“2017 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T SEL Premium”
VW’s Best Selling Sedan Further Refined
The Jetta has remained Volkswagen’s best-selling car, after the sixth generation vehicle was first introduced in the U.S. marketplace as a 2011 model. Not one to rest on their laurels, the German automaker strives continuously to improve upon its products and the 2016 Volkswagen Jetta was no exception with the addition of a third powertrain – a 1.4T, DOHC, 16-valve turbocharged/intercooled inline four-cylinder with direct injection TSI® engine that delivers 150 horsepower at 5,000 rpm along with 184 pound feet of torque at 1,400 rpm, with an EPA fuel economy rating of 28 mpg city and 39 mpg highway (up to 40 mpg with a manual gearbox).
As with its larger sibling, the Passat, the 2016 Volkswagen Jetta replaced the 2.5-liter, five-cylinder engine in the SE and SEL trim levels with a new EA888 Gen 3 1.8T four-cylinder engine that delivered the same horsepower (170) hp, along with 184 pound feet of torque for a plus of 7 lb-ft., while offering an increase of 5 mpg in EPA estimated highway fuel economy with a six-speed automatic transmission. EPA estimates for the turbocharged, injected, 1.8T four-banger are 25 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, running on regular unleaded gasoline. On Jetta 1.8T models, the radiator grille features a closeable shutter, which assists in improving aerodynamics and fuel efficiency, as well as offering greater thermal control of the engine.
The powertrain variants range from frugal to sporty in nature: in addition to the new 1.4-liter engine, there’s a 150 horsepower 2.0-liter TDI 4-cylinder; and the170 horsepower 1.8T four cylinder.
The 2017 Volkswagen Jetta model line-up has been simplified and now consists of only four models: the S; SE; SEL and GLI.. There’s also a Jetta Hybrid in SEL Premium trim available. A 1.8T Sport model will return to the lineup later in the model year.
The new Jetta delivers “Class-up appeal” a term coined by marketing “suits”, which is the practice of providing more content for at a lower cost. The 2017 VW Jetta is essentially a carryover from last year’s complete redesign, while adding value and content along with the more fuel-efficient 1.4-liter engine.
Up front, the windscreen displays a coupe-like incline, with the consistent use of horizontal lines defining the Jetta’s fresh, flowing design. The grille’s horizontal blades, together with the blades in the lower intake, were designed to make the Jetta appear wider and more dynamic.
Volkswagen brand head of design, Klaus Bischoff and his team created a pronounced character line to break-up the tall body sides that is referred to as a “tornado” line, which cuts through the large body-side surfaces, running as a sharp crease from the rearmost edge of the headlight, along beneath the windows, and fading as it reaches the rear lights. The base of the doors is eased outwards to add visual weight to the lower part of the vehicle and to impart a sense of the car being ‘planted’ to the road. The pronounced wheel arches also contribute to the visual sense of width and weight, and there is an integrated spoiler lip added to the trailing edge of the deck lid.
Moving to the interior, VW’s Media Device Interface (MDI) cable is in the center console and a new infotainment has been added for the 2016 model year, which is the first to support all three available connected car systems: Apple CarPlay®, Android Auto™, and MirrorLink. The new MIB II system offers USB and VW Car Net® App-Connect, providing owners with these systems to access select apps from their smartphones directly through the vehicle’s head unit. VW Car-Net’s connected vehicle services umbrella also includes advanced telematics and enhanced navigation available by subscription. Touchscreens vary in size by model. All models come with Automatic Post-Collision Braking System
My test 2017 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T was in SEL Premium trim n, and came with a Platinum Gray metallic exterior and sporting a Titan Black Ldeatherette interior. The base sticker was set at $26,995, which came to $27,815. after adding the Destination charge.
SUMMARY: Driving the 2017 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T SEL Premium provides an experience that is quite pleasant. The quality of the ride is very comfortable without being either too soft or too firm. Handling attributes will fall into the Sporty column for some, with a pleasing level of agility noted during spirited maneuvers.
The standard equipment and features inventory is most impressive, including a host of safety oriented technology, as well as comfort and convenience items.
Safety features for the 2017 Volkswagen Jetta include: driver and front passenger front and side thorax airbags and Side Curtain Protection® airbags front and rear. There is also a standard suite of advanced electronic safety aids, such as Anti-lock Braking, Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution, Electronic Stability Control, and Hydraulic Brake Assist. Volkswagen’s Intelligent Crash Response System reacts instantly in a collision when the airbags are deployed, unlocking the doors, turning off the fuel pump, and activating the car’s hazard lights. The 2017 VW Jetta is covered under the no-charge Carefree Maintenance Program, with scheduled maintenance covered for two years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first.
In the final scheme of things, the 2017 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T SEL Premium is an attractive, if not necessarily emotionally stirring, and affordable four-door sedan. It takes a definitive step in the right direction toward a more efficient vehicle. As Volkswagen’s best-selling vehicle to date, it is surely destined to continue in its title role, with its extensive model selection offerings, where there should be something to please nearly everyone falling into a range from frugality to sportiness in nature.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2017 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T SEL Premium
Base Price: $26,995.
Price as Tested: $27,815.
Engine Type and Size: 1.8-liter, DOHC, 16-valve turbocharged/intercooled inline four-cylinder with direct injection TSI®
Horsepower (bhp): 170 @ 4,800 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 184 @ 1,500 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic with manual shift capability.
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / Front-wheel drive.
Suspension: Four-wheel independent
Front – Strut-type with lower control arms, coil springs, telescopic dampers and anti-roll bar.
Rear – Multi-link with coil springs, telescopic dampers and anti-roll bar.
Brakes: Power assisted, dual circuit four-wheel discs (vented front) with standard four-wheel, three-channel ABS with electronic brake pressure distribution, EBD and ESC.
Tires: Continental ProContact 225/45 R17 91H M&S mounted on 5-“double-spoke, Silver painted alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 104.4 inches
Length Overall: 183.3 inches
Width: 70.0 inches
Height: 57.2 inches
Curb Weight: 3,177 lbs.
Turning Circle: 36.4 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 14.5 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 25 mpg city / 35 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.30
0 – 60 mph: Not tested.
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.