The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta has been historically recognized for being a premier combination of a luxury sedan and compact-car sensibility. The Volkswagen Jetta once earned recognition for its quality inside and out, but the 2011 Jetta threatens that reputation. The effort to bring down the price really shows in the mediocre interior materials, but the craftsmanship and the attention to detail make up for it.
Body Styles: Sedan
Engines: 2.0-liter four-cylinder, 2.5-liter five-cylinder
Transmissions: automatic, manual, automated manual
Models: Jetta Base, Jetta S, Jetta SE, Jetta SEL, Jetta TDI
The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta sedan has been fully redesigned and looks significantly different from the Sportswagen. It has a longer wheelbase to create more back-seat passenger room. In an effort to lure more buyers, Volkswagen strips away some of the features in order to lower the price. The most noticeable downgrade concerns the inferiority of materials used on the interior.
The 2001 Volkswagen Jetta base model has15-inch steel wheels. The S trim adds keyless entry and power heated mirrors. The SE trim adds a more powerful engine, 16-inch steel wheels, and a trunk pass-through. You can get the optional SE Convenience Package to add 16-inch alloy wheels and heated windshield washer nozzles. Options with the Convenience Package include a sunroof. The SEL trim includes everything found in the SE Convenience Package and adds 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry/ignition, rear disc brakes, fog lamps, and chrome exterior trim. You can get the SEL Sport Package to add sport suspension and a sunroof. The TDI model employs a turbo-diesel engine and keyless entry/ignition.
The construction of the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta shows quality work; however, it uses mediocre materials. The soft touch materials used in past models have been replaced by hard materials. The interior feels roomy and the rear seats seat average-sized adults comfortably. Cargo space totals 15.5 cubic feet.
Standard interior features include power windows and locks, height-adjustable front seats, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, cloth upholstery, and a 60/40-split rear seat. The S trim adds air-conditioning, a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, and an auxiliary audio jack. The SE trim adds cruise control, a front center armrest with storage space, a rear-seat center armrest, and premium vinyl upholstery. The SEL trim adds a trip computer, manual front-seat lumbar support, and a navigation system. The SEL Sport Package adds sport front seats and sport pedals. The TDI model has manual front-seat lumbar adjustment and a touchscreen stereo/navigation system interface.
Performance & Handling
The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta base and S models come equipped with a two-liter, four-cylinder engine that puts out 115 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque and comes with a five-speed manual transmission standard. A six-speed automatic transmission remains optional. The SE and SEL trims come equipped with a 2.5-liter, five-cylinder engine that gets 170 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. The TDI model employs a two-liter, turbocharged, diesel, inline-four engine that puts out 140 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. It has a six-speed manual transmission standard and a six-speed dual clutch automated manual transmission as an option.
This car handles well, but not well enough to make it stand out in a sedan market that has a healthy selection of more competent competitors. The switch from an independent rear suspension to a semi-independent torsion beam has no effect on the handling or ride, and it manages to retain the solid feeling of a German car. The overall performance of the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta is quick and precise enough when guiding the Jetta through corners and getting around town.
All Volkswagen Jetta models come equipped with stability and traction controls, front and side curtain airbags, active front head restraints, and anti-lock brakes with brake assist as standard safety features. The S and SE models have rear drum brakes and the SEL and TDI models employ rear disc brakes. The SEL model has a stopping distance from 60 mph to standstill in 117 feet.
EPA Fuel Economy
Jetta: 23/32 mpg city/highway
Jetta S: 23/32 mpg city/highway
Jetta SE: 24/31 mpg city/highway
Jetta SEL: 24/31 mpg city/highway
Jetta TDI: 30/42 mpg city/highway
- Spacious interior and trunk space
- Good number of standard features for the price
- Intuitive electronics interface
- Fuel efficient diesel engine
You Won't Like
- Automatic transmission with slow throttle response
- Subpar interior materials
- Sluggish and wheezy base engine
A reliable car for running errands with the family.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Honda Civic
- Hyundai Elantra
- Kia Forte
- Mazda MAZDA3