The 2017 Volkswagen Jetta is a compact sedan that's now been in production since as long ago as 1979, and the current model is part of what is now the sixth-generation that was launched in 2010 as a 2011 model year. While some models in the current VW range stick with one powertrain across all trim levels, there's plenty of choice in the Jetta lineup, and the car remains one of the biggest selling nameplates in VW's history.
There are just four different trims in the 2017 Volkswagen Jetta family, but there are three impressive engines offered across those four trims. The entry model into the Jetta range is the S, and the rest of the lineup progresses upwards through the SE and SEL trims before you get to the excellent GLI at the pinnacle of the Jetta range.
The S and SE trims come standard with a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 150 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque, which is then sent to the front wheels through a five-speed manual or an available six-speed automatic transmission. Moving up to the SEL trim gets a more powerful 1.8-liter turbo-four developing 170 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque that only comes mated to a six-speed automatic. It's not ludicrously faster than the smaller 1.4, but it is a little more confident, refined and sweeter sounding.
To get the ultimate in terms of performance and fun with the 2017 Volkswagen Jetta means choosing the superb GLI, which then gets you an extremely lively 2.0-liter turbo-four that puts as much as 210 horsepower and 207 lb.-ft. of torque at your disposal. This powerplant comes with a choice of its own dual-clutch automatic or a six-speed manual transmission, but it's a lot of fun to drive whichever transmission you opt for.
The Jetta is an extremely practical and versatile car for a compact sedan as it's easily one the largest in its class with room for four adults and a good amount of cargo as well. The upright styling means getting in and out of the Jetta is nice and easy, and rear-seat passengers will enjoy plenty of leg room once they get in. The practical theme also continues to the trunk where there's as much as 15.7 cu.-ft. of available space, to swallow whatever you and your passengers need to take with you.
Although the VW sedan has jettisoned the hybrid option from its lineup this year, there's still some superb fuel economy to be had with its impressive lineup of turbo-fours. A 2017 Volkswagen Jetta with the 1.4-liter engine gets EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 28 mpg in the city, 38 mpg on the highway and 32 mpg combined with the automatic transmission.* There is a small increase on those numbers if you prefer the manual transmission option, which now gets 28 mpg in the city, 40 mpg on the highway and 33 mpg combined.
The 1.8-liter engine and automatic transmission combination is rated at 25 mpg in the city, 36 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg combined, and the 2.0-liter is also impressively efficient with figures of 24/33/27 mpg, respectively, when equipped with an automatic transmission.
*All vehicle mileage based on 2016 EPA mileage estimates. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary, depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.