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2011 Volkswagen Jetta

Overview
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2011 Volkswagen Jetta Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 6.6

In many respects, the all-new 2011 Volkswagen Jetta is a lesser car than its predecessor. The standard engine is far less powerful, the rear suspension is less sophisticated and the interior is no longer over-the-top refined. But it is roomier and more affordable, and that's just what Volkswagen thinks America wants. Yes, some of the Jetta's more discriminating devotees will be disappointed, but the new model will attract far more buyers than it loses. And even with the cost-cutting, the Jetta is still fun to drive and still has one of the category's finest interiors. Last three words: Outsider moving in.

You'll Like This Car If...

Interior quality, driving dynamics and individuality are still Jetta strong suits. Now that prices are down and roominess is up, Volkswagen's perennial best-seller can even appeal to your practical side.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta's 115-horsepower base engine is the weakest in the category, and the lower prices still don't qualify the Jetta as a value leader (but its historically strong resale values don't hurt). Tech-savvy buyers wouldn't be wrong to expect more from the Jetta.

What's New for 2011

The 2011 VW Jetta is an all-new car with an all-new look, but the key changes can be summed up in two words: bigger and cheaper.

Driving the Jetta

Driving Impressions Not everyone who buys a Jetta does so for things like steering feedback and roadholding ability, but European driving feel – for less than $20,000 – has been one of...

the Jetta's greatest strengths for decades. Thankfully, given the simplified suspension and added length, it still is. The familiar 2.5-liter engine is punchy if short-winded, and the five-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions are just fine. Highway ride is firm within reason, and highway noise is on the quieter side of the category spectrum. We're eager to drive a Jetta with the smaller, 115-horsepower engine and smaller wheels - not because we think we'll love it, but to find out just how severe the penalty is.

Diesel Power
We haven't yet driven the 2011 Jetta TDI, but we're such big fans of Volkswagen's popular diesel engine that it's already one of our favorite Jetta features.

Cargo Room
The Jetta's newfound rear-seat roominess is welcome and useful, but the deep, massive trunk is a sight to behold.

2011 Volkswagen Jetta Details
Interior

The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta interior in a nutshell: more room, cheaper materials. Rear legroom, which was tight in the outgoing model, is up 2.7 inches and now best-in-class. But in areas where you'd find premium-like, soft-touch materials in the outgoing Jetta, the sixth-generation model features hard plastic. Moving up the trim ladder does buy a little more flair, and it's still among the nicest interiors in the class, but we wouldn't call it a $30,000 interior like we did the last Jetta's (and the current Golf's). The Jetta's huge trunk is also worth noting, as is the unremarkable sound system. Volkswagen's decision to put the USB port in the glove compartment could madden some whose phone and portable music player are one and the same.

Exterior
2011 Volkswagen Jetta photo

The biggest Jetta ever measures about three inches longer than its predecessor. Some were hoping for more expressive sheetmetal, but we think it's a tasteful design that will stand the test of time. Exterior differentiators throughout the lineup range from small, 15-inch covered steel wheels on the base-model Jetta S, to mirror-integrated turn signals, front fog lamps, chrome accents and 17-inch alloy wheels on the Jetta GLS.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta S starts under $17,000, but with a weaker engine than its competitors and a pedestrian list of standard equipment. Highlights include air conditioning, power locks/windows/mirrors (with one-click up/down on all four windows) and a four-speaker AM/FM/CD sound system with auxiliary audio input. A full complement of standard safety features includes electronic stability control and six airbags.

Optional Equipment

A loaded 2011 Volkswagen Jetta GLS features a 2.5-liter 170-horsepower engine, six-speed automatic transmission, leatherette seats, USB audio input, Bluetooth phone connectivity, cruise control, heated seats, touchscreen navigation/audio with six speakers and SD memory card slot, Sirius satellite radio, moonroof, rear disc brakes, and keyless entry and start. The SEL trim also offers a Sport package with a lowered sport suspension, sport-bolstered seats, aluminum pedals and unique door sills.

Under the Hood

The 2011 VW Jetta powertrain lineup will quickly grow to include four engines and four transmissions. The bread-and-butter combo is the 170-horsepower five-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The sport-tuned Jetta GLI will match Volkswagen's renowned 2.0-liter turbo engine with its quick-shifting and efficient six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (or a six-speed manual). The Jetta TDI will offer the same transmissions as the GLI, but mated to VW's also-celebrated turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine. At the other end of the spectrum, the base model 2011 Volkswagen Jetta S will be saddled with a 2.0-liter, 115-horsepower four-cylinder engine that, when matched to the auto transmission, has to strain for 11 seconds before pulling the car to 60 mph. A couple years down the road, we'll get a hybrid Jetta.

2.0-liter four-cylinder
115 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
125 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/34 (manual), 23/32 (auto)

2.5-liter five-cylinder
170 horsepower @ 5700 rpm
177 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/33 (manual), 24/31 (auto)

2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (GLI only)
200 horsepower @ 5100-6000 rpm
207 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1700-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: TBD

2.0-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder
140 horsepower @ 4000 rpm
236 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1750-2500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 30/42 (manual), 30/42 (auto)

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 232 Ratings for the 2011 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.6/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    8.6/10
    Styling
    8.5/10

Best value car I've ever owned

By on Saturday, September 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,800

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fair price, great mileage & interior comfort."

Cons: "Still looking for one-I'll get back to you..."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"My wife and I could see in the showroom that the 4-door Jetta had more rear seat legroom than virtually any car we've ever had, yet it has the smallest wheelbase. While snooping brands and dealers I stumbled onto the diesel version in internet reviews and the most eye-popping thing that jumps out at you is that the mileage numbers on the side windows you see on all new cars are UNDERSTATED for the Jetta. Our car is 30/41 but I'm reading and hearing from people that this car can get 50+ on the highway before we bought it. So with that and some other solid attributes going for it, we bought the diesel version. Our local driving number since buying has been at or near 40 since day one. And the new clean diesel is the most underappreciated option you will find on any new car lot in the USA. Much less long term maintenance, among other advantages. I'm still looking for something bad to say about this car. Well, trips to the gas station aren't as numerous as they once were, assuming you like shelling out $50 more rather than less often. One problem that diesel engines have had in the past is starting in frigid temperatures but the service guy told me that can be easily handled with gas tank additives available at auto stores. The interior is well laid out, and the standard rear back-up camera is a gift from auto Heaven. I shudder when I think of the money we've wasted on cars over the years that sadly lacked the overall quality and value of our Jetta. And no--I don't have a relative at the dealership and I don't own any VW stock."

18 people out of 34 found this review helpful

Great Young Professional Car

By on Thursday, August 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fun to Drive, Well Equipped, Sporty"

Cons: "High Depreciation, Expensive Maintenance"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Pros: This car is good for a good professional just starting out in the work force. It was four doors making it ideal for daily living. The sporty features on the car make sure you do not get bored on your daily commute. The turbo makes sure you can have a bit of fun on the weekend. They car comes nicely equipped. Cons: The depreciation is greater than that of its Honda and Toyota counter parts. The repairs and replacement are more expensive than its Japanese competition; however, cheaper than its German competition."

11 people out of 18 found this review helpful

Very good car with roominess and consistent 38 mpg

By on Monday, August 25, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Pleasure to drive"

Cons: "40,000 mile maintainence is pricey$$!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"If you are driving a lot and need room this is a very good car for mileage, handling, and roominess."

6 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Great car.

By on Monday, August 25, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"One of the most fuel efficient vehicles on the road. Recent trip from mich to Florida. I 75 driving At 70 mph. Got 55 mpg. Only thing I have a problem with is the navigation system. But them I'm not a big tech person Overall my jetta premium tdi with navi for the k Last two years. Has been fantastic"

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Business Like-Appropriate For My Lifestyle

By on Sunday, August 24, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Seats, steering wheel, build quality (feels solid)"

Cons: "Highway acceleration, higher speed cornering."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Bought in early 2014 with 3,000 miles, now has 22,000 miles . Very nice car for it's purpose. I am an outside sales rep and the car's clean, handsome lines represent me well at this price point (inside has received compliments as well, I suspect the seats help). I have received many compliments on its looks. Inside, I have the leatherette seats and they are very comfortable. Steering wheel is wonderful. Driving experience is mixed. Accelerates well in town, but the I-5 struggles when at freeway speeds and want to accelerate to make a lane change or merge. Will go to "S" mode often. Fuel mileage is better than expected on the highway, not so great in the city (this might be because of my city driving habits, frequent stops at businesses). Handling is adequate at best in tight cornering, not assuring. Otherwise, nice ride with new tires I just put on. Did handle one of the roughest Wisconsin winter's on record last year with no issues (did well in snow, ABS was setup just right, heater was great, never any stress starting, never a rattle) and that earned a lot of respect from me. Car feels solid as a brick. Despite some mixed driving experience issues, I really like the car and plan on getting another VW in the future, likely a TDI or turbo depending on price. A nice car to spend a day in."

4 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Great Solid ride, excellent handling & braking

By on Thursday, August 21, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,802

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "solid , safe, great price"

Cons: "none"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"they say the 2.0 l is slow, I didn't buy this as a Porsche it gets around town just fine and on the interstate it cruises at 80 miles p/hr. with the best of them, and plenty of pedal left, very pleased with the handling& brakes."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?