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Heels On Wheels: 2014 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Review +VIDEO

2014 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

The 2014 Volkswagen Jetta regains lost following by focusing on what it the brand has always done does best: provide drivers with sporty German engineering. That means powertrain choices; such as a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine; and also a favorite like the 140-horsepower 2-liter TDI Clean Diesel engine with 236 pound-feet of torque and a fuel economy of 34 miles-per-gallon combined.

I drove a 2014 Volkswagen Jetta with the 2-liter TDI Clean Diesel engine. Available in a wide array of trims, options and engines, my TDI entry-level test drive came with the following standard equipment: XM radio; Bluetooth; leatherette upholstery; leather steering wheel with mounted controls; a Media Device Interface screen; heated front seats; and sixteen-inch wheels. Price as described came to $23,625.

For 2014, the new turbocharged1.8-liter engine is the main headliner along with the availability of VW Car-Net connected services. Competition includes other affordable and stylish gas-saving sedans like the Chevrolet Cruze and Honda Civic Hybrid.


Stylish But Comfortable Results: Black leatherette upholstery gives the interior its gloss, supported by a straightforward center stack, yet it’s not as modern as many competitors with limited climate controls dials that age the design. The Media Device Interface is just a smallish digital readout screen. There are many options that can make the TDI more appealing such as a sunroof, touchscreen premium audio, a rearview camera, and navigation. Credit goes to the truck space with a wide enough opening to easily fit awkward-shaped objects like large tricycles. Rear loading for car seats and kids is another high point with sufficient legroom for the front passenger. Two kid seats will fit comfortably in the rear seats.

Reliability & Safety Factor: Standard safety equipment includes Intelligent Crash Response System, front and rear disc brakes, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, and anti-slip regulation. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the 2014 VW Jetta TDI ratings of “Good” in all areas omitting the small overlap front which earned a score of just “Marginal.” You can view crash test images for the Jetta TDI on their website.

Cost Issues: One of the highlights of the Jetta is its affordability at a base cost of $16,720 – but this only gets you the 115-horspower 2-liter four-cylinder engine with power mirrors, keyless entry and a CD player. If you want a Jetta with all the proper fixings like a decent performing engine, navigation, an upgraded Fender sound system and nicer seventeen-inch wheels, I would opt for the Jetta TDI (that does have a cost of $26,795). The Hybrid SE runs $27,645 and the sportier GLI Autobahn with the extras is $28,885.

Activity & Performance Ability: Having also test-driven the new turbocharged 170-horsepower 1.8-liter TSI engine, the TDI exhibited a much wider degree of confidence and gusto on the open road but suffered from very noticeable stop-start lag. One of the attractions – as well as downfalls – to the Jetta is the numerous engine choices. You can opt for the all-new turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine; my 140-horsepower 2-liter TDI Clean Diesel engine; a 210-horsepower 2-liter TSI engine with a sportier steering wheel and suspension; or a hybrid with a 170-horsepower 1.4-liter gas-powered four-cylinder engine combined with an electric motor.

The Green Concern: The TDI Clean Diesel the second-best fuel economy of all Jetta engines at 30-city/42-highway; with the Hybrid netting 42-city/48-highway.

FINAL PARTING WORDS The 2014 Volkswagen Jetta TDI meets the demands of shoppers who are equally brand, budget and performance-conscious with the extra perk being modern diesel technology. Yet too many engine choices and packaging discord can make your final selection feel difficult, an ultimately not as affordable as hoped.

2014 Katrina Ramser