Volkswagen must have a thing for the Big Apple as the maker plans an assortment of product announcements during this week’s New York Auto Show. That includes an updated version of the Jetta.
The 2015 VW Jetta won’t deliver any major visual surprises, though, with most of the key changes coming under the skin in the form new technologies, such as blind spot detection, and a new Clean Diesel expected to deliver up to 45 mpg on the highway.
VW can use a little boost. The maker took a tumble last year and has been struggling to regain momentum so far this year, and it’s betting on the tweaks to Jetta – its best-selling U.S. model – and the newly renamed Golf SportWagen that New York showgoers will get a first look at this coming week.
It may take a few seconds to spot the changes to the front end of the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta, the revisions to the front fascia largely intended to improve aerodynamics – some versions of the new model getting spoilers and active grille shutters. The most obvious changes come with the switch to new adaptive bi-xenon headlamps and LED running lights.
Inside, the new Jetta also features some subtle updates, including new chrome-edged gauges with a color multifunction display. Changes depend on model level, but other updates include a new multifunction steering wheel, piano black accents, and new fabric colors and designs for the seats.
VW has had a long roller-coaster ride in the U.S. market where, in the 1960s, it was the best-selling import brand, losing ground to the Japanese after the twin oil shocks of the 1970s. It seemed to be on a roll in recent years, in 2012 delivering its strongest American sales numbers in nearly half a century.
It helped to have new, more affordable entry models. But VW has been hurt by the fact that key competitors – both Detroit and import – have been loading up their own products with an array of new tech features.
The 2015 Volkswagen Jetta is an attempt to catch up. On top are such safety systems as blind spot detection, front collisions warning, rear cross-traffic alert and parking assist.
But it’s not all catch-up. The 2015 Jetta also will play to the maker’s strength in the alternative fuel market where it is the sales leader among the growing list of brands offering diesel options.
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Newly updated for 2015 will be a 2.0-liter Clean Diesel that is expected to deliver 32 around town, 45 on the highway and 37 in the EPA combined cycle. That’s up two mpg in the city and three in the highway and combined categories.
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Jetta buyers also will have the option of a 2.0-liter gas engine in the base Jetta, more sporty 1.8- and 2.0-liter turbo engines, and a 1.4-liter turbo gas-hybrid.
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The 2015 VW Jetta will make its debut alongside the maker’s newly updated and renamed wagon, now called a Golf SportWagen, rather than bearing a Jetta badge.
There had been some hope VW might also have news about its planned production version of the CrossBlue Concept. But plans appear to be in limbo, right now, due to the ongoing controversy over the union vote at VW’s assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. That factory was originally supposed to get the new, mid-range crossover but with state lawmakers failing to approve a requested aid package, the expansion of the Chattanooga plant is now up in the air.