2014 VW Jetta TSI Highline
1.8L I4 Turbo (TSI)
170 @ 6200
184 @ 1500
48m (Winter Tires)
8.2 / 5.6
The return of the 1.8T in the Jetta lineup can only be good news especially when with it it brings back the multilink rear suspension and soft materials on the dash.
The sixth generation VW Jetta has been a huge success despite being a cheapened version of its upmarket European version. VW however, who is by nature an upmarket manufacturer, reinvested and delivered a much improved Jetta for 2014.
The exterior remains exactly the same as last year’s, which means the conservative yet classy looks are still there. Especially in the Toffee Brown with the Cornsilk Beige leather trim, our Highline test car looked very similar to the much bigger Passat.
As mentioned, the biggest news comes from under the hood as the 1.8T, or TSI (Turbo Stratified Injection) is now a very sweet option. Prices with this engine start at $22,290 for a manual TSI Comfortline and climb up to $26,890 for the TSI Highline with the 6-speed Tiptronic gearbox. Our test vehicle also came with the technology package, which adds another $1,570 to the price (total $28,460).
Equipment-wise, all the essentials are there but even the top of the range Highline with the additional tech package onboard still falls short to impress. You do get all the safety gear, good quality leather seats and steering wheel, a quality Fender audio system, navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, heated seats and a set of very nice 17″ rims. It’s sad that the auto climate control is only available on the GLI and the absence of automatic lights and wipers also seems odd.
The interior design is simplistic and even more conservative than the exterior. It might not impress with its design, but the aura of quality is back thanks to the return of the soft materials. Its proven ergonomics were nothing the practical Germans wanted to mess with and as such did no radical changes. Fit and finish are above class average but the door panels and centre console unfortunately kept last year’s very hard plastics. The front seats are anatomically great and support the body well, while all the basic adjustments are available. When it comes to height and reach adjustment of the steering column, VW is second to none as it offers the broadest travel. Space in the front is very good and it is the same for the back too. The width, legroom and headroom in the back are enough to accommodate three adults reasonably comfortable while the trunk is big enough to fit a couple more… suitcases that is. At 440lt, it is the class leader.
On the road, one will immediately identify and enjoy the quiet and refined ride. Road noise is suppressed well and rolling quality is good. The suspension operation is quiet and quite comfortable on the majority of surfaces. At the same time, handling is also very linear, predictable and forgiving. The initial turn-in reaction is not too sensitive making the Jetta very easy to drive for everyone. The body is controlled well and will rarely give the driver a scare. The new multilink rear suspension has improved the vehicle’s dynamics even though it feels somewhat dry compared to the Golf. The stability control cannot be deactivated but thankfully, it only kicks in when mandatory. The steering feels good and there is no dead-zone around the centre and as you turn at speed, it gains even better weight.
The 1.8T engine is new thus there is no 1.8T decal on the car, but there is a TSI one. It is a real gem, as this turbocharged direct injection 4-cylinder motor feels like it is running on whip cream. It delivers very good power; 170 BHP and 184lb-ft of torque available at just 1,500 rpm. 0-100 km/h is done in 7.5 seconds which is noticeably quicker than in the old 2.5L. It is very smooth, linear and pulls well no matter the gear selected by the Tiptronic 6-speed auto box which is most of the time also very smooth and quick between shifts. Stop-and-go traffic or indecisive gas pedal attacks can sometimes confuse it but in sport mode, it is a lot better. Oddly, fuel economy is not affected at all so keep it in “S” for the best experience. During our test, we averaged 9.3lt/100km and considering that 60% of those km where in the city and that it runs fine on regular unleaded, the result was rather good.
The brake pedal is progressive and requires the right amount of power to travel, but its return is a bit noisy (perhaps an issue with only the specific vehicle). Put to the test, the brakes showcased solid performance. Due to icy conditions, our 100-0km/h of 48m is meaningless.
The Jetta was and continues to be one of the best compact sedans one can buy. Refinement, practicality and comfort levels were the reasons to get one but you can now add handling and a truly wonderful TSI engine. You will be asked to pay a bit more and seem to get a bit less compared to some rivals, but remember, the badge is worth something too.
Brake Pedal Feel