I had the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta this week equipped with the 2.5-liter 5-cylinder in-line engine, and to the best of my memory this is the first non-diesel Jetta I have ever tested.
The 2011 Jetta is the sixth generation version of the popular small sedan that actually got bigger for 2011. The interesting thing about this new model is that it’s not so small anymore. I can’t go all the way to mid-sized, but this car falls somewhere right in the middle. You can see styling cues from the popular CC model in this new Jetta.
The interior of this car is terrific and it has an amazing amount of front and rear seat legroom. The interior room of this car jumps out at you the minute you open the doors of the car. It has more room than many full-sized sedans I have been in.
The 170-horse five-banger engine and six-speed automatic transmission has ample power. You are not going to get a whiplash when heavily accelerating, but it’s OK and VW did a great job keeping the torque-steer to a minimum.
This car has a surprisingly sporty feel to it, I did not expect that at all, but it truly feels good. The new longer wheelbase makes it ride better than older versions, and they kept handling sharp and precise. Manually shifting the automatic transmission yields better than average results to make the car even more fun to drive.
I liked the dash set-up on the car and it has a terrific navigation system. Trunk room is good, not great, but the rear seats open up to the trunk for carrying items too long to put in the trunk.
This is a darned nice car and the quality, fit and finish, and a terrific paint job make this Jetta seemingly the best one ever built. It will hit showrooms later this month and the diesel version debuts later this year.
- What I liked most: Interior room and handling dynamics.
- What I would change if I could: As usual, it needs bigger tires/wheels to look sportier.
- MSRP as tested: Not sure. Since the car is not out yet, it does not have a window sticker with it, but base price on my test model is just over $24000.
- Fuel Economy: Rated at 24 city/31 highway.
- Jetta in a few words: A much improved small sedan that is not so small anymore.