BEHIND THE WHEEL: Compact minded approach with a Sedan attitude on the 2017 Volkswagen Jetta

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By Rita Cook / The Ellis County Press

I drove the 2017 Volkswagen Jetta on a pretty hardy road trip last month and found that there was not only ample space for everything I needed to pack inside, but the Jetta also drove so smooth on the road I didn’t even let my co-pilot drive. While I didn’t have any backseat passengers, I did load a few of my extra bags back there and found there was plenty of room.

Considered a large size sedan the engine plays to the compact car market since it is a fuel efficient option that touts a roomier size. For 2017 the Jetta offers a rearview camera on all the trim levels and even on the lower trims you will find the driver assistance is available. Another added feature this year is the impressive infotainment system including a USB connection.

The competition in this market includes several five seater options like the Honda Focus, Mazda 3 or the Ford Focus.

The 2017 Volkswagen Jetta offers four trim levels the S, SE, SEL and GLI.  On the S there are 16-inch steel wheels, LED daytime running lights, cruise control, fog lights, all the power accessories and a keyless entry. With cloth upholstery inside, even the lowest trim still offers heated side mirrors, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 60/40-split rear seats and technology features like Bluetooth phone and audio connect and a five-inch touchscreen. On this base level you can add the Cold Weather package that gives you heated front seats and windshield washer nozzles.

For the SE trim add all the features from the S except the fog lights, plus 16-inch cast aluminum wheels instead of steel and a sunroof. Keyless ignition is added to the keyless entry feature and heated washer nozzles and heated front seats are standard. Faux leather upholstery with a leather-wrapped steering wheel comes standard as do a rear seat pass-through and 6.3-inch touchscreen interface with the Volkswagen specific Car-Net App-Connect service.

On the SEL add the features from the SE with a larger engine and rain-sensing wipers along with adaptive cruise control. You also get a six-way power driver seat, cooled glove box and a navigation system. Extra safety goodies have been added like the forward collision warning and automatic braking.

For the top of the line 2017 Volkswagen Jetta GLI you get most of the features from the above trims and a stronger engine. The 18-inch cast aluminum wheels are an upgrade and the sportier suspension with different exterior styling stands out on the grille, rear spoiler and taillights. The front seats are sportier and there are parking sensors front and back as well as a premium audio system.

Under the hood on the 2017 Volkswagen Jetta there are three engine types depending on the trim level. For the S and SE you get a five-speed manual transmission with a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder and 150 horsepower with 184 pound-feet of torque. There is also the option of a six-speed automatic with this engine size.

For the SEL trim the six-speed automatic has a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with 170 horsepower and 184 pound feet of torque. On the turbocharged GLI there is the 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 210 horsepower and 207 pound feet of torque with a six-speed manual transmission. On the GLI there is the option of a six-speed dual-clutch automatic too.

Safety features on the 2017 Volkswagen Jetta includes traction and stability control, antilock disc brakes, airbags on the front, front-seat side and side curtain and active front head restraints. The rearview camera has been added on all the trims and on the SE there is a blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. For the SEL the forward collision and emergency braking comes standard.

If you choose a trim level with the Volkswagen Car-Net telemetric system you get automatic crash notification, roadside assistance and remote vehicle access with this feature. There is also a geo-fencing feature and a smartphone app.

While the interior appearance on the 2017 Volkswagen Jetta is a bit more utilitarian than the insides on the rivals, the buttons and controls are easy to use and navigate. Even if a bit more basic, you will still be happy with the technology offered on the Jetta. Take note there are several screen sizes and Apple and Android application options.

Keep in mind the space offered inside this Volkswagen is premium too. After all, there is plenty of room to the tune of 15.5 cubic feet in trunk space and a back seat that is more than adequate for tall folks offering plenty of leg and head room.

Behind the wheel, the Jetta drives like a dream and with the three choices of engines there is something for everyone. No matter the choice of engine you will find a strong acceleration, smooth drive experience and impressive fuel efficiency.

While in this class the final choice might come down to brand preference, keep the Jetta on your radar screen since it’s an impressive and easy drive whether around town or on a full-out road trip.

Should You Need to Know: The 2017 Volkswagen Jetta has proved impressive in the Institute for Highway Safety ratings with the highest possible crash rating given to this vehicle.

Miles: The 2017 Volkswagen Jetta I drove was a 2.0T GLI with 24 miles per gallon in the city and 33 miles per gallon on the highway.

 Cost: The 2017 Volkswagen Jetta I drove had a price tag of $29,815 with a driver car packaged added.

 For more auto tips and information follow Rita @RitaCook13.

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