Author: Steve Allen |

The Jetta has held the crown as the best-selling Volkswagen in America for many years, a title that has continued to this day, thanks to the success of the sixth-generation car, released as a 2011 model.

New for 2017

2017 Volkswagen Jetta GLI © Volkswagen AG

2017 Volkswagen Jetta GLI © Volkswagen AG

The Jetta lineup is simplified in 2017. The base S trim includes a 1.4-liter, 150-horsepower TSI® engine, 16-inch steel wheels as standard, along with a rearview camera, LED DRLs, and two-tone cloth seats. It offers optional 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, and a cold weather package (heated washer nozzles and heatable front seats).

For 2017, the midline SE adds Volkswagen Car-Net® App-Connect connectivity and connected services, a sunroof, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert, 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, KESSY® Keyless access and push-button start, and V-Tex leatherette seats with rear pass-through functionality. The top SEL trim gains a 1.8-liter, 170-hp TSI engine, power driver’s seat; exterior chrome accents; Climatronic® automatic dual-zone climate control; a navigation system, rain-sensing wipers, front foglights; Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist); and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC).

The Jetta GLI is now available in only one trim, with a 2.0-liter, 210-hp TSI engine, standard 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, a navigation system, power driver’s seat, LED taillights, Park Distance Control (Park Pilot), the Fender® Premium Audio System, and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert.


2017 Volkswagen Jetta GLI © Volkswagen AG

2017 Volkswagen Jetta GLI © Volkswagen AG

The Jetta design incorporates clear, precise lines and muscular surfaces to impart a timeless elegance. At the front, the coupe-like incline of the windshield and the consistent use of horizontal lines define the design. The radiator grille features three cross fins. The Daytime Running Lights (DRL) have a distinctive design and unmistakable signature, formed by LEDs arranged in an L-shaped line alongside and beneath the headlamps. The visual band formed by the radiator grille and headlight clusters, as well as the large lower air intake, give the Jetta a substantial appearance. This look is finished off on the SEL and GLI trims with foglights mounted in the outer areas of the bumper.

2017 Volkswagen Jetta GLI © Volkswagen AG

2017 Volkswagen Jetta GLI © Volkswagen AG

On Jetta 1.8T models, the radiator grille has a closeable shutter, a feature which assists in helping improve aerodynamics (by guiding frontal airflow around the body) and fuel efficiency, as well as offering greater thermal control of the engine. By keeping the shutter closed during warm-up, the engine can reach operating temperature faster, after which the shutter is automatically opened and closed as needed.

2017 Volkswagen Jetta GLI © Volkswagen AG

2017 Volkswagen Jetta GLI © Volkswagen AG

The 2017 Jetta features a trunk lid with an aerodynamic trailing edge—an integrated spoiler that lines up with the car’s silhouette near the character line, extending elegantly into the rear fenders. The Volkswagen logo sits just below the trunk lid, flanked by available LED taillights on the GLI trim.

The GLI has a bolder look, highlighted by an aggressive front fascia that incorporates a honeycomb grille and foglights, along with a rear bumper design that has a diffuser and a standard rear spoiler. 2017 Jetta GLI models have 18-inch “Mallory” design aluminum-alloy wheels, shod with standard all-season tires.


2017 Volkswagen Jetta GLI © Volkswagen AG

2017 Volkswagen Jetta GLI © Volkswagen AG

The Jetta features a spacious interior with impressive rear-seat legroom of 38.1 inches. The gently arcing roofline also means more than ample headroom of 37.1 inches for rear-seat passengers. The Jetta also offers 15.5 cubic feet of usable trunk space, which can be increased by folding forward the 60/40-split rear seatback. The rear seatback also includes an available pass-through o help accommodate longer items, like skis.

The instrument cluster gauges are framed in chrome and have a “tunnel” design. Elsewhere, the Jetta offers several optional features based on trim: interior piano black and chrome accents, and ambient lighting.

Even the entry-level Jetta models come well equipped. The Jetta 1.4T S has standard air conditioning, a multifunction steering wheel, cruise control, one-touch auto up/down power windows, power locks with remote keyless entry, Bluetooth® technology for compatible devices, a rearview camera, and power heatable exterior mirrors.

Premium features that are offered on Jetta’s various trims include: a six-way power driver’s seat; a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel; dual-zone automatic climate control; a sunroof; a soft-touch dashboard; V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces; heatable front seats and windshield washer nozzles; rear seat with armrest and trunk pass through; MIB II infotainment with a 6.3-inch touchscreen, USB, and Volkswagen Car-Net App-Connect; KESSY Keyless access with push-button start; and a rearview camera. The well-equipped GLI is treated to front sport seats, the Fender® Premium Audio System, a navigation system, unique red stitching, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert and Park Distance Control (Park Pilot).

2017 Volkswagen Jetta GLI © Volkswagen AG

2017 Volkswagen Jetta GLI © Volkswagen AG

Developed through collaboration between Fender® and Panasonic®, the Fender Premium Audio System cranks 400 watts of power through nine speakers and a trunk-mounted subwoofer to help bring the raw emotion of a live performance to the driving experience.

One of the most technologically advanced features in the 2017 Jetta comes in the form of its MIB II touchscreen infotainment system. The display utilizes a capacitive touch sensor rather than the more common resistive touchscreens that require pressure, enabling gesture controls like swiping and even pinch-zooming.

The entry-level S model features a Composition Color touchscreen radio with a 5.0-inch resistive 400 x 240 color display and a host of standard features including AUX-in, SD card slots, and a USB multimedia interface with compatible Apple iPhone® and iPod® integration, reverse camera display, and Bluetooth technology for compatible devices.

The infotainment system also offers one of the most comprehensive suites of connected vehicle services and features available in the automotive industry today. Features available through the VW Car-Net are divided into three key areas, App-Connect, Security & Service, and Guide & Inform.

App-Connect. The Composition Media unit is available on TSI SE. Incorporating the features from the Composition Color unit, the Composition Media unit adds an 800 x 480 capacitive color touch display with proximity sensor with a 6.3-inch screen. Other standard features include App-Connect smartphone integration, Bluetooth with the ability to send and receive SMS text messages with compatible phones and sync two phones simultaneously, two SD card slots, a JPEG viewer, SiriusXM Radio, HD Radio and support for lossless audio file format (Free Lossless Audio Codec FLAC).

2017 Volkswagen Jetta GLI © Volkswagen AG

2017 Volkswagen Jetta GLI © Volkswagen AG

Higher trim levels (SEL and GLI) feature the Discover Media unit, which captures the features available in the previous two units and adds 2.5D Navigation, one-shot voice destination entry, predicts possible destinations based on often used routes, and Destination Entry with Quick Search and Auto-complete, and Car-Net Guide & Inform.

Security & Service. With the Car-Net Security & Service suite, owners can access their VW remotely through as well as a smartphone app, providing access to the features available from virtually anywhere your mobile device is connected to wireless internet.

Available security related features include Automatic Crash Notification, which can automatically notify an operator who can contact first responders in the event of an collision; Manual Emergency Call, a feature that allows for quick access to customer specialists at the touch of a button; Roadside Assistance, for added peace-of-mind in the event of trouble on the road; and Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance, which uses VW Car-Net Security & Service to assist law enforcement with locating your vehicle in the event that it is stolen.

In addition, Volkswagen Car-Net Security & Service offers layers of convenience, such as remote vehicle access, remote door lock and unlock, remote honk and flash (of lights), last parked location information, and remote status check (doors and windows).

The Car-Net Security & Service also offers Family Guardian, a suite of features that help families. Features including speed alert, which can notify the owner of the vehicle when the preset maximum speed limit is exceeded; and boundary alert, which can alert you if the vehicle has traveled outside of a pre-set virtual boundary.

Diagnostics and maintenance information is also available through VW Car-Net. A Vehicle Health Report allows Volkswagen customers to check to see an overview of vehicle diagnostics. When it’s time for scheduled service, Car-Net Security & Service can not only alert the customer, but also provide a simple way to schedule a dealer visit. It can even identify the closest dealer in case you need a recommendation.

Customers purchasing new Volkswagen models equipped with Volkswagen Car-Net Security & Service connected vehicle services (not including App-Connect) will receive a no-charge trial for six months after purchase. To extend the benefits of this connectivity system, customers can choose from a number of Volkswagen Car-Net payment options: 1 year, for $199; 2 years for $378; 3 years for $540; or, month-to-month, for $17.99.


2017 Volkswagen Jetta GLI © Volkswagen AG

2017 Volkswagen Jetta GLI © Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen pioneered the use of small displacement, highly efficient turbocharged and direct-injection engines in the U.S., starting with the EA113 engine in 2006 Jetta GLI and GTI models. Since then, Volkswagen’s EA888 four-cylinder has helped set the benchmark for small-displacement turbocharged engines.

The 1.4-liter EA211 turbocharged, direct-injection engine in the S and SE models has 150 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, and improves estimated highway fuel economy by more than 15 percent over the 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated engine of the 2015 car. The EPA estimated fuel economy rating is 28 mpg city and 40 mpg highway when equipped with the five-speed manual transmission; with the available six-speed automatic transmission, ratings are 28 city and 38 mpg highway.

The Jetta 1.8T SEL models feature the third-generation EA888 turbocharged and direct-injection four-cylinder engine that is made in Silao, Mexico. This 1.8-liter engine produces 170 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and a broad torque plateau of 184 pound-feet from 1,500 to 4,750 rpm. The EPA estimated fuel economy rating is 25 mpg city and 35 mpg highway when equipped with the available six-speed automatic transmission.

The latest version of the EA888 TSI engine also powers the Jetta GLI model, here in 2.0-liter form. This double-overhead cam, 16-valve, 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine produces 210 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque (achieved with premium fuel). The GLI is also efficient, with EPA estimated fuel economy of 24 mpg city and 33mpg on the highway when equipped with Volkswagen’s fast-shifting DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission.


All 2017 Jetta models are fitted with a strut-type front suspension with coil springs, telescopic dampers, and an anti-roll bar. They also have a sophisticated multilink independent rear arrangement that features three transverse and one longitudinal link per wheel. This enables the longitudinal and transverse dynamics to be precisely configured almost independently of each other. The result is more agile, responsive and precise handling. All 2017 Jetta models have an anti-roll bar as part of the rear suspension.

The GLI model features a sport suspension that rides 0.6 inches lower than other Jetta models. The GLI also features, as standard, the impressive XDS® Cross Differential System.


Safety in the 2017 Jetta starts with a stiff and rigid body shell constructed using seamless laser welding and high-strength steel in key are where the airbags as.

Driver and front passenger front and side thorax airbags and Side Curtain Protection® airbags front and rear are standard on all Jetta models. There is also a standard suite of advanced electronic safety features, such as Anti-lock Braking (ABS), Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution (EBD), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), and Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA).

Volkswagen’s Automatic Post-Collision Braking System builds on the premise that a collision is rarely a single, instantaneous action, but rather a series of events that follow the initial impact—the most significant of which can cause additional collisions. The Automatic Post-Collision Braking System addresses this by applying the brakes when a primary collision is detected by the airbag sensors, thus helping to reduce residual kinetic energy and, in turn, the chance of additional damage.

The Jetta also includes Volkswagen’s Intelligent Crash Response System that shuts off the fuel pump, unlocks the doors, and switches on the hazard lights if the car is involved in certain types of collisions where airbags deploy.

Driver Assistance Systems

The TSI SEL model comes standard with Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist). Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert comes standard with the SE trim and up.

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) uses forward facing radar to maintain a set speed while also helping maintain a set distance to the vehicle in front. The driver sets the speed and the desired spacing via buttons on the multifunction steering wheel and can use the accelerator, brake pedal, or steering wheel to cancel or override the ACC function. All system messages appear in the central multifunction display. When the roadway ahead of the vehicle is clear, the system maintains the set speed. On all Jetta models, the ACC ceases to operate below 19 mph.

Within physical system limits, Forward Collision Warning helps warn the driver of critical front-end collision situations, both acoustically and visually by a warning symbol in the instrument cluster, and, if necessary, Autonomous Emergency Braking is activated to slow the vehicle if the driver fails to brake. If the brake pedal is applied but the driver brakes too lightly, the brake pressure is increased by the system.

Blind Spot Monitor uses two radar sensors at the rear of the vehicle to scan the approaching traffic and help warn drivers of potential danger in adjacent lanes. If the driver uses the turn signal to indicate a lane change while a vehicle is detected in a blind spot, the system utilizes a flashing LED symbol in the outer area of the side mirrors.

The system is designed to help alert drivers in specific situations; stationary objects or oncoming vehicles do not trigger warnings, nor will vehicles more than one lane away from the vehicle.

The Rear Traffic Alert system not only helps alert the driver to stationary and moving vehicles directly behind, but also helps detect vehicles approaching from the side that may be difficult for the driver to see while reversing. It offers a sizable range of about 65 to 80 feet, depending on model, and will present a visual and an acoustic warning, before applying the brakes if a potential impending collision is detected. The system is activated either by selecting reverse gear or by the optional Park Distance Control (Park Pilot) when starting off.

Limited Warranty

The 2017 Jetta models are offered with Volkswagen’s standard five-year/60,000-mile (whichever occurs first) powertrain warranty and three-year/36,000-mile (whichever occurs first) new vehicle limited warranty.

Model Line-up

The 2017 Jetta is offered in four trim levels—S, SE, SEL and GLI.

1.4T S

  • $17,895 MSRP (plus $820 destination) with manual transmission
  • $17,895 MSRP (plus $820 destination) with automatic transmission

1.4T SE

  • $20,895 MSRP (plus $820 destination) with manual transmission
  • $21,995 MSRP (plus $820 destination) with automatic transmission

1.8T SEL

  • $24,995 MSRP (plus $820 destination) with automatic transmission
4.4 Out of 5