The original Beetle might have made Volkswagen a success in America, but it is the Jetta sedan that sells in the greatest numbers today. For 2014, the popular VW Jetta receives several significant improvements designed to make the best-selling car more sophisticated, fuel-efficient, dynamic to drive, and, Volkswagen hopes, more appealing than ever.
Look at a 2014 Volkswagen Jetta, and you can’t see the changes. Peek under the sheetmetal, though, and it becomes obvious that the 2014 Jetta is a better car than it was last year. For starters, Volkswagen is kicking the simple torsion beam rear suspension to the curb, installing a more sophisticated independent rear suspension that delivers improved ride and handling qualities.
That might be a change about which many buyers won’t care, but everyone can get behind the 2014 Jetta SE and SEL models’ divorce from the unrefined workhorse of a 2.5-liter inline 5-cylinder engine so that it can pursue a more rewarding relationship with a new, more powerful, and more fuel-efficient turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. New electric steering accompanies the turbocharged powerplant, making the technology standard on all Jetta models except the basic S.
Additionally, Volkswagen relocates its Media Device Interface (MDI) from the Jetta’s glove box to the center console, offers a new reversing camera to upper-level versions of the car, and adds an automatic transmission and a navigation system as standard equipment for the SEL model. Volkswagen’s new Car-Net connected services technology is also available for the 2014 Jetta, optional in the Jetta SE and standard for the Jetta SEL, TDI, GLI, and Hybrid models. Car-Net includes a free 6-month trial subscription to services including roadside assistance, Automatic Crash Notification, boundary limit and speed limit alerts, stolen vehicle location tracking, and more.
To find out whether this new-and-improved Jetta formula might help Volkswagen siphon additional sales from class leaders like the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, and Toyota Corolla, I grabbed the keys and hit the road for an hour-long desert drive. The short answer is a qualified “Yes.” If you want the details, continue reading.