In previous generations, the Volkswagen Jetta offers a European driving experience and sustainable improvements. In its iteration, the 2018 Jetta is about size, spacious cabins and trunk are prominent features. Improvements and fun can no longer be found. It’s like Volkswagen finally gave up and traded the Jetta’s unique values for generic attributes in an attempt for mass-market appeal.
Surely, having a spacious interior is a good thing. And the 2018 Jetta offers a choice of turbocharged engines that provide strong acceleration and respectable fuel economy. But your choices for small sedans abundant, and many of them are better than the Jetta in terms of features, handling and style.
It seems that Volkswagen will completely redesign the Jetta for the 2019 model year. Meanwhile, it’s advisable to look at other models like the Mazda 3, Kia Forte and Honda Civic. The VW Golf hatchback is a more desirable option as well.
The 2018 Jetta receives only minor changes. There are two new trim levels: Wolfsburg Edition and SE Sport. The GLI trim drops the manual transmission option. Exterior changes are also subdued, with several trims receiving a new chrome grille and various new wheel designs.
Trim levels and features
The 2018 Volkswagen Jetta is a five-passenger four-door sedans that available in six trim levels: S, Wolfsburg Edition, SE, SE Sport, SEL and GLI.
Standard equipment for the base S model includes 16-inch aluminum wheels, heated side mirrors, manual seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, 60/40-split rear seats, cloth upholstery, a rearview camera, a 5-inch touchscreen interface, a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB port. The S optional Cold Weather package adds windshield washer nozzles and heated front seats.
The new Wolfsburg Edition trim is largely similar to the S trim but also adds foglights, windshield washer nozzles, heated front seats, driver lumbar, simulated leather upholstery, a backseat pass-through, a leather-wrapped transmission selector knob and parking brake cover.
The SE trim adds keyless ignition and entry, blind-spot monitoring, a sunroof, color-keyed mirrors and chrome side window trim, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration and a 6.3-inch touchscreen. The SE Sport get more powerful engine along with 17-inch wheels, a trunklid spoiler, gloss black cabin trim, a black headliner and roof.
The SEL models add automatic headlights, adaptive cruise control, automatic wipers, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power-adjustable driver seat, a cooled glovebox, navigation and a premium Fender sound system.
The 2018 Volkswagen Jetta GLI gets a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, 18-inch wheels, larger brakes, unique body and cabin trimmings, sport seats, a unique steering wheel with shift paddles, parking alerts and a self-dimming mirror. Oddly, adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking is not available.
The 2018 Volkswagen Jetta is front-wheel-drive and offers three engine choices. The S, Wolfsburg Edition and SE models are powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder rated at 150 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional.
In performance testing, the 2018 Volkswagen Jetta SE accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds, which is pretty quick for a sedan with the base engine. EPA fuel economy stands at 32 mpg combined (28 city/38 highway) with the automatic and 33 mpg combined (28 city/40 highway) with the manual.
The 2018 Jetta SEL gets a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine good for 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. This engine only available with a six-speed automatic only. In track testing, the Jetta SEL went to 60 mph from zero in 7.4 seconds, topped only by a few, very quick competitors. EPA estimated fuel economy at 28 mpg combined (24 city/33 highway).
The 2018 Jetta GLI has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 210 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed dual-clutch automatic (called DSG) are standard. EPA fuel economy rating at 27 mpg combined (24 city/33 highway).
Today, most compact sedans feature interiors with edgy accents and shapes, a fair level of material quality, and many tech features, all of which to attract young buyers who are interested in these cars. Contrary to the Jetta cabin that looks very traditional and feels a bit cheap. For example, lower trims are flooded with hard and shiny plastic, which has become the past of other brands except for the most price-conscious models. Rivals like the Mazda 3, Honda Civic, and even the Volkswagen Golf hatchback offer a more attractive, higher-quality materials and soft-touch interior.
The 2018 Volkswagen Jetta is also good in technology. There are two touchscreen sizes available, with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration and VW-related convenience and service packages. The interface is sharp, easy to use, and offers a standard USB port for wired smartphone connections.
In terms of interior space, the 2018 Jetta is one of the best. The spacious rear seats dwarf almost every other compact sedan and hatchback, while the 15.5 cubic feet of trunks capacity rival the midsize sedan. If you can ignore some poor material work and appreciate a lot of interior space, the 2018 Volkswagen Jetta is a good choice.
Release Date and Price
The official price for the base Jetta S starting at $19,495 (include $850 destination fee). The new Wolfsburg Edition starts at $21,195. The SE starts at $22,095, while the SE Sport price of $24,095. The SEL is priced at $27,095 and the top-of-the-range GLI cost $30,395.