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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 336 Ratings for the 2011 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.4/10

2012 Jetta SEL Premium is Awesome!!

By on Saturday, July 9, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive, beautiful interior, great value"

Cons: "Might be higher maintenance costs"

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

"Bought the car used from a dealer. Former car was a Camry. As someone who enjoys driving I would definitely recommend this. The 5-cyl engine provides great power and the vehicle handles quite well, better than any sedan you'll drive for the price. Design, interior and exterior, is simple and smart - no unnecessary gadgets, everything you need minus everything you don't. The SEL Premium package includes a sunroof, alloy wheels, the Fender audio system, is bluetooth-enabled, and has built-in navigation. The seats are comfortable and overall the cabin is a pleasant place to spend hours on the road if need be. The trunk is huge - and when I bought mine it came with the VW Cargo system which is essentially plastic dividers with Velcro that you can use to hold groceries, luggage, etc. in place. It looks huge compared to my old Camry's trunk. As for gas mileage, 24 city/31 highway is advertised, but so far I have averaged nearly 33 mpg combined, while never getting less than 27 for a full tank, which I consider impressive due to my driving style. Overall I have absolutely no regrets about purchasing this car. For someone who wants a more dynamic and engaging driving experience, a few essential tech features, and a really nice interior, VW is the choice for you. Despite the diesel emissions scandal, their products are generally of a higher quality than other manufacturers and their gasoline vehicles drive just fine."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Love my car!

By on Tuesday, July 5, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 82,400

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, solid, great price, low maintenance"

Cons: "It won't last forever :("

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

"In light of all the stigma attached to VW Diesels these days, I still love my car. I tested it two years ago and was able to successfully drive at 70 mph 1,083 miles on one tank of diesel fuel traveling from NC to NH. I probably had another 80 miles I could have driven on the same tank but I didn't want to chance it at that point. My Jetta is a safe, reliable, comfortable six-speed manual with amazing turbo power, a great moonroof and I truly 'got what I paid for.' The car is solid, holds the road well (I got 67K miles on the original tires!), doesn't require much maintainence other than the standard warranty and that covers most everything. I'm at 82K miles on the same set of brake pads and my clutch is holding great. VW makes a great car and although the stigma is here, I still stand with my car as a reliable purchase in 2013, value for dollar. I average 47 mpg city and 55-60 mpg highway. I don't like that I might be polluting the air more than needed but it's still a great car and I know that VWGOA will do right by the people and their cars. I am certain other companies have the same issues but just haven't been caught yet but who am I to judge? I love my car and I think anyone who wants a diesel and a stick should look at the Jettas, a roomy sedan with a sporty feel."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Best North American made Volkswagen ever!!

By on Sunday, July 3, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000

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
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "The back seat is huge."

Cons: "NONE"

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

"Test drove 4 cars. Hyundai Sonata, Chevy Cruze, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Jetta. The Jetta was not the best value in my book, but the lumbar support is what sold my wife on this VW. The ONLY problem we have had was a blown circuit for the trunk light. The dealer fixed it in 10 min. Only 1 recall in 3 years. In 35 years of buying cars, this is the best one. Plus, the dealer didn't bat an eye when we said we wanted certain options and a certain color. I do know that 125 mph going up Raton Pass is so quiet in this car you don't even realize how fast you're going w/ NO effort. If there was one thing I don't like about this Jetta, its the taillights. This is supposed to be a world-class car. But all Jetta's made in Mexico for the North American market have red turn signal lenses. They should be amber colored to be correct!"

Jury still out - waiting for Dieselgate

By on Saturday, July 2, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,200

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
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

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

"This is our 8th VW, so yeah, I'm generally a fan of the way VW's drive, handle and go about daily chores. Long trips (44 mpg) or short ones (39 mpg), she's a great little outfit. Lacks some creature things, like backup camera, but generally a great rig. Waiting to see how "dieselgate" turns out before my final review and decision - do I keep it, or does she go?"

Great vehicle for the money!

By on Wednesday, June 29, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Comfortable, big trunk, quick car."

Cons: "Could have more features come standard."

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

"I love my Jetta 1.8se. Bought it used with 26k miles and it has yet to disappoint me. Would be nice to have a touch screen come standard but I put one in myself. There are lots of little things VW could have done for a few more dollars such as standard fog lights and heated leather seats. Other than that it is a quality car that has handled extremely cold North Dakota winters beautifully. Has never not started for me!"

value is artificially low due to VP scandal

By on Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 110,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
Not Rated
Comfort
Not Rated

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

"This was a wonderful car. Great handling, unbelievable miles/gal diesel. When I both it the resale was extremely high. Cars with 100k miles were still going for $20k, especially when gas was $4+. Thanks to the VW scandal the value of this car has plummeted. Thanks VW I paid a premium price for a car that you destroyed. Would I recommend this car. How do you recommend a car that you can not buy anymore."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

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