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2011 Volkswagen Jetta

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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
8.3
Out of 10

Based on 320 Ratings for the 2011 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    8.4/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    8.6/10
  • Comfort
    8.4/10
    Styling
    8.4/10

Best in class by far

By on Wednesday, January 27, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,500

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
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Everything"

Cons: "Few and mentioned in my review."

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

"I own a 2014 Jetta SE 1.8 w/convenience now with almost 19K miles. So many positives: Awesome seats/comfort Responsive transmissions (6spd auto) Good power-never feels slow....feels quick and great on the hwy Handles great with good ride quality Roomy Heated seats Leather steering wheel Good MPGs Great A/C Love the monster mats. Paid around $21K for it OTD including taxes. Unreal to get a car this fun and polished for that. Love this car. Negatives: Dashboard isn't flashy but it's functional, styling is somewhat conservative for some."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Garbage and a complete waste of money.

By on Monday, January 04, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 84,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Decent mileage"

Cons: "Shotty emissions quality all around!"

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

"Diesel Particulate filter gave out at 80,000 miles, which is suppose to last atleast until 120,000 and costs $2,000 to replace. Now with the VW emissions scandal, the resale of the car has already dropped $2,000. So now I'm stuck with this gutless wonder of a car. Please do yourself a favor and look elsewhere for an economical car."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Excellent car! Fun to drive and easy to maintain.

By on Sunday, December 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 66,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive and reliable."

Cons: "Small car road noise."

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

"I bought the car used from a dealership with 34,800 miles on it. I had it for 2 years and pot 30,000 miles on it. It always has run great and handles fantastic in the snow or other inclement weather. Upgrading to a CC and hoping the reliability on that is just as high!"

6 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Love this car!

By on Friday, December 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,900

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
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great overall."

Cons: "None"

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

"First time buying a VW. This car is sporty, quiet, corners well, and is fun to drive. The ride is very smooth and solid. Excellent gas mileage if you drive it conservatively. Can get up and go when you want to. You have to remind yourself to drive conservatively. Love the way it handles...give you confidence. Couldn't be happier. Bought new 3/31/15."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Very comfortBle car with many unique features!

By on Friday, December 11, 2015

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
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great little care with many useful and unique feat"

Cons: "Only the bad reviews received by VW recently!"

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

"Too bad VW has caused such a bad name for the cars. I have enjoyed this little wagon and have gotten very good gas mileage. I really intend to keep the car for awhile longer since it is paid for!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

TDI Great Power Great Economy

By on Friday, November 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great power and mileage."

Cons: "Expensive to get the TDI"

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

"Volkswagen is in trouble for not making this car meet the emission standards. It is marketed at 42mpg hwy and 32 city, mine gets 52mpg Hwy and 42mpg all around. The TDI has outstanding power and is very quiet, more so than the gas powered Jetta's. I went from a Cadillac STS V-8 to this car, performance wise they are very comparable. I will not be sending my car in to be de-tuned and choked down to get worse mileage and less power."

20 people out of 38 found this review helpful

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