will gain a new multi-link rear suspension system borrowed from the sporty Jetta GLI. That likely means an improved ride compared to today's car.

Volkswagen says its updated 2014 models will start appearing on dealer lots over the next few months.

What it means to you: VW's updates for 2014 are aimed at both fuel-conscious shoppers and those looking for a sporty ride.

author photo

Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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