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2015 Volkswagen Jetta - What's New Is What You Don't Always See +VIDEO

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2015 Volkswagen Jetta

By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
The Auto Channel

   • SEE ALSO: Volkswagen Buyers Guide

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2015 Volkswagen Jetta

NEW YORK - April 29, 2014: At the 2014 New York International Auto Show, Volkswagen unveiled the renewed Jetta. The model is subtly redesigned, but under the skin there are some important improvements over the current model.

Upgraded Safety Systems
The Jetta is one of Volkswagen’s best-selling models and had always been regarded as an excellent compact family car. Worldwide some 14 million Jettas have been sold since its introduction in 1979. The sixth generation was introduced in 2011 and sold well in 2012. But with the ever increasing competition from the Japanese and Korean brands, the Jetta got a bit behind, especially with respect to new safety technology and driver assistance systems.

Well, that is made up for in the 2015 model. The new renewed Jetta gets an upgrade of the safety systems, including park assist, blind spot detection, and front collision warning. The blind spot detection option is always combined with the rear cross-traffic alert system.

Better Aerodynamics For Lower CO2 Emissions
The exterior changes consist of a new front grille with three blades, a new bumper and front fascia with horizontal blades running from one side to the other. At the rear we see a new trunk lid, taillights and bumper. The measures give the Jetta a more modern and active stance. The redesign furthermore resulted in just over half an inch longer length and just over an inch lower height.

No less important is that the changes also improve aerodynamics and resulted in a 10 percent reduced drag. Most significant is the trunk lid with its integrated spoiler that runs into the rear fenders, while up front the airflow is improved.

Another aerodynamic feature is the automatically opening and closing shutter in the radiator grille, which is specific for the Jetta 1.8 TSI with 125 kW/170 hp and the 2.0 TDI Clean Diesel with 110 kW/150 hp.

With a closed shutter, the warm-up time of the engine is shortened. This has an effect on fuel economy and CO2 emissions.. The shutter opens based on engine speed and cooling demand of the engine, air conditioning, etc.

The new Jetta is offered with optional bi-xenon cornering headlamps and LED daytime running lights and tail lights.

More Upscale Interior

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2015 Volkswagen Jetta
In the cabin of the compact sedan, the changes are subtle as well. Except for the lower level trim, the gauges are framed in tubes with chrome rims, chrome edged radiator vents, piano black accents in the center console and around the shift lever, new seat designs and new fabric colors. A color multifunction display is an option, just like the multifunction steering wheel. The latter offers a welcome improvement for operating the cruise control. All versions (the Base, S, SE, SEL,GLI or Hybrid SEL) are equipped with a 40/60 split rear bench. Up to six airbags are standard and include two new designed head-thorax airbags.

What You Do Not Notice
The Volkswagen engineers have been quite busy to meet the new requirements for the IIHS frontal small overlap test. This means that in a near frontal crash the forces will not be distributed through the longitudinal chassis beams, but will hit the foot well of the cabin instead. The construction of the foot well has been changed and reinforced in order to withstand a crash and intrusion of less than 100 mm (4 inches).

Updated 2.0-liter Clean Diesel
Volkswagen would not be Volkswagen if the opportunity would introduce a more fuel efficient engine is not taken. Renewed for the 2015 Jetta is the 2.0-liter Clean Diesel with 110 kW/150 hp, which is 10 hp more than the current version with a 6 per cent lower fuel consumption. According to VW it should use, in combination with a manual transmission, 32/45/37 mph (town/highway/combined). Combined with the 6-speed automatic dual-clutch (DSG) transmission (DSG) this is 31/44/36 mpg.

The 236 pound-feet of torque is already available at 1,750 rpm up to 3,000 rpm. This engine is the first of the new generation modular diesel system (MDB) that is available in the US.

CrossBlue Variant Will Arrive In 2016
Jetta buyers can also chose the base engine, a 115 hp 2.0-four-cylinder, or the sportier 1.8- and 2.0-liter turbo engines with 170 hp and 210 hp respectively. Available transmissions are the 5 and 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic, and a 6-speed DSG. There is also a 1.4-liter turbo hybrid, that is combined with a 7-speed DSG (double clutch) transmission. The 2015 Jetta is expected to reach North-American dealerships in the third quarter of this year.

Customers may also be tempted to wait for the CrossBlue, now called the Golf SportWagon. A concept for the CrossBlue was presented next to the new Jetta at the show in New York. However, this variant is not expected to be introduced on the market before 2016.

Pricing for the 2015 Jetta has not been announced yet.