Simply, the 2011 VW Jetta is great car. This is a family-friendly, budget-friendly sedan that does double duty as a peformance sedan. This all-new, redesigned model is precision German engineering and safety features, lots of cabin and cargo space, and what I call ‘creature features’. Combine that with fuel economy of up to 42 mpg highway, depending on engine, at an astounding base price of $15,995, and the 2011 VW Jetta is one of the best compact sedans on the market. Most definitely a people’s car — which is the English translation of the name Volkswagen.
The 2011 VW Jetta is three inches longer than its predecessors, helping make this compact feel more like a mid-size, with best-in-class leg room for rear seat passengers. Under the hood, there are four engine choices for the United States and Canada, including a 140 HP, 2.0 liter turbocharged clean diesel TDI . VW is the world market-leader for producing energy efficient clean diesels, including the 42 MPG Golf TDI. The VW Jetta diesel was named Green Car of the Year in 2008.
The top 2.0 liter TSI is matched with a six-speed automatic transmission. All the other engine choices are offered as manuals, with an option to upgrade to automatic. Even if you upgrade one trim line to the SE model with a 2.5 liter 170 horsepower engine, you’ll still be under $20,000.
All 2011 VW Jetta models include the safety feature VW calls its Intelligent Crash Response System, which shuts off the fuel pump, activates the hazard lights and unlocks the doors in case of an accident with airbag deployment. This safety feature is common on more expensive vehicles — but not in models at this price. There also are six airbags.
As I said, the Jetta is fun to drive, which I did in Northern California recently, at the vehicle’s driving demonstration for press launch. My MPG for close to 300 miles of driving on a combination of highway, winding mountain roads and stop-and-go downtown traffic was an impressive 39.25 MPG. My Jetta was responsive and fun to drive, especially in sport mode. I actually managed to make the tires squeal on a tight turn, which made the VW executive in the passenger seat turn the same grey color as the dashboard.
Volkswagen Group brands now include German siblings Audi and Porsche, plus luxury brands Bentley, Bugatti, and Lamborghini. The company also owns two brands not sold in North America — Spain’s Seat and the Czech Republic’s Skoda.
Watch a demonstration of VW’s safety feature Intelligent Crash Response here: