2025 Volkswagen Jetta Gets Cheaper but Loses Manual Option for Non-GLI Models

James Lipman

Volkswagen wants to make the 2025 Jetta an even better fit for today’s budget-conscious car buyers. With the arrival of the 2025 model year, the automaker treated both the everyman Jetta and the more performance-oriented Jetta GLI to a minor update, revising interior and exterior styling, adjusting the content mix, and, most notably, lowering the entry price for the bottom-rung Jetta S.

2025 Volkswagen Jetta GLI and Jetta SEL exterior front three quarter parked opposite angles
James Lipman

Let’s start with the broader updates. The trim strategy will carry over from the previous year, meaning that buyer can choose from S, Sport, SE, and SEL trims, in ascending order of cost and content. (VW considers the Jetta GLI separately from these other trims; it gets a bigger engine and different rear suspension design.)

All 2025 Jetta models will get a revised front fascia that features new upper and lower grille designs and new LED headlights. A front light bar will be offered for the Sport, SE, and SEL trims. A new trunk with a light bar that spans the entire width of the Jetta’s caboose and will be standard on all trims. As is often the case with these refreshes, there are a few new wheel designs to choose from as well. Rounding out the exterior updates are two new colors: Monterey Blue Pearl and Monument Gray.

Interior tweaks include a new dashboard design with a three-bar inlay across the upper section. The design is meant to pull the eye toward the new, 8-inch semi-floating touchscreen infotainment display that’s now standard across all trims. VW’s Climatronic Touch automatic climate control is also standard, though pleasantly, this system is backlit—unlike the one we griped about in early versions of the electric ID.4.

2025 Volkswagen Jetta SEL interior climate controls detail
James Lipman

VW has always been good about content for cost, and with the 2025 Jetta it’s more of the same: Features previously reserved for the SEL model such as Satellite radio, voice control, wireless charging, and wireless app-connect (read: Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) are now offered a rung down on the SE.

In the cost-conscious Jetta S, the seats are still cloth, but step up a notch to the Jetta Sport, and you’ll get a slightly fancier “molecular” cloth material that first appeared on the 40th-anniversary edition of the Jetta GLI. Jump to the Jetta SE and you’ll get a new Microcloud leatherette seat material that VW says is easier to clean. Top-rung SEL Jettas are the only ones that get real Vienna leather seats—unless you lump in the Jetta GLI there, which also adds red contrast stitching.

2025 Volkswagen Jetta SEL exterior front three quarter driving
James Lipman

Under the hood, you’ll find roughly the same setup as you would on a 2024 Jetta. All non-GLI models employ VW’s 1.5-liter EA211 turbocharged inline-four, which makes 158 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. While we adore manuals on everyday cars, we’re not surprised to see that the six-speed manual option was dropped from non-GLI Jettas for the 2025 model year; an eight-speed automatic is your only option now. These more pedestrian Jettas also suffice with a simpler torsion-beam rear suspension setup.

2025 Volkswagen Jetta GLI interior six-speed manual shifter detail
James Lipman

Meanwhile, the Jetta GLI will, pleasantly, soldier on with a six-speed manual as an option. If three pedals ain’t your speed, the seven-speed DSH dual-clutch automatic is also offered. Both gearboxes pair with VW’s workhorse 2.0-liter EA888 turbocharged inline-four, which in this application produces 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, just like the previous version. For better handling over the rest of the Jetta lineup, the GLI will once again get a multilink rear suspension setup. Other performance enhancements for the GLI that carry over for the 2025 year: larger brakes, an electronically-controlled limited-slip differential, adaptive dampers, and a sport exhaust system.

2025 Volkswagen Jetta GLI exterior wheel and tire detail
James Lipman

Since the manual-equipped Jetta S is no more, the entry price for the Jetta now sits at $23,295, including a $1300 destination fee. However, that price is actually cheaper than the comparable automatic-equipped Jetta S from the previous year; that feels noteworthy because seriously, when was the last time a new car got cheaper than the one it replaced? Given the current climate around interest rates and inflation, that’s cause for celebration.

And then you take a look at one of the Jetta’s biggest competitors, the Honda Civic: That car starts at around $25,000, a few thousand more than a comparable Jetta. In this compact sedan segment, every dollar counts, and that price difference could be the tipping point for some prospective buyers.

All 2025 Volkswagen Jettas will be assembled at the brand’s Puebla, Mexico, facility. Expect the refreshed model to begin arriving in dealerships by the end of Q3 this year.


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