By on August 6, 2010

In spite of its name and the fact that it’s the one of the largest automakers in the world, Americans tend to see Volkswagen as something of a niche manufacturer. Certainly Volkswagen’s reputation in this country is for making cars that conform to our ideas of “European-ness.” Unfortunately for Volkswagen, relatively few Americans want to spend extra for the taut suspension, high-quality interior and refined ambiance of a European car. So, with the 2011 Jetta, Volkswagen decided to give America what it was asking for: more car for less. Sounds hard to resist, right?


In a way, tailoring the Jetta to US tastes was almost inevitable. In Germany, the Jetta is known as the “backpack Golf,” and is forever in the shadow of its iconic hatchback sibling. Stateside, the Golf is as rare as lederhosen, selling about a quarter of the Jetta’s volume in a good year. And with a sedan-oriented Chinese market on the rise, a larger, cheaper Jetta makes all the sense in the world.

By now Volkswagen enthusiasts are probably starting to get scared… and well they should be. This car was not designed with them in mind: it was designed with the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, and a $16k price-point in mind. From the outside, there’s little family resemblance to its brand-mates beyond a sense of disciplined cleanliness that some will call restrained and others will call dull. Though pictures don’t do the comparison justice, a Kia Forte that wandered into one of the launch event parking lots was nearly indistinguishable in the crowd of 2011 Jettas. Take that as you will.

As with most cars that are built to a price point, the compromises don’t leap out until you actually sit in the thing (with one all-too familiar exception). And in the 2011 Jetta they don’t so much leap out at you, as sulk around waiting to be caught. At first glance all seems nearly right with the world, as the interior design is satisfyingly VW-like. But then you notice the simple instrumentation, an awkward seam by the window switch, the distinctive shapes and proportions of molded hard plastic. By the time you start touching things, it’s clear that there’s no point in even comparing this car to its predecessor.

But how many consumers out there knock on a car’s dashboard during the buying decision? Volkswagen is clearly betting that not many do, because the shockingly hollow-sounding experience does not inspire confidence. On the other hand, plenty of consumers do use HVAC dials, and the Jetta’s wiggle when you grab them, like skinny Elvis after a handful of dexedrine (or, to use a less indulgent simile, like a Scion xD’s). In fact, nearly everything you touch will tell you that VW has taken a page from Toyota’s consequence-free decontenting spree, and that any sense of European charm is strictly coincidental.

So how much Euro flavor has been left in the drive? On paper, the switch to a torsion beam rear suspension proves that money has been saved, but the experience is blessedly competent. The steering is not “Corolla light” as some reviewers have indicated, but is well-weighted for a solid, progressive feel. Unfortunately, the steering’s heft isn’t well-connected to what’s happening on the road, and things feel somewhat vague and uncommunicative when the road starts winding.

The Jetta’s suspension is also better than many of its mass-market competitors. Body lean is surprisingly well-controled, without sacrificing cruising comfort. On rough, potholed roads, strong progressive damping smothers even the harshest bottom-out, as if Volkswagen slipped a few extra slices of American cheese into the shocks. And since the Jetta is slightly lighter than its predecessor, everything feels well-controlled, despite the absence of a truly nailed-down “Euro” feel.

On the engine front, Volkswagen had little scope for decontenting. Our well-equipped SEL model was powered by the 2.5-liter iron-block five-pot that comes standard on all but the bare-base and GLI-spec Jettas, and has long been a whipping boy for Euro-obsessed VW fans. If you know anything about VW’s European TFSI engines, the 2.5′s lazy grunt and throaty five-pot gargle will seem unforgiveably proletarian. Most Americans, on the other hand, will appreciate its good power (170 hp, 168 lb-ft, 0-60 in about 8.5), slightly musical engine note, and tolerance of regular gas. On an objective basis, a slight bogging in first gear followed by an abrupt rush of power at 3,000 RPM is the only real annoyance we found (although weak-for-its-class fuel economy can be expected).

What we’re looking at with the new Jetta then, is not a budget taste of German sports-sedan nirvana, but a more value-oriented commuter. Skip the slightly-vague five-speed (like you need to be told), lean back in your faux-leather “V-Tex” seat, and cruise in the detached American style, and you’ll not be wildly disappointed. Nor will your rear-seat passengers, who will doubtless appreciate the extra 2.7 inches of rear legroom (resulting in a BMW 7-Series-competitive 38.1 inches, thanks China!). Trunk space is also remarkably good, although the rear seats don’t fold flat to optimize the center pass-through.

Given this competent cruising focus, one can’t help but return again and again to the savagely cheapened interior. It’s one thing to give Americans old-school engine and suspension technology, and a homogenized version of the European driving experience, but who says that we don’t want to touch nice things? Were the Chrysler-built Routan minivan a stunning sales success, the 2011 Jetta’s similar-quality interior would make sense. Instead, VW’s justifications for the accountant-grade plastics and flimsy switches are convoluted and difficult to swallow.

First, let’s deal with the price issue. VW insists that, despite favorable impressions of the car, American consumers haven’t considered Jetta due to its high price alone. Fine. But in order to reach its $15,995 base MSRP, the Jetta “S” needs more than a Wal-Mart interior… it needs to travel back in time. In addition to the torsion beam rear-suspension, base Jettas are also saddled with rear drum brakes, and the old “two-point-slow” two liter engine, making 115 horsepower with minimal mileage improvements over the 2.5. Needless to say, Volkswagen didn’t bring a single “S” model to the San Francisco launch, but on paper we’re looking at a Jetta III with more room and a worse interior.

In order to make this questionable achievement possible, every other Jetta including our $23,395 SEL with sunroof is saddled with the same $16k-competitive-ish interior. The only exception is the forthcoming GLI, which should also offer a more rewarding drive thanks to sports suspension with a multilink rear setup, and the GTI’s 2.0T engine (not to mention a hefty pricetag bump). Over the weekend launch, VW’s reps constantly dangled the GLI as the cure for our SEL’s sub-Euro performance and handling shortcomings, but were cagey about exact interior improvements… at least until we asked about a wagon version.

Instead of offering a new wagon, Volkswagen will continue to offer the previous Sportwagon alongside the new 2011 Jetta. With its new Golf-alike fascia, the Sportwagon now more closely resembles a European-style “Golf Variant” look, and offers everything that VW’s accountants stripped out of the new Jetta. Which is handy, considering that the vast majority of Sportwagons are ordered with TDI engines. In other words, all of Volkswagen’s premium-enthusiast Euro-appeal has been stripped from the Jetta, and been concentrated into the higher-quality, better-driving, more-expensive Sportwagon that true Euro-enthusiasts would have ordered anyway.

Volkswagen invited us to a weekend-long press event for this review. They paid our airfare, put us up for two nights in one of the nicest hotels in San Francisco, plied us with several excellent meals, and picked up our bar tab every night. The last point alone is projected to have dropped the company’s global profit by at least two percentage points.

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199 Comments on “Review: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta...”


  • avatar
    Larry P2

    “relatively few Americans want to spend extra for the taut suspension, high-quality interior and refined ambiance of a European car.”

    Other than some writers for TTAC, NOBODY wants such a “European car” taut suspension, high quality interior etc etc that also has the very well known severe reliability problems of both engines and transmissions that VW is notorious for.

    You can get all moist about a “soft-touch” interior, but probably not when you are sitting next to the freeway with a blown headgasket or a lunched transmission on a low-mileage car.

    • 0 avatar
      segfault

      Not to mention VW’s notorious electrical problems. The MKIV platform also had severe, repeated window regulator issues, caused by VW’s decision to use a brittle plastic clip to hold the window in place rather than something made of metal.

    • 0 avatar
      litespeed65

      I loathe this particular Jetta for what is is, but relability references to VW always seem to go back 2 or 3 generations (see comment above) TTAC armchair VW experts have to get away from behind their computers and actually drive VW products made in the last 4-5 years.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Exactly. People don’t avoid VWs because of their pretentious interiors. People avoid them because they are fighting it out with Land Rover and Suzuki for the title of the worst made car sold in the US year in, year out. If they’ve gotten better as some claim, they’d have had to do it since my friend bought his 2008 GTI DSG. I caught a real earful for asking a woman how she liked her 2010 Jetta Wagon TDi too. This Jetta’s landing on the market should be fun to watch. I don’t think people buy Hondas and Toyotas because they think they’re boring. I think they buy them because they want to get to work and not have to think about whether or not their car will get them there. Who is going to buy a VW that is as generic as a Corolla? There was a time when VW built cars well, but they didn’t have radiators yet.

    • 0 avatar
      segfault

      litespeed65,

      The reason why reliability references go back a couple of generations is that you need a large fleet of 3+ year old vehicles with tens of thousands of miles on them to make a valid judgment. JD Powers’ 90-day ownership studies do not accurately reflect the several years that most people will own the vehicle. The other reason why reliability references go back a couple of generations is that brands which are less reliable (Saab, Land Rover) tend to be unreliable for decades at a time. It will take a decade of consistently producing decent quality machinery, improving the quality of their dealer network, and proactively taking care of their customers before VW shakes their poor reputation.

      How many times have we heard from GM “this wasn’t true of the old model, but this latest vehicle really and truly is competitive with other similar vehicles, honestly, we promise, for real this time?” The same is true of VW’s dependability. You’d be a fool to believe either of them without independent verification.

  • avatar
    mjz

    That’s just depressing.

  • avatar
    segfault

    Good grief… I thought VW was trying to go upmarket. I hope they enjoy their race to the bottom.

    No U.S. spec VW in recent memory has been equipped with drum brakes (although I’m not sure about the Chrysler/VW Voyager minivan). The 2.0 engine appears to be relatively unchanged from the mid-1990s and is woefully underpowered compared to a modern Civic, Elantra, or Corolla. The 2.5 is more powerful but sounds like it belongs in a farm implement. Neither provide good fuel economy–you have to get the TDI for that, which is rare enough that VW dealerships in the US will be even more incompetent than normal at repairing a TDI engine.

    No buttoned-down Euro feeling, low performance, low fuel economy, questionable VW reliability–all of this begs the question: What is this car’s selling point? It used to be a premium compact that felt much more solid than the Japanese and Korean competition, but VW has abandoned that niche. I guess this one will have to try to get by on its looks alone, although, as the reviewer noted, it looks a lot like a Kia Forte (I think it also resembles a Suzuki Kizashi).

    • 0 avatar
      MikeInCanada

      I think that when VW makes noises that they want to go “Up Market” what the means is “More Audi’s”.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      Like the article said, the A3 Jetta/Golf was the last car to use drum brakes. The A4 Jetta had 4 wheel discs when it came out in late 1999 and it’s been that way on all Jettas…until now. I really don’t understand switching back to drums. I’ve changed drum linings on my ’85 and ’89 Jettas and it made me want to kill people by the time I was done.

      Changing rotors and pads is incredibly easy on the A4 Jetta. VW will probably sell a lot of these initially because of the pricing, but once people realize what POSs they are, I bet sales will decline. That said, I’m glad the Jetta Sportwagen (aka Golf wagon in Canada) and the Golf are left intact.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    Talk about a contradiction in terms. I don’t really get the americans love/hate relationship with european refinement. Wasn’t the euro sedans supposed to bring that euro-feeling stateside? And if not, what’s the point? If the cars are de-contented and americanized in to absurdity, why don’t make the senible choice and buy a Chrysler in the first place? I don’t get this at all….

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      I don’t believe that Americans hate European refinement. Nearly everyone I know thinks that VWs are very attractively styled cars with very nice interiors. Friends who actually owned a VW loved the car…until it started experiencing very serious, expensive and often difficult-to-fix problems.

      What keeps them away are the reliability woes and the dealer network, which is rather spotty, particularly in rural areas.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Why is there already moisture inside the headlight assembly? Is this a pre-production model?

  • avatar
    Advance_92

    What bothers me is VW sells decontented cars at a price point all over South America, but they at least make the expensive stuff available for purchase by those with the money who want it. In the US and Canada we don’t even have that as an option.

    Is it because of the dealer network structure we’re chained to?

    • 0 avatar

      As I noted in the review, a GLI in this bodystyle, and the old Sportwagon will be available alongside this Jetta.
      Why is there already moisture inside the headlight assembly? Is this a pre-production model?
      I wish I could answer this… I didn’t notice it until just before dropping it off at the airport, so I didn’t have a chance to ask a VW rep.

  • avatar
    twotone

    “In addition to the torsion beam rear-suspension, base Jettas are also saddled with rear drum brakes…”

    When was this car designed — 1974?

    Twotone

    • 0 avatar
      nikita

      No, it was designed to a price point, like the recently reviewed Fiesta, which didnt get slammed for the same thing. A nose-heavy FWD car, with the additional forward force moment under hard braking just doesnt need much in the rear brake department. Additional drums for parking, or the rube-goldberg caliper clamping device parking brake used by some is avoided.

      Having said that, doesnt a Civic have a multi-link rear suspension?

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      To be fair, drum brakes are fine on an economy car. They’re cheaper to keep, not as subject to debris damage and flat aren’t necessary given that the fronts will handle the bulk of the work anyway.

      The rear torsion beam is fine, too. The MkIV had a similar setup and rode very well, and there’s plenty of other, current cars that can handle quite well that use a similar setup.

      The problem is the interior: that shouldn’t have been cut back. Ambiance and interior quality is the reason you got this car over the Corolla (and the Corolla’s forgiving repair costs are it’s advantage). If this Jetta is going to sacrifice VW’s one virtue, it had better be able to compensate by being Corolla-reliable.

      Somehow, I don’t think that’s the case.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      nikita,

      The Fiesta didn’t get slammed for drum brakes in the rear because personally I would not expect any different from a car that small, or one that has a base price that low. In addition the Fiesta is very light compare to the new Jetta.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      Incidentally, in Canada the Sportline and Highline models (as well as all TDIs) come with discs at all four corners. VWoA decided on drums for all models (bar the upcoming GLI), though.

    • 0 avatar
      vwtdifan

      I own a 2001 90hp Jetta TDI. I have 230000Ks (150000 miles)on it. The only reason I bought it is because of the great looks of the inside,that soft feeling dash, and the way it was set out. Oh did i mention the diesel engine. That beautiful DIESEL engine. I hope VW knows what they are doing by making the interior NorthAmerican (cheap plastic dashes)
      I also own a 2007 Impala LTZ. Great looks on the out side, but oh that cheap NorthAmerican cheap plastic. And an engine rebuilt at 15000. I should have bought a Passat
      The only reason I would buy a Jetta again is of the TDI option. If the new Jettas are as cheap looking inside as people say they are, I may have to keep my old one.

  • avatar
    George B

    Sad. I like the interior of the 2010 Jetta, but didn’t like the too tall for it’s footprint proportions. New 2011 Jetta improves the proportions, but removes the upscale interior, good rear suspension, and rear disk brakes. For me the German car tradeoff is you get a superior interior and excellent suspension, but you have to visit your unfriendly dealer more frequently and pay big bucks when parts wear out. Without the good stuff, why would the consumer tolerate the bad?

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    A German Corolla?

    Meh. I’ll pass….

  • avatar

    I assume they didn’t provide a 2010 Jetta or 2011 Jetta SW for comparison purposes. Sampled back-t0-back I wonder how large the differences seem.

    One defense of hard plastic: some of the soft-touch material started peeling off my sister’s 2002 Jetta when the car was only about three years old.

    Looking forward to providing some quick initial reliability stats for the new car.

    To participate in TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey:

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

  • avatar
    slavuta

    The only reason, why you don’t call this car what it is (piece of major cr@p) is because VW fed you, flied you and so on.

    • 0 avatar

      No, the only reason I didn’t call this car “a piece of major cr@ap” is that I understand that the car game is a business, and VW is trying to give Americans what they think we want. Also because the Golf and Sportwagon still provide a more traditional VW option. This car is about expanding the brand.
      That said, there are only a few cars in this segment that I like less, and I’m deeply skeptical of VW’s attempt to bring their brand downmarket in the states. Especially because Hyundai, GM and Ford are currently so desperate to bring higher-quality interiors into this price point. When we get this car together with the new Focus, the new Elantra, the Cruze, the Mazda3, and (eventually) the new Civic, we will be able to say definitively if this car has a place and purpose in the market place.
      In the meantime, excuse me for not pretending that this car has zero redeeming qualities… it’s large, can be had with tech toys for relatively cheap, looks decent and is a better drive than other, better-selling competitors. I didn’t drive the base model (which does look like cr@p on paper), so I can’t base the review on that. In any case, I would personally take a Subaru Impreza or Mazda3 over this (FWIW), but then I enjoy driving and don’t need a ton of rear seat space. Your mileage may vary…

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      @Ed:

      In the meantime, excuse me for not pretending that this car has zero redeeming qualities… it’s large, can be had with tech toys for relatively cheap, looks decent and is a better drive than other, better-selling competitors.

      Idk, a 2011 Jetta SE auto should be about $20K. A Mazda6i and Fusion S auto are about 20K. A Malibu LT can be had for under 20K right now. All three are bigger and get better fuel economy than the Jetta. If VW has sacrificed the premium “Germanness” of the car, then what is there?

    • 0 avatar
      Seminole 95

      @slavuta

      That is a cheap shot. He fully discloses what they provided, which is more than you can say about a lot of car media outlets. I also thought the review was rather negative, and not biased towards VW.

      If you only have $X and want a VW, this car might be the thing for you.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Cheap interior, iffy reliability, sub-par fuel economy, drum brakes and a torsion rear axle? Remind me what the attraction of this vehicle is? Prospective buyers may be wise to wait for the new Elantra instead.

    You also have to wonder about VWs product direction if they are simultaneously considering a return of the Phaeton while churning out this sub-prime offering.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      “carguy-You also have to wonder about VWs product direction if they are simultaneously considering a return of the Phaeton while churning out this sub-prime offering.”

      Right it isn’t like General Motors is making the Corvette/Cadillac while selling the Aveo. What’s your point? GRIN!

  • avatar
    v65magnafan1

    Well, with almost 250,000 km on my 2000 Crown Vic, I decided to change cars if and when the air conditioner breaks. It’s been fine through the hottest summer in decades.

    VW was on my short list. With this new Jetta, there’s no reason not to buy a Honda. Or, maybe I could get a 2010 Jetta at a Golfy price.

    Has the 2011 Golf been sent to Walmart finishing school, too?

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      The Golf (built in Germany, not Mexico) continues with the multi-link rear suspension, disc brakes all around and the upscale interior. The Jetta is no longer a Golf with the trunk, this move by VWoA separates their future directions.

  • avatar
    cwallace

    Anyone moving from a five year old GM vehicle will feel right at home at the helm of this little jewel. Maybe the cheap interior is part of the appeal to the “I’m doing more for the Earth than you are” buyer who makes up a lot of VW’s customer base?

  • avatar
    Adamatari

    Why would you buy this car over a Toyota, Honda, or Hyundai?

    I keep wondering how VW ever became the biggest automaker… Perhaps their commitment to older-generation vehicles (Beetle till 2003 in Mexico, Mk1 Golf till 2009 in South Africa) in the third world that are easier to fix gave them an advantage over other makes like Toyota? Maybe in Europe Toyotas and Hondas magically break down three times as often? It never quite made sense to me.

    Even if this car is dead reliable, why would someone buy it over a Civic?

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Adamatari – there are advanatges to not worrying about having the newest and best. Sometimes 1985 is good enough to park along the curb and run errands with but because it is new you don’t have 25 year old car problems like rust and crumbling plastic.

      I’d seriously consider a new 1985 VW if I could buy it cheap enough. My VWs have generally been very good cars that I drove to well over 200,000 miles. I did not say trouble free though.

      I’ll put up with some problems as long as they don’t randomly strand me or cost a ton to fix such as my $15 wiper lever fix in my ’97 VW Cabrio. No big deal. When this same issue came up a few years ago in my grandfather’s Lumina the dealer wanted close to $150 for basically the same part.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    My understanding is that the MkV Jetta was killing VW on cost, and that even the cost-cut MkVI Golf wasn’t going to help. Hence the much, much cheaper “NMS” Jetta.

    I believe the Passat is going to move to a variant of this design as well and, given how brutally expensive the Passat is versus it’s competition, you can see why.

    • 0 avatar

      This is actually the “NCS” (New Compact Sedan)… the Chattanooga-built NMS will do for the Passat what this did for the Jetta. You got the cost issue dead right though… VW’s reps didn’t sugarcoat the fact that they “had no choice but to change their approach to the US market.”

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Duly noted.

      I really fear for this car. I like VWs, despite the smack I’ve talked, and wouldn’t at all mind leasing one or having someone buy me one, and it’s kind of sad to see this happen.

      Question: generally, these cars have some of the best seats in the business when it comes to long-term comfort. Is that still the case, or have they been reduced to Toyota-style, short-plank-and-foam-block jobs?

    • 0 avatar

      No, they’re better than that. Most people will be very satisfied with the vinyl leatherette and soft-ish padding… in other words, they’re very appropriate for this car’s plasticky take on mid-American values.

  • avatar
    ash78

    I’ve spent my entire driving life behind the helm of a VW, and I’ll keep my diatribe to the ultra-short version:

    In an attempt to go mass market, VW is alienating all the people who bought their cars in the first place–people who wanted the most standard features for the money, Euro styling and driving manners, and could tolerate less-than-Honda reliability in exchange. The poor-man’s Bimmer or Merc, for lack of a better quip.

    If VW falls short on ANYTHING with this new “strategy”–say with high depreciation or less-than-Honda reliability–it’ll be all for naught. For the time being, though, they see to be making inroads into the mass market…however, it takes about 5 years for stuff to really start breaking, and that window has not yet ended for the MkV models.

    • 0 avatar
      lawmonkey

      I think EN had a good point when he said that if you want traditional VW experience, there are a few other models you can get into. This is a business attempt to reach a new market, while still providing a channel for existing customers (even if there might not be one with a trunk).

      Although I am alarmed – Mitsubishi tried this with Project America, and most of those products are doing quite badly, while their other Lancer-based offerings are doing better (if not great).

    • 0 avatar
      EEGeek

      I’m sort of in agreement. I’m a Volkswagen driver and stuff like a nice interior matters since I spend a lot of time there. I view this car as a ‘dub that Volkswagen drivers would never buy, just like the Routan. But it’s not really aimed at us – it’s a ‘dub for people who don’t want to drive a Volkswagen. Das Appliance. I expect the NMS and anything else coming from Chattanooga to be more of the same.

      All of which kind of makes me sad. I don’t have a lifetime of driving VWs (just 13+ years), but I really like the one I have and would like to buy another. The Golf/GTI, Sportwagen (ugly butt!), and perhaps Tiguan ($$$) are all that appeal to me, and they keep decontenting the GTI. I’m wondering more and more if a 2012 Focus hatchback or even a Kia Forte might be in my future – Mazda is out until they wipe that stupid grin off the nose. In the end I think it will come down to which interior and which ride I like best.

    • 0 avatar
      roadscholar

      Here, here, I haven’t needed any repairs on my Mk IV GLI VR6 Bahn-Burner with 84K miles but as long as I can get parts I will do anything to keep it going. Every time I drive it I am delighted by the European feel of the whole car. What made VW’s special was how they made you feel. Sadly, it sounds like that may no longer be the case with the new Jetta. Get those Mk IV’s & V’s while they last.

      • 0 avatar
        vento97

        > but as long as I can get parts I will do anything to keep it going

        Which is why I’m still driving my 1997 mk3 Jetta (350,000 miles) and my 2003 Mk4 Wolfsburg Jetta 1.8T (185,000 miles)…  I love the body styles, interiors, driving dynamics, etc…

        VW can keep the MkVI (with the exception of the upcoming GLI).

        That being said, I’ve been seeing a lot of MkVI Jettas on the road as of late – so maybe VW knows something about the U.S. market that I don’t know about…???

        Hmm…..

  • avatar
    colin42

    Is it just me or does that interior look like it was transplanted out of a Dodge Caliber?

    Perhaps it’s all a cunning plan to make Americans finally accept that hatchbacks (i.e. the Golf) are better cars!

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    This is a ghastly car that wins a pass because it was made in Germany.

    The cost of rebuilding that transmission, when it will surely catastrophically detonate at say, 40 or 50 thousand miles, will be at least $5,000 or $6,000.

    If this site really merited the title “The Truth About Cars,” the conclusion to this review would have been that drivers should RUN away from this dog turd.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      I’m pretty sure this car isn’t made in Germany. Not that it matters because German-made VWs haven’t been any better (and sometimes are worse).

    • 0 avatar
      colin42

      Would that be Germany, aka Puebla, Mexico?

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      So even though the review was already negative, you criticize it because you think that it should have been *more* negative simply because you assume (based on what data?) that the transmission will break and be expensive to fix?

    • 0 avatar
      EChid

      @JuniperBug: That transmission comment is an assumption based on history. The 07 and up Jettas/Golfs with teh “breakthrough” DSG transmission DID go kaboom. Often right after the warranty was up. VW blithely ignored the issue and customers were stuck with a $7,000 repair bill. I know not ever VW will do this, but this is the type of nightmare that has kept me and many others away. And it just happened as little as one or two years ago (is it even fixed now?)

    • 0 avatar
      KeninRVA

      I own a 2008 r32.  DSG transmission went kaboom at 23k miles.  So I guess, to answer your question, no they are not fixed yet.

  • avatar
    Alex L. Dykes

    Ed is right, VW is catering to our (American) perceived demands. If Americans really wanted better interior quality and refinement, then they would put their money where their mouth is. One can see that Toyota is not facing customers running away in droves over their interior downgrade regiment. Similarly although Ford’s interiors have been going up market, there really hasn’t been a huge sales increase. It would appear that the vast majority of the car buying public in this country values certain features and space over economy and refinement.

    • 0 avatar

      I think they may also value reliability which the Corolla, for all of the penny pinching that happened to the interior, still probably has. Even thought GM and Ford are adding better interiors, people are still leery of them due to past experience.

      I’ve never owned a VW so I can’t personally vouch for reliability, but I know when I was buying my Mazda another couple who was also buying a Mazda started talking to me about the horrors of their Jetta, and why they would never buy another VW again.

    • 0 avatar
      0menu0

      Americans probably value reliability and fuel economy(which VW is short on)more than a stroke-worthy dash and door cards.

  • avatar

    This is disturbing…

  • avatar
    threeer

    The decontenting, while (perhaps) a necessary move from a business plan perspective, now takes away just about any reason to consider this vehicle over any other number of cars in this class. That being said, it may do better than higher priced VWs have. And I don’t see it “getting a pass because it was made in Germany.”
    What I continue to fail to understand (at least when it comes to VW) is that it continues to get horrendous marks here in the USA (granted, probably well-deserved) but is one of the largest manufacturers of vehicles around the rest of the world. Are Americans really that picky, or is the rest of the world that gullable/stupid?

    • 0 avatar
      Brian P

      VW’s are not regarded as being unreliable in Europe. We’ve had several of them in the family, and they’ve been fine. My current Jetta is a 2006 TDI, with 287,000 km on it, and it has been good.

      BUT … I don’t like the direction that this new Jetta is heading. When the time comes to replace it, I’ll do like the article suggests, and buy a Golf wagon, complete with the (much better) Golf 6 interior and all-independent suspension and 4-wheel disk brakes. That’s assuming that VW doesn’t ruin the Golf also, with the next redesign.

      With the gasoline engines, there seems little reason to buy the new Jetta instead of any of several competitors.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      I think the median Euro consumer just has different priorities and they are willing to make tradoffs that the median US consumer isn’t as willing to make.

    • 0 avatar
      EChid

      @ Brian P: That is a very interesting point. I have German friends who were utterly shocked when I told them that VWs were viewed as horribly unreliable here. For some reason, in Europe, none of the significant issues we have here show up? Is it that the majority of cars are diesels?

  • avatar
    educatordan

    Sounds like a baby Impala. Seriously. Go back and read the comments on the interior. If GM want’s to destroy the competition, Toyota and VW seem to be helping. Com’ on GM, man up and spend a little more on your interiors, you could kill these turkeys.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      The Cruze and 2012 Focus definitely have nicer-looking interiors than the Jetta, at least in photos. I’ll have to have a sit in all three myself to judge how they stack up in fit & finish and touch, but I’m guessing the Americans have pulled ahead here. Like Ed said, that doesn’t necessarily matter to buyers, and the Jetta will likely undercut both Yanks in base price before incentives.

    • 0 avatar
      segfault

      I think I’d rather have the Impala… Much more powerful, roomier, comfy ride, about the same mileage (30 MPG highway), and the engine stays quiet during normal driving, plus any mechanic can work on it.

    • 0 avatar

      LaCrosse, Regal, Cruze (that stupid z in there drives me nuts), and Enclave all seem to have very high quality interiors.

      Malibu, Equinox, Terrain are competitive.

      Camaro is kind of junky though.

      Overall, GM seems to be moving in the right direction and Toyota and VW the wrong. Now if only GM can keep moving in the right direction!

  • avatar
    mjz

    VW is doing to itself what Daimler did to Chrysler. We all know how well that went.

  • avatar
    EChid

    “Unfortunately for Volkswagen, relatively few Americans want to spend extra for the taut suspension, high-quality interior and refined ambiance of a European car.”

    Oh stuff it Edward, that is down right insulting. I loved the way my Volkswagen drove. So do lots of North Americans. You insult are intelligence to pretend that the reason we didn’t buy VWs is because we are just too stupid to understand their european qualities and too simple to appreciate high quality interiors.

    The reason we didn’t buy these is because they have proven over and over again to be horrifically unreliable in many different ways (aforementioned build quality, engines, electronics, poor engineering etc.), account destroyingly expensive to repair and have frustratingly unhelpful dealerships.

    So please, although I usually like your writing, take the car snobbery elsewhere and give us a little credit.

    Also, taut suspensions? Have you driven previous gen Jetta? My 2001 was as soft as a babies bottom and wallowed in the corners like a summersaulting whale. The Passats were no different.

    • 0 avatar

      No need to take it personally… it’s just business. VW has numbers that show everyone knows and likes what the Jetta is but won’t consider it because of the high price. In other words, they don’t seem to think reliability is the only reason the Jetta sells less than half the volume of Corolla and Civic. You can believe their consideration analysis or not, but you can’t really ignore the fact that enthusiast-oriented brands like Mazda and VW have been hurting lately… the sales numbers don’t lie.
       

    • 0 avatar
      EChid

      I’m not taking it personally. I have owned a Jetta and now own a Mazda 3. I’m not the crowd that comment was aimed at.

      VWs just don’t make a good case for themselves (beyond the diesels that is). The engineering seems nice, yes, but the transmissions had massive issues, and 2.0T engines had major design faults and the 2.5s are inefficient. Additionally, the “quality” resulted in squeaking interior materials, and roof liners that become unglued. Asking people to pay more for that reputation is not a case of poor judgement, its a case of common sense. They simply weren’t competitive. I analyzed every aspect of the Jetta in an effort to convince myself to buy one, and it just didn’t happen. Cost or not cost (used, they get pretty similar to a 3), the quality issues and poor engineering always came forth.

      Oh, I hate the term (and the snobbery attached to it), but Jettas are hardly “enthusiasts” automobiles. If a sporty ride is your gauge, they are pretty soft and forgiving. That is the reason I liked mine.

      By the way, up here in Canada the Mazda 3 is near tied for sales with the Civic. I don’t think the “enthusiasts” cars are having any difficulties.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      EChid

      That’s hitting hard.

      I just purchased my daughter a 09 Tiguan. It drives really solid on the Ozark hills, once you get used to the turbo lag.
      BUT the days already spent trying to find the electrical problem that was causing the “brake” and “seatbelt” warnings was troubling.
      I sure hope this isn’t common with VW.

      MY QUESTION, however, is why do Mazda3 cars sell so well in the north country?
      My 05 three has a terrible time with traction with the slightest hint of moisture.
      Perhaps this went away with traction control in 07.

    • 0 avatar
      EChid

      I hope your VW woes sort out. I know they have been making improvements, but my research revealed some pretty sore points still.

      As for the Mazdas, the Canadian market is actually very different from the US. Most people use FWD cars and stick snows on them. In addition, Canadians buy A LOT more small cars, and they buy a lot more hatchbacks (ex. loaded 06-07 Mazda 6s barely even show up as anything but hatches and wagons, no sedans in sight). The 3 combines both, so they sell like hotcakes.

      Contrary to popular belief, snow does not require AWD (and I live in a snowbelt). It requires a sensitive touch and attention to what your car is doing. And some money spent on capable winter tires. Its just a driving strategy you get used to, but its not as stress free (as you know). Most Canadians seem to feel the same way, given sales trends here.

      Btw, traction control is no where on my car, mines an 05 too.

    • 0 avatar
      Extra Credit

      @TrailerTrash

      Mazda 3s sell in Canada because they are less expensive than their competitors. It appears that Volkswagen has chosen to level the playing field. We’ll see how that works out for everyone involved.

    • 0 avatar
      EChid

      @Extra Credit
      Uh, no they aren’t. The Civic, Corolla and Mazda 3 all start at the same price (the Carolla undercuts by $500). The Cobalt and Elantra are the cheap alternatives in the segment.

    • 0 avatar
      stryker1

      “I know they have been making improvements, but my research revealed some pretty sore points still.”
      Any vehicle you research enough is going to show something that could turn out bad. I just got a letter from Honda that confirmed alot of message-board rumors. It basically said “Hey, there’s a chance your cooling system will leak and your engine will crack. Heads up.” I definitely didn’t think that was in the realm of possibility when I signed for my 06 civic. Impossible to be too safe.

  • avatar
    pauldun170

    It goes well with my iPhone and Ed Hardy shirt therefore its the best car ever.
    Thanks dad for the gift.
    VW’s are awesome.

    “Dude when you get a Kia”

    ITs not fricken KIA!!!
    Its Euro

  • avatar

    Wow. A Jetta with rear drums.
    -Never thought I’d see the day.

    .
    I think VW likes making 8v engines for the base model, hence the low power. -Maybe due to their love of snapping Timing Belts in the 16v flavors?

    Also: the only engines I can recall VW going over .5L/cyl of displacement are their sixes.
    They were getting embarrassed on power vs. other companies doing 16v 2.3 & 2.4, so they decided that wonky 2.5 5cyl was the solution.

    Christ, what a bunch of a**holes! -Even a base-model Mitsubishi Lancer has a 2.0 Aluminum-Block 16v with VVT that makes 152hp!!!

    *Note: I can see why Ze Chermans didn’t go that route, though. Standard ‘VW Reliability’ would’ve detonated the entire car in a gas-giant of wagnerian she-mastodon hellfire if they put an aluminum-block vvt in one of their rides. -They’d be picking up intake valves and engine block chunks four counties away.

    I like the [boring] design of this better than the outgoing model, but not much else.

    • 0 avatar
      EChid

      I would just like to comment that vehicles with rear drums is actually a GOOD thing. Realistically, who is pulling endless high performance maneuvers on their cars, especially these ones?

      Its a common misconception, but rear discs are expensive and problematic. They catch road crap and seize and pull all kinds of crappy moves that just cost $$$. I’m just as happy with drums.

      *breaks into bongo dance*

  • avatar
    rnc

    Man oh man, I mean perhaps VW is trying to find out if everyone else has it right, a “majority” of americans will settle for blah if it is priced correctly. Suppose it’s better to find out on a car made in mexico than to find out after it’s to late to make any changes to the NMS or whatever it is (but that would be a much more expensive lesson). There just aren’t enough people who are willing to pay more for a car that is less (in some important regards) to justify VW’s past NA strategy.

  • avatar
    mjz

    This strategy will backfire on VW.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      I agree. The can’t-quite-afford-a-BMW crowd will abandon this car in droves, and that leaves it competing with a ton of other compact sedans at the same price point, most of which get better gas mileage and have much better reputations for reliability. I understand VW wants to be a player in North America, but it’s better to make a tidy profit in a niche market than to go big and get your clock cleaned.

      They may do OK this year selling to people excited about being able to afford a Jetta,-although the me-too styling makes that far from a sure thing– but once the honeymoon’s over it will get ugly fast.

      • 0 avatar
        VWGuy

        “You can look. And you can touch. Any way you look at it, the Jetta is as sophistocated as it is accessible.”

        C’mon, why don’t they just smile and tell us they are being deliberately untruthful?

        Yes, I am a part of the “can’t-quite-afford-a-BMW crowd” and this is why I purchased VWs for many years. There was always a level of quality that just didn’t exist in anything else for the money in that segment.

        I recently took a walk through a VW lot and sat in the base model Jetta S. I instantly had an intense urge to puke.

        puke (pyk) Slang
        intr. & tr.v. puked, puk·ing, pukes
        To vomit.
        n.
        1. The act of vomiting.
        2. Vomit.
        3. One regarded as disgusting or contemptible.

        I don’t get the price point thing. My 2006 Jetta was under $18k and I considered it a bargain in comparison to the so-called competition.

        Urlich Hackenberg (VW brand development director) can shove this 2011 laser seam welded tin can POS up his rear because this car is just too expensive for me for what you get.

        Yeah, go ahead and walk through a VW lot and check out the sticker prices and then think back to the lame TV adds they keep cramming down our thoats. VW is actually targeting buyers to go for the SE model anyway, not the S model.

        I went through the interior features list on the S model and you don’t even get a locking glovebox. The list of stuff they hacked out is vast. But you wouldn’t know this unless you owned the previous model.

        And I can’t believe the silly debate over the introduction of drum brakes. Why are rear disc brakes included on the SEL model?

        Perhaps I am missing something here. If I was a loyal Corolla buyer or Civic buyer, I would likely continue buying them. I really wouldn’t see a need to jump into unknown territory. I did this once when I wandered into Ford dealer and bought a new Contour back in the late ’90s. Oh yeah, it had an automatic transmission, V6, anti-lock brakes, and alloy wheels.

        The car stickered at just over $20k but I got it for just under $18k. Issues appeared on the third day – a horrible grinding noise only when making hard left turns. The dealer told me “they all do that” and that it was a trait of the car. The dashboard squeaked constantly and visibly flexed when going over bumps.

        After 1 year of ownership I could not stand it anymore and decided to trade it in for an Audi A4. The Audi/VW dealer would only give me $8,500 for the car.

        They are going to butcher the 2012 Passat too! The economy model will start in the $20,000 range according to Hackenberg. Does this mean less than $21,000? Oh, and no more 2.0T as this gets replaced by the 5 banger with a 5 speed auto, not the 6 speed as in the previous model. But the interior bits should be of higher quality than the Jetta.

        So the Passat is expected to sticker for less than a Chevy Malibu? I can’t wait to see this.

        And for this, you get something that looks like a puffed up Jetta. Ha!

    • 0 avatar
      Robbie

      Can you just imagine that Wolfsburg meeting where the VW executive spoke: “For the US market, let’s build a VW Corolla, that combines VW reliability with Toyota interior styling!”

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        Looks like VW is removing all that makes a VW a VW and thus interesting to me. Those tiny details are really important to me – advanced lighting, locking glovebox, fancy intermittent wiper controls, six speed manual, etc. Otherwise I can go buy a Detroit product. Those things are not important to a certain kind of buyer and in my family that means the people who think of a car like an appliance, who do not appreciate a nice car – only a shiny car that is reliable and reasonably new. I’m looking at you Dad – the guy that bought a Corvette with every bell and whistle but over two years of ownership has never used half of them and complained of getting lost on a roadtrip but still refused to turn on the in-dash GPS RIGHT THERE all ready to go.

        VW better be careful while they are in a rush to appeal to the appliance drivers. They risk losing traditional VW buyers to other brands – I for one will leap over VW to buy a lightly used Audi, BMW or Merc.

      • 0 avatar
        VWGuy

        To: joeaverage, please excuse the rant…

        Yes, those tiny details are really important to mee too. I am a detail guy. My wife could care less (point A to B to her) but even she was blown away when she drove my Passat.

        I just turned in my off lease 2008 Passat and was sick to see it go. All I could think on the way to the dealer was “what’s next?”

        This car was so good. The interior and exterior styling, the placement and feel of the controls, comfort, power, etc.

        Perhaps the thought is silly, but during the final drive, when I flipped the turn signal stalk to make a turn, I thought of how well crafted this seemingly simple device was. Just the right feel, just the right feedback, just the right weight. No sense of flimsiness here.

        I thought about the level of effort that went into getting the quality just right and wondered about the people behind this task. Could it really be any better in a BMW? I wondered.

        This was a $26k car made in Germany. What will I ever be able to buy brand new, this good, for this amount of money? Is it this good in a $27K Jetta SEL? Will it be this good in the 2012 Passat?

        I take care of my stuff. Have you ever walked through a mall parking lot and looked at the things people do to their cars? I guess VW is really after the appliance drivers after all. You should have seen the look on the face of the guy at the dealer when I handed over the keys. It was like I took my car out of a time capsule. To him, it was utter amazement. He said “We’ll be buying this one.”

        But, VW’s goal is to be number one by 2018. Why is this so important to this company? Isn’t number two ever good enough?

        I like my cars to be simple but I need quality, comfort and looks. I don’t need gadgets and I hate leather because it never holds up.

        So I said OK, let’s see what Audi is up to. I have always considered the A3 a gem of a car and can be purchased for less than a VW CC. I like cloth, some people like leather. Don’t you think they got rid of the cloth and went with leather as standard. Who knows, maybe cloth wasn’t a big seller for that car or maybe it’s just VW Group doing what they do for the sake of efficiency.

        I guess the Golf or the Jetta Sportwagen would be the next best thing but they will likely jetta-ize these cars too for the appliance market in the near future. I sure hope not…I sure hope not.

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        VWGuy

        What do you mean no 2.0T? The GLI is going to have the turbo, the tdi the diesel and the 5 cylinder is the real base car. They showed the GLI at the NY auto show and it obviously had the same material dash as the GTI, the same red stitching and the same drivetrain. It looks like it might even undercut the GTI on price (according to the PS), and it’s definitely not far off SEL pricing.

        The S is a gimmick, the 2.5 in the SE/L is VW’s most reliable engine (check the Golf scores), the tdi is unique in class and price and the GLI is the one anyone commenting here would likely buy anyway, and that doesn’t look to be a car your criticisms would accurately apply to.

        I still don’t understand why everyone hates on the new Jetta, you’d think people in general would applaud the “nice car” company attempting to come down in complexity and price on some of their trim levels. I know that if BMW started shilling $25k 1-series I’d be stoked, even if they had comparitively lesser dashboards etc… than the 128 and 135.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        Wonder what it costs to get a dashboard covered in leather? Might be a cheap-ish upgrade for people who care.

        Looked at a 1st gen CR-V last week in a local junkyard that had been upgraded to a professional grade sunroof, leather and aluminum accents back when the CR-V could not have been purchased with those upgrades at the dealer. Nice looking touches on an otherwise utilitarian vehicle. Probably added $3K to the cost of the vehicle. Was a former Florida car that looked good despite it’s 235K miles. A fronal collision killed it. I would like to put that sunroof in my CR-V but I’m not sure how they added the hole to the roof and the headliner was altered to make space for the sunroof.

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        joeaverage

        funny you mention that, I was just looking into doing it myself on our Honda. My downstairs neighbor does high end furniture restoration, and has done a car dash or two in the past. I can try to remember and post the cost of materials once I get it all figured out if you’d like.

        I’d really like to use a thin foam backing (maybe memory foam) in combination with the leather. It looks like it may be possible to order it to the right thickness.

      • 0 avatar
        VWGuy

        tedward

        Sorry, I had strayed into 2012 Passat territory there for a moment. The Passat will only have 3 engine choices and the 2.0T will not be one of them, according to what I have read.

        I have owned both Jettas and Passats for over 2 decades, and you’re right, my criticisms do not apply to the GLI as it’s a car for a different audience.

        At this point, I like the Golf and the SportWagen but I have read that VW will likely abandon the Golf because it doesn’t sell. And, what will become of the SportWagen?

        I always regarded the Jetta as a compact car in a class of its own – not to be even remotely compared to a Corolla or a Civic. I won’t buy those cars at any cost.

        Yes, as you say, the S model is a gimmick and VW has already raised the price of this car $500 since it hit the showroom floor ($15,995 to $16,495).

        I thought, for a moment that, I would check out the 2012 Passat when it becomes available. But then I found out that they are going to American-ize this auto with the rich appearance of plastic woodgrain trim and, oh yeah, an analog clock [teeth grinding]. Man, it’s just not for me.

        It’s a new world order for VW though. Profits are, apparently, everything.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        Tedward – Yeah I’d like hear about it if you get a price.

        VWGuy – I completely get what you are saying. Those details are important to me too. I hope we are in a position to buy a Sportwagon TDI six speed manual before they are replaced with something like the VW Fox wagon “now made with extra styrofoam”… I don’t mind a cheap car and that might be what VW needs to build and sell here to make a profit. That said I don’t want to buy a cheap car. The Sportwagon has all the right stats to suit us well. I don’t want a five cylinder either. Give me a turbo diesel or a turbo four.

      • 0 avatar
        VWGuy

        joeaverage

        Thanks for the post.

        I have read that the new Golf will hit the U.S. market either at the end of 2012 or early 2013. I don’t know how this fits in terms of model year so the info could be inaccurate.

        I assume the SportWagen is based on the same platform as the Golf, so if this is the case then maybe these cars will be available for a while.

        I don’t want a cheap car either as I have become spoiled over the quality I have come to expect from VW. I would even prefer a budget Golf over a new Jetta.

  • avatar
    John R

    Reliability, or fear of the lack there of has always been the major impediment. Not price. Jetta pricing I’ve always found reasonable.

    When I was looking for a car 2-3 years ago I took a long hard look at a low mileage, 2 year old GTI and low mileage 1 year old Jetta with the 5-pot. Then I reminisced about my sister’s Passat and shuddered. Her car lasted 3 years before giving up the ghost running up the Amex. I needed my whip to last 5.

    Just couldn’t take the risk.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      John R – what do you mean it gave up the ghost? You mean it was unrepairable?

      I’m driving a 13 year old VW Cabrio and it’s doing fine at 171K miles. Admittedly it’s had some issues like plastic stuff breaking but so far nothing expensive. I think the most expensive thing I’ve replaced is the pwr steering pump at $125 or so. Still on original tranny, alternator, starter, engine, brake calipers, abs everything, etc. Like I said it’s not been flawless but I can name off plenty of other vehicle brands which friends and family have needed pretty serious and expensive repairs on.

      Are we saying that a VW needs to be rock solid and zero repairs for 170K miles? Yeah my CR-V has accomplished that now at 202K miles.

      I’ll put up with a few repairs as long as quality parts are not expensive and I honestly like to drive/ride in a vehicle.

      FWIW I do 100% of my own repairs.

  • avatar
    mjz

    Chevy Cruze LT with 1.4 turbo, six speed auto, and upscale interior for $18,175 plus destination is going to blow “Das Auto” right out of the water.

    • 0 avatar

      Only if by ‘blow “Das Auto” right out of the water.’ you mean ‘destroy the entire containershipfull of Jettas in the port due to the massive thermonuclear GM Turbo Failure in a Cruze parked 4 blocks away.’ -then, Yes; I agree with you.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Holy derivative styling batman. I didn’t know VW was now after Kia shoppers with the this dull bland generic yawnmobile with an equally dull yawn inducing interior. No split folding rear seat and the as tested $23395 price are the final straws that break this forgettable camels back.

  • avatar
    crc

    That Jetta would look great in beige.

    As a previous VW owner, I occasionally get the itch to go back but thankfully VW reminds me to stay away.

  • avatar
    Revver

    I do get the “alienating the core” kinda comments, but of course, there’s no growth by reselling to the core every 5 years.

    People really need to read current reliability figures for VW. The Mk4 days are over. Happy Mk5 Jetta owner here with zero issues.

    I was getting a bit nervous on reading this review until getting to the wagon news. So, that is likely our next move.

    A sometimes overlooked advantage the VWs have in this class: leg room. At 6.4″ 36″ inseam, no other car in this class fits. The all-the-way-back seat setting is almost too far.

    It will be interesting to see how the market reacts and how VW chooses to alter their marketing since they’ve altered their product. VW current marketing: completely lost in the wilderness.

    Edit: Oh, and RE: the bar tab, way to take a global corporation’s money and put it into the local economy. Well done.

    • 0 avatar
      Wagen

      As regards your leg room comment, you must be referring only to front leg room. The GTIs I’ve owned or shopped (which I believe use the same floorpan as the Jetta) certainly leave much to be desired versus the competition when it comes to rear leg room. I doubt with the front seat adjusted comfortably for you, an “average-height” adult would be comfortable in the passenger seat behind.

    • 0 avatar

      “People really need to read current reliability figures for VW.”

      I took your challenge.

      JD Power long term dependability 2010 puts VW at third worst brand in the US.

      Second result was Consumer Reports rating the Touareg as the least reliable vehicle sold in America with 2,700% more problems than the best vehicle.

      I suggest VW salesman not offer potential buyers the same challenge.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      praxis

      right but how about the actual cars? From what I read in CR (and I was shopping a VW for a family member (who’s a subscriber and bases decisions on it) very recently) the Taureg is the odd man out. Like it or not CR is now recommending a bunch of them (don’t recall the exact number, but it’s more rather than less). The Jetta was one of them, as was the Golf.

    • 0 avatar
      EChid

      @tedward
      I had a look at my subscription. If you look at them used, CR recommends NO VWs. However, if you look at new car onlys, CR recommends the CC/Passat, GTI/Golf, Jetta and Tiguan. This is despite middling (and I mean empty circle) predicted reliability. This says to me that, like always, VW can build an extremely competive car that is, in many cases, superior to the competition. They just are still struggling on reliability. It has to be said though, that VW appears to have improved in the last two years.

  • avatar

    You look at “Chart Of The Day: July Midsize Sedan Sales” and you notice how many Camrys people buy despite Toyota’s endless problems.
    It’s only a mystery why it took so long for VW to get the idea that Americans don’t care about interior quality, they care about price! Take a quick visit to a Toyota dealer, sit in a Corolla or Camry and you can count the $$$ saved in plastic.
    The last time I was at a Toyota dealer, I asked why is it that the Camry does not have folding mirrors? a basic feature if you ever park your car on the street, the nice sales person told me it’s made this way to prevent wind noise??? really???

  • avatar
    Wagen

    My $0.02:

    In the American car market, there are:
    1)enthusiasts (let’s give a generous estimate of maybe 15% of new car buyers). They buy a car due to its mechanical feature set or specifications (that would actually care about RWD vs. FWD, torsion bar vs. double-wishbone), or the way it drives (not the way it “rides”). They place less emphasis on reliability than performance. Examples of marques frequented by these buyers: BMW, VW, Mazda.

    The remaining 85% of the new car market is separated (roughly evenly, discounting fleet sales) into:
    2)people who buy by name. They buy a car because they associate something good with the make/model (e.g., prize reliability highly, and so buy a Toyota because “a leading consumer publication” has given their vehicles’ reliability their blessing), or want some kind of status symbol/to broadcast what they drive. Marques: Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus.

    3)people who buy by price. For them, getting the “most car,” usually in terms of space, or features, etc., in any particular car category, for the least money, is most important. Marques: typically, the domestics, Kia, perhaps Acura.

    This is not an exhaustive breakdown, and often one car maker’s models fall into different categories (e.g., Mustang might fit into 1., while Focus might fit into 3). And my numbers are speculative.

    I think VW is going after increasing its market share/volume/revenue/etc. by appealing more to category 3) which makes up a vastly larger number of possible car buyers than category 1). In doing so, they are, at least with this model, choosing to forego and possibly alienate the 15% to go after the 40%.

    And one more observation: sure, American car buyers do want better quality interiors, materials, craftsmanship, etc., but as illustrated above, you have a large portion of the potential buyers who are NOT willing to pay for it. Contrast this to Europe, where buyers are, in fact, willing to pay more for better materials in a small car and don’t necessarily find it a shocking proposition to pay for a car by quality/content versus by size. It seems like people here are completely unwilling to pay, say, $25k for a compact car with excellent materials, etc. (I’m thinking loaded-up Fiesta, A3; the mini cooper does go against this argument), but seem to have no hesitation in spending the same money for a large car whose interior, materials, etc. are abysmal (late Crown Vic, GrandMa).

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Good points, all. Americans are taught (brainwashed) for early on that bigger is always better, more is always more and that we should all aspire to big cars, big houses, etc. VWs strategy would have worked well if it had the reputation for reliability that Toyota has. I’m willing to bet that most VWs are not quite as bad as their online reputation would have you believe, but without those silly red dots in CR, most will not chose the Jetta over the Toyota, even if the price is competitive. People overlook the significant decline in Toyota interior quality because the reliability is still best-in-class. Long time Toyota buyer probably lament that interior quality decline, but they still probably think (erroneously IMHO) that the Toyota’s interior quality still is better than the competition.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Wagen – You are correct. Buy the largest vehicle you can afford in America. Never mind the PlaySkool interior and the way it drives in 50,000 miles is a mess. Notice I’m not beating up on Detroit’s offspring here – just big and sloppy vehicles from any manufacturer.

      I’ve had people close to my wife and I that tell us that someday, when we can afford to, maybe we’ll be able to buy a larger vehicle (as if I’m 19, when I’m middle-aged).

      Uhhh, I can afford to buy a new vehicle today if I want to…

      Meanwhile we prefer our smaller vehicles with their smaller engines and we don’t whine about gas prices going up or repairs on an 80K jiggly-ride SUV that is falling apart because they shopped too much for size and not quality. It was a really nice ride for the first 30K miles wasn’t it.

      Instead we’re happily driving two vehicles we OWN outright that continue to give very good service at minimum cost with 202K miles and 171K miles.

      We’d rather pay off the mortgage vs retiring someday.

      The Jettawagon TDI is indeed on our short list.

  • avatar

    Since when don’t Americans want to pay for quality? Look at all the high quality merchandise we buy at Walmart!

    • 0 avatar
      Cammy Corrigan

      Dude,

      A European Accord is a luxury Acura TSX.

      A Vauxhall Insignia is a luxury Buick Regal.

      Apparently, these regular cars are what passes for luxury in the United States.

      To give you an idea of how ridiculous this is imagine rebadging a Chevrolet Malibu a Cadillac and selling that in Europe.

    • 0 avatar

      They did already… GM took the Epsilon chassis from the Malibu/Saab 9-3 and sold it as the Cadillac BLS in Europe.

      By the way, I drive a previous generation TSX and don’t think of it as a luxury car. I was just happy to get a smaller “Accord” that was nicely trimmed.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Volkswagen breaks the Wal-Mart model in that their stripped down low price Jetta reduces the value of all Jettas. All get stuck with in-your-face cost cutting in the interior with no step-up sedan product. Only possibly makes a little sense if the Audi A3 Sedan was also introduced at the same time.

      Not everything at Wal-Mart is cheap. Their sales model is to catch your attention with a very low “opening price-point” product plus a variety of more expensive products with good everyday prices relative to the competition.
      http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/walmart/interviews/bracy.html
      Can’t ever remember going to Wal-Mart because an item was “on sale” that week. VW following the Wal-Wart model would involve a very low MSRP made in China car to attract you to the store, but also offer the option of Volkswagen, and Audi branded models at progressively higher prices. All would be priced aggressively and incentives would be almost unknown.

    • 0 avatar
      vento97

      “Not everything at Wal-Mart is cheap. ”

      Try telling that to the vendors who have to slash their prices to the bone in order for Wal-Mart to even consider carrying their product…

      Don’t be fooled – even the expensive items have built cheaply.

      You get what you pay for.

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      “To give you an idea of how ridiculous this is imagine rebadging a Chevrolet Malibu a Cadillac and selling that in Europe.”Maybe they should have called it the Volkswagen Cimarron.

      Volkswagen’s logic is understandable, but for the vast majority of American buyers, a Volkswagen Corolla without the reputation for Toyota reliability isn’t going to fly.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Didn’t VW try the really cheap car thing with the VW Fox?

  • avatar
    Boff

    “…wiggle when you grab them like skinny Elvis after a handful of dexedrine…”

    Best. Simile. Evah!!!

    (Yes, it’s a simile, not a metaphor)

  • avatar
    Boff

    In VW’s defense, the Jetta was probably not the destination for Europhiles/driving enthusiasts anyway. The Golf exists for them. I don’t know the sales numbers off the top of my head, but I reckon the GTI annihilated the GLI in sales.

    Nope, the Jetta is now aimed at the soft middle of the US sedan market occupied by the Corolla and Civic sedans. Plenty of drum brakes on those cars…

  • avatar
    Lokki

    I get so confused. Wasn’t it just yesterday that VW was selling the Phaeton and the Touareg and the CC and pushing up into the BMW market.

    Now all that’s dead and it’s all about competing with Honda/Hyundai?

    It sure as hell isn’t about competing with Toyota who (unintended acceleration aside) compete on quality.

    But who ARE these guys?

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      VW appears to think they can sell an entry level vehicle under the same name brand as a very, very expensive sedan in America.

      Just like they do everywhere else.

      We Americans have been trained by the Detroit-3 that different brand names are required to separate the cheap products from the truly desirable and luxury products.

      Can’t have a cheap Caddy hatchback or a $17K four cylinder roadster called a Corvette. At the same time a very, very expensive Chevy SSR truck seems to go beyond the dimension where Chevy drivers tend to congregate.

      I think we have to understand that many European brands sell expensive and cheap under the very same brand names. The Asians have gone “American” in the USA by creating separate brand names like Acura, Infinity and Lexus. Never mind that these products are engineered and built by the same companies that build the $12K entry level vehicles sold on the dealer lot down the street under a different logo.

      VW does have brands like Audi and Bentley and Skoda or Seat but those brands aren’t restricted to selling only cheap or expensive vehicles. Those brands aside from Bentley sell a fairly wide range of products with a fairly wide range of prices as well. A SEAT can be pedestrian or well done. Maybe not M-B well done but at least Honda well done.

  • avatar
    Libertyman03

    This car sounds like my Cobalt; torsion beam rear suspension, HARD plastic everywhere, crappy four-speed auto, simple instruments. At least my Cobalt has cloth seats instead of fake leather. All this Jetta needs is to lose two doors and the VW badges, and it could be sold as a revised cobalt!

    • 0 avatar
      segfault

      I think the Jetta will have a six-speed auto and stability control, but the 2.0 liter engine is essentially the same one from the mid-1990s Jetta. In that respect, it’s a lot like the Cavalier (which did eventually get the Ecotec).

    • 0 avatar
      vento97

      You mean the Cobalt that used a Mk4 VW and the Honda Accord as their design inspiration – only to wind up a generation behind the Honda and VW by the time the Cobalt was released…

  • avatar
    goacom

    VW management sure is a confused lot. First they bring the Phaeton to move the brand upscale. Now they bring this to move it down market!

    Personally, they should have maintained a higher quality interior to give this car better market elasticity and brand distinctiveness.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      VW AG management (read: Ferdinand Piech) came up with the Phaeton.

      This new Jetta was conceived by VWoA management who complained that VW AG did not understand the US market needs and provide them with the kind of cars they needed to be successful.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Why not offer the Jetta in low spec trim and then in “Highline” as well? Why force the customer to choose between a hatch/wagon and a sedan to get higher level trim?

      I’d go for the hatch/wagon anyhow but I know – for some reason – alot of people like sedans.

  • avatar
    carve

    People don’t buy Volkswagon because they got lost while looking for an “American Style” car. They buy them BECAUSE they’re Euro-style. For the price, you get a top-class interior and handling, as well as great styling. People put up with the bad reliability just for those reasons.

    Now VW has made a me-too blandmobile. When people are looking for appliance-type cars, the two biggest considerations are price and appliance-like reliability. Since I doubt VW has made any great strides in reliability, they’ll have to compete on price alone, which is definitely a losing proposition. Hopefully, this’ll make VW either a) clean up their reliability or b) quickly drop this blandmobile for cars more interesting like their older ones.

  • avatar
    JMII

    “One defense of hard plastic: some of the soft-touch material started peeling off my sister’s 2002 Jetta when the car was only about three years old.”

    As someone who owns a ’99 Passat I can tell you the interior is the WORST in terms of wear of ANY vehicle I’ve owned to date (driving since the late 80s). That includes a 9 year old Dodge that has been outside in the FL sun its whole life, two Fords that were well past their prime and several Hondas with jet black interiors and one Chevy POS. After 3 years the VW looked (and drove) the worst… its horrible. I only kept it because its paid off and gets good mileage (1.8 turbo/5 speed).

    Jetta’s are know for ONE thing: broken window regulators. If VW was smart they ditch this model ASAP, its on everyone lists of vehicles to avoid.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Evidently the 2011 Jetta is not going to help with VW’s plan for world domination.

    Your review pushes out the date I will ever own another VW, since my former 02 Passat poisoned my VW taste for a very long time.

    EN, you mentioned how a Kia Forte slipped into the Jetta crowd unnoticed. Besides the similar rear appearance, I think the Forte is a better car; you’ve insulted Kia!

    “But how many consumers out there knock on a car’s dashboard during the buying decision?” I do….

    Oh, and I’ll say it again: I loathe 5-cylinder engines; they stink of compromise.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Funny how the Jetta and Focus seem to be switching places, only with the Focus having the possibility of being reliable.

    I think this was a boneheaded move on Volkswagen’s part. I understand desperate times call for desperate measures, but in an era where people are holding on to cars longer and sales going down you don’t try to fight your way into the volume leaders. You cut costs, but you do your best to retain a customer base and stick with the working formula. Civic/Corolla/Sentra/Focus buyers have no reason to enter a VW dealership, and the lucky Jetta owners who haven’t had serious problems with their car now have no reason to come back for another one. Good luck VW!

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    I feel this is a mistake.
    Point in fact, Mazda made the same mistake trying to “market build” a car rather than just keep trying to build a car as they wanted.

    They did this with the newest 6. They actually built a great car, but the public didn’t like it.
    Maybe it was marketing, I dunno.
    Maybe it is as another B&B reported, the lack of dealerships and lots of bad dealers.

    This car planning is awfully tough stuff.

    Glad I don’t have to do this 5 years in advance of the market.

    • 0 avatar
      James2

      +1

      I think the new 6 alienated the core Mazda buyer (like me) who didn’t want a super-sized Accord/Camry, even if it does drive better.

      Also, whoever is in charge of Mazda marketing should be shot. Then his family charged for the cost of the bullet.

    • 0 avatar
      EChid

      As a Mazda owner who is happy with his dealership experience, I think James2 is exactly right.

      The 6 was the car I wanted to upgrade from (currently driving a 3), but then they redesigned it to be an Accord, except less refined. No hatchback models, no wagons, and we lost the manual option with the V6. Since my 3 is a hatchback, I’m pretty much planning on deserting the brand after this one is done in search of another wagon/hatchback.

      The real shame here is that the 6 sold very well as a wagon or hatchback up here in Canada. Mazda dumped the idea of a world car because they didn’t sell well in the US (thank a LOT, people).

    • 0 avatar
      UnclePete

      EChid: “The real shame here is that the 6 sold very well as a wagon or hatchback up here in Canada. Mazda dumped the idea of a world car because they didn’t sell well in the US (thank a LOT, people).”

      Yeah Mazda didn’t listen to me either. I was in the market for a 6 wagon right as the model year change-over occurred. The local dealer said they couldn’t find a wagon in New England and to wait for the new year so they could order one. Then, oops, no more wagon, sorry, don’t you want a sedan? Meh.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    How is it that Honda can put together a nice, well priced and profitable Civic in Indiana with a modern engine while VW can’t make money building Jettas in Mexico with an old tech iron five?

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      You’ve put the issue into stark relief. That’s a great question.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      I believe the engines are still built in Germany, even if final assembly is in Puebla. And that’s at least one factor for the higher costs.

      As to the engines, the modern four in the Civic puts out 140 hp and 128 lbs-ft of torque; the fiver in the Jetta does 170 hp and 177 lbs-ft of torque. That’s not a massive difference in hp/L, and the torque rating is essentially identical once adjusted for displacement. (The main reason the Civic has higher hp/L is because it peaks out at 6300 rpm rather than 5700 rpm, giving it an extra 10% boost.)

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Maybe the General can put the antediluvian Iron Duke (Tech 4) back into production for VW.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      I’ve got the 2.0 ABA engine and the engine hasn’t been bad. 30/34 mpg. I flog it pretty hard some days for fun and it’s got alot of torque unlike my Honda which I also like. I’d be just as happy with a smaller engine and better mileage honestly. I’m just commuting and doing errands. Not racing…

      That whole thing about fun driving a slow car fast versus driving a fast car slow.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    As a true American, I’d like to offer VW some advice for the upcoming Passat.

    1. Skip the expensive starter system, because I refuse to pay up for those. Just stick a crank in the front, because I want to do it myself.
    2. And given the reliability of VW’s fuel injection systems, let’s go with carburetors.
    3. And enough with these crazy expensive stereos. Just a simple AM radio with maybe 2 speakers.
    4. If I want air conditioning, I’ll just hand crank the windows down.
    5. Just make sure iy has lots and lots of big cupholders. If you can’t hold my big gulp and the little woman’s vente latto, then you ain’t runnin’ with the big dogs.

    You’re welcome.

  • avatar
    BMWfan

    The rental car company mechanics better bone up on VW’s because I bet fleet sales are going to have to soak up the over supply of these cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Cabriolet

      Always enjoy reading some of the replies. VW like everyone else is looking to cut corners. Most people buy cars based on price. In 55 years of driving i have had according to my wife approx 80 cars. Some new but mostly used (Good deals) In my life time i have not owned a car yet that had one or two flaws. They are machines and they all have troubles. I have owned cars from A to Z and if i wanted to be thick headed they all had faults. I purchased a Rabbit back in the eighties and it was a complete dog. Got rid of that dog fast and purchased a used Rambler wagon great car 180,000 miles i sold it and just about broke even. 10 years later i purchased a Toyata and boy was that a piece of s**t. Also some of you people posting should get your facts straight. VW did have window troubles with a plastic tab which was replaced with a stainless steel tab. And they extend the warranty on the windows for 10 years.

  • avatar
    Toyondai92

    Rear drums and a torture bar? I thought the Cobalt was discontinued?

  • avatar
    vento97

    I guess when VW coined the slogan “Drivers Wanted”, they couldn’t find any competent drivers in the U.S. Market – hence the 2011 Jetta – designed for non-drivers in mind…

    • 0 avatar
      VWGuy

      I agree. This car is truly for the mindless, not for the VW loyalist. BTW, I won’t buy a Corolla or a Civic or a Cruz either.

      “Niiiiiiice” for the price of “nice.” What a joke. And the S model has already gone up from $15,995 to $16,495 and I have yet to see a review of the S model. It seems VW only wants anyone to review the SEL.

      I have been to 5 dealers and only one had the basic “S” model with a stick. That car stickered at $17,000. OMG, is this model really getting people into the showrooms?

      I have owned/leased VWs since 1986 and most of them have had issues, but not enough to keep me from coming back. When I sat in the S model, I instantly had the urge to vomit due to the lack of comfort and excessively cheapened interior. I owned a 2006 Jetta and traded it for a 2008 Passat, which I leased.

      I intended to go back to a 2011 Jetta but now wish I had kept the 2008 Jetta. My only complaint with that car was that the radio sucked and they detuned the engine down to 150hp.

      I can’t find a single thing to like about this new POS. I would consider a Golf but they are $21K+ if you can even find a 4 door.

      If you go to the dealer for a Jetta, you will find lots of SE and SEL models. The SEL is way too pricey and the SE has rear drum brakes. And I find the styling to be a bit too crisp. What were they thinking? It costs fishloads of money to engineer a new car and retool all of the factories. Some revised sheetmetal and a freshened interior would have done the trick on the 2010 Jetta IMO.

      And, can we get rid of the plastic seating surfaces already? I want an upscale car with cloth for a change like I used to be able to get.

      At this point, I am done with VW. I will actually consider a Chevy Malibu this time. Yeah, I hate the fact that you have to pay for the spare tire, no heated mirrors in the base model, and a weak but well engineered engine. But the car is nice looking, comfortable, and rides well. I would be worried about resale value though. VWs have, at least, been good in that department.

  • avatar
    drifter

    New Jetta is a german Sebering, but TTAC will never admit it.
    If this were a GM or Chrysler product, this review would have been littered with references to Marxist ownership of the manufacturer.

  • avatar
    Caraholica

    Yes, VW seems misguided, again, in positioning the new Jetta. Will they ever listen to us? or Anyone?

    The other part that is killing VW in the US is they’re blatant disregard for both dealers and service customers with legitimate issues. Have a Honda problem and they will at least listen to you, have a VW problem and the corporate message is that both you and the dealer can drop dead.

    I dont know why the dealerships are so uninviting, but the ones I’ve been in southern calif seem distinctly unfriendly or over bearing. Certainly a far cry from all the the friendly Honda dealers there are to chose from. As much as I love GTI’s I just couldnt abide the dealer experience.

  • avatar
    v65magnafan1

    I’m old enough to clearly remember when VW built a plant in Pennsylvania and turned their terrific small cars into little GM thingies–with American trim and suspensions.

    It was a disaster for them. I still remember boarded up VW dealerships.

    As stated above, people buy Volkswagens because of their inate euro characteristics. I’ll like to buy a Golf, but I really need a bigger trunk. Oh God. A Civic? Maybe I’ll just buy my wife’s ’07 Accord when it goes off lease.

    Ugh. I’m starting to hate cars almost as much as I hate computers.

    Puleeeze. Crown Vic. Baby. Don’t die.

  • avatar
    thesilentmovies

    As the owner of a long string of completely problem-free Volkswagens, I’ll just keep doing what I always do – buy the Golf.

  • avatar
    mhadi

    A couple of points:

    1. I suspect this car will do well in the United States. VW obviously did their homework and cheap is what Americans want.. the land of Walmart-buyers, and people who expect to pay nothing for upgrades. Face it – America is cheap. You weren’t always like that but now you are. Car prices are much much cheaper in the USA than Canada, Australia or the UK and most of Europe. Why would VW offer more if Americans are not willing to pay?

    2. The Make 5 Golf (“Rabbit”)and Jetta were by VWs admission very expensive to build because they contain many parts. The goal with the new Golf and Jetta was from day one to decrease the number of parts needed to build it.

    3. Americans seem to like large and plain sedans. Witness the inordinate number of Impalas and Malibus on the road. The new Jetta fits right in.

    4.The Jetta in Canada and Europe has a more upscale aura to it that the Golf. The Jetta in America is a cheap compact- a college kid car. This one is larger and may appeal to a larger number of people.

    5. I owned a Make 4 Golf. I will never buy a VW again. Shoddy to a point beyond redemption, but clever marketing.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      You aren’t necessarily wrong on number one, but I’d point out that the CC has enjoyed a fair amount of success in the US, and that’s a fairly premium offering.

      There is also the problem that the new Jetta isn’t priced at a ultra-value $12K, but pretty much right in line with its competition. However, if these competitors offer better cars than the cut-to-the-bone VW, then who is going to buy the Jetta?

      Also keep in mind that mega-cheap cars like the Avenger and Caliber do not light up the sales charts, so Americans are somewhat willing to pay more for a better vehicle.
      ____

      On point three, the Americans that buy the large/plain sedans are generally older. VW has spent years marketing itself as a youthful brand of European style vehicles. It is going to take some work to get Impala and Camry owners into a VW showroom.

  • avatar
    boxelder

    As someone who spends significant time in Germany among car designers, here’s their perspective: The Jetta is an old-person car in Germany. The Golf is the new hotness, the Jetta is old and busted. As noted above, the Golf (and variants) outsells the Jetta by multiples in Germany, as it does in most of the rest of the world. We Americans are a statistically significant global anomaly. We are seen as slightly mentally challenged due to our love of inefficient (in cargo capacity) sedans while embracing inefficient SUVs for their “versatility”. The Jetta has been dumbed down to our average price point – and thus – level of automotive sophistication and should sell like hotcakes. We have no one to blame but ourselves.

  • avatar

    VW has destroyed its brand in the U.S. This car is the rolling embodiment of that failure.

  • avatar
    banker43

    Wow, the VW haters have flocked to this review! I am a little surprised with all the reliability chatter at what usually seems like an enthusiast website. Among German makes, Consumer Reports(not really known for a driving enthusiast point of view) recommends VW more than any other German carmaker. VWs have proven quite reliable during the last several years.
    Yes, maintenance costs are incrementaly higher. Someone who appreciates the way these cars drive is willing to deal with it. Don’t like this new Jetta? Don’t panic. You can go out right now and get a CC with 2.0 turbo motor and 6-speed stick for about $25,000. Or a GTI, diesel Golf or Jetta, for that matter.

  • avatar
    vvk

    I am glad they are going to bring back the 2.0. I think the base model with a stick would be very good value for someone who just wants a safe, roomy family car with good seats. I would buy one.

    • 0 avatar
      P.Stehle

      My dealer loaned me one of those while my TDI was in for yet another visit, and I actually called them because I thought the parking brake was stuck. Utterly gutless, didn’t know what gear it wanted to be in, and didn’t get especially good mileage, either. This car will chase people off if they don’t try a model with an upgraded engine.

  • avatar
    340-4

    So this is how VW plans to increase sales volume in the States?

    Looks like an attempt to sucker people who don’t know any better, don’t use/have the internet, and who can’t afford a good new car, into buying what they think is a good German car on the cheap.

    Like the Jetta of two generations ago, this will work until they start to break, and the sales ‘hump’ will die off as people flee to other makers.

    My 2001.5 Passat – and the stories of fiery, undying hatred from fellow VW owners both local and online – taught me all I need to know about VW.

    A cheaper interior and other parts over holding the line on interior quality and actually improving reliability?

    Wow. Just wow.

    • 0 avatar
      BigEofKY

      So a car you bought 10 years ago when that model first came out tells you everything you need to know about an entire brand? Wow. Just wow…..

      • 0 avatar
        P.Stehle

        I bought a new Sunbird in 1980, never bought another Pontiac of any sort, and didn’t buy another GM product until 2002. Any car manufacturer who sells a car like that one was deserves the fate Pontiac suffered. The only shame is that it took over 25 years for it to happen.

  • avatar
    powermac1234

    I have looked at several used VW Jettas and Passats and they have all had the soft interior material shedding and exposing the hard plastic. If Ford and GM used the same spray on coating, would them somehow become “upscale and refined”?

  • avatar
    Dr.Nick

    Interestingly, Consumer Reports is showing most VWs having a massive uptick in reliability in this newest generation. Maybe they’ve turned the corner? Their dealerships are renowned to blow chunks, however, as far as post purchase care, so I’m not sure I’m interested anyway.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I won’t pass judgement on this car until I see/drive one in person. But it does seem like VW is shooting for the mainstream here. Which is fine with me, as long as they also keep offering the sort of car that I would actually buy/drive. Which is certainly NOT a 4dr sedan, I have no use for them. The TDI Sportwagen would have been my choice had I not bought my Saab SportCombi.

    And as I have said before, I guess Maine is actually part of Europe, because this whole “VW is unreliable” thing just doesn’t seem to work here. I’ve owned a number of VW’s, have had many in the family, and have LOTS of friends with VWs. All have been bulletproof. I just don’t get it.

  • avatar
    Rain

    Do the shape of those headlights remind anyone of Audi? lol

  • avatar
    tedward

    The way I see it, VW made some rash promises to itself and is now in a mad dash for volume. We’ll start to see how it’s likely to work out once all their new models are out, but not really until then. With this car I’m assuming that the GLI (why not wolfsburg?) and TDI are for existing customers, the 2.5 and 2.0 are for stealing Asian and American sales and the wagon is for us wacky nutjobs with internet opinions.

    As far as drum brakes go in general, they suck to work on yourself, but aren’t going to change the handling dynamics of a car like the base Jetta. My gf’s Fit Sport has them, and they simply aren’t a problem in that regard, it’s more the bloody knuckles in the future thing that causes me some regret (and it is driven for fun). My sister’s Element has rear discs, and constantly needs expensive brake work, annoying since the car has too many handling sins already to encourage the fast driving that should show up drums vs. discs in the first place.

    The rear suspension though…I’ll have to drive it to make up my mind. It could bring those versions real low if not set up with care.

  • avatar
    mrcrispy

    You’re better off buying a used Audi (which tend to depreciate more than BMW) if you really wanted German. You’d have an infinitely better car, better interiors, driving, nameplate and have a proper German sports sedan with about the same reliability.

  • avatar
    troverman

    When I first saw the images of this car I was slightly disappointed I had just bought a 2010 Jetta…you know, the new model looks newer, probably has more engineering and a fancier interior! Now, really happy to have a nice interior, nice independent rear suspension, nice rear disc brakes, nice rear split fold seats, extra switches, lights, etc. This car for me replaced a mkiv Jetta…which I really liked, but like the new car even better. My complaint about the 2.5L is it sounds a little coarse except at higher RPM…but it does have good power. Fuel economy is not bad considering the weight. Why does it weigh alot…because its safe, has a lot of interior features, etc. I was actually really surprised about how nice the 2010 Jetta is on the inside, many thoughtful touches you’d only see on a more expensive car. In our family we also have a Mercedes E-Class and a Land Rover LR3; the Jetta interior is very nearly on par.

  • avatar
    Arthist

    It’s been said that traditionally, German marques always raised prices instead of lowering quality. That seems to have changed now!

  • avatar
    Mandrake64

    I don’t understand this wide-held belief that VWs are so desperately unreliable?  I’ve had 4 VWs and never had a problem with any of them!  Looked after properly, they’re fantastic cars.  I owned a Ford once and the bloody thing’s engine blew at 60,000 miles.

    But this thing is hideous. Why Volkswagen has chosen this path is beyond me. I guess it’s time to save up for an Audi, because Volkswagen is obviously going down the drain.

  • avatar

    I think I will just stick with my beautiful 2001 GTI, best car I ever bought. I won’t say a bad thing about VW I love my car that much, but I do agree some better options could have been done with this new 2011 Jetta, it looks great on the outside, not loving the inside of it, after you sit in my car then in this new Jetta boy the difference is huge and you would think with a 10 yr age difference the 2011 would win lol..I love VW cars and would choose to always stick with this choice of cars when I ever need to buy again, but I will be looking for all the nice upgrades I have now. I understand they had to make some choices to keep the cost of this car down, but I have seen other cars with good prices and nice options in the inside, I hope VW can figure this one out too!!

  • avatar
    jjthejetplane

    Have owned 2 VWs.  A Passat and a Beetle.  Everybody I know has had trouble with their VWs.  Never again will I own another one of these pieces of crap.  They do ride and drive better than the competition, but reliability is still a big issue with these cars.  If you do find a good example, consider yourself lucky.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    Welcome to the mainstream compact car market, VW.
    Go sit with everyone else, and you can all watch Hyundai eat your lunch.

  • avatar
    stephengray

    I am not happy they have cheapened up the interior or brought back that slow engine
    but i do believe that if VW wants to increase their market share here they have to change.  Having a nicer car did not sell more Jetta’s than Toyota did Corolla’s. Face the facts.  People do buy based on PRICE the most, especially in this segment.
    The VW fans can still spend more and keep the niceness by buying a CC or Passat (which they would rather you buy anyway, since they cost more) and the Jetta can be the bread and butter model to really compete with Civic, Corrola, 3, Elantra.
    Dont forget, if you still want an  even better/plusher car you can still buy an Audi.  See, either way, VW doesnt really lose. 

  • avatar
    george70steven

    I think they buy them because they want to get to work and not have to think about whether or not their car will get them there. The local dealer said they couldn’t find a wagon in New England and to wait for the new year so they could order one.
    online car insurance quote

  • avatar

    i find it hard to say the jetta interior is any worse in the 2011 model than the previous generation. i can say though that i like the styling of the 2011 better and the price better. it realy dosnt feel cheeper to me inside.  the color scheme of the beige on black with silver accents is great. back to back the color scheme of the beige black in the 2011 is actually a little nice looking. i dont care realy how the dash above the gauges and console feels i never touch it anyway only to dust it. its how it feels if touched and it dosnt feel cheap like the corolla or even camry. the plastics arent civic good but what i touch in the SEL ie the shifter and wheel are leather clad so what does it matter. the color scheme is better in beige in the 2011 more black where in the older one beige was. the only niggle is the 2011 stereo dosnt play dvd’s, a seldom used feature used only to flaunt superiority to say look what you car cant do. now the price about 23,000 in the sel. what can you get in a camry for that the le. and a corolla at that price is still a terrible handling box. the corolla feels like im sitting in one of those plastic rubbermaid storage bins.to me american cars are ugly japanese cars look futuristic kind of toy like but the new jetta looks subdued but elegant at the same time,  the only thing is reliabilty. it had better last as long as you are paying on it or it is junk.

  • avatar

    Great pictures. I guess we can conclude that the legendary German commitment to quality is just that: legend. Can you imagine how much crud is going to collect in those gaps? The idea of it is enough to dissuade me from even considering this car.

  • avatar
    Mockingbird

    I am increasingly aware of a word that I was only vaguely familiar with:  “cheapify”,  noun “cheapification”.

    The Urban Dictionary defines this as “the act of making something classicly cheaper without lessening the value.”  This would be a good thing – e.g., the 10 fold drop in the cost of plasma TV ever since it came on the market.  Bowever, from the majority of the comments, I guess this does not apply to the 2011 Jetta, although the VW folks wished that we would think so.

    Merriam-Webster’s, on the otherhand, defines “cheapify” as “to make something expensive look cheap”.  I was thinking that may be a better description of what car manufacturers are clandestinely trying to do these days.  But no, that won’t do……….

    So, I have my own definition.  “To cheapify” – “To make something look and feel cheaper, without it being actually any cheaper – to our pockets.”

  • avatar
    tedward

    As someone who has actually driven a new Jetta I’m going to go ahead and call BS on all this hyperventilating. I was able to try a 2.5 auto and manual (vast majority of time was in the auto), and I would honestly pick the new Jetta over the previous one if spending my own money. It looks miles better, handles better (it feels like it’s more planted with a wider track) and the interior is cleaner, if not built with a soft touch dash surface. I have to admit I didn’t expect the new car to handle as well as the old, but even over extreme potholes I wasn’t experiencing any rear end jitter or other live axle short-comings. Honestly, my 2010 Honda Fit (also without IRS) exhibits far more rear end primitiveness than this car, and I love how the Honda handles.
     
    So there, I said it, the new Jetta is better than the old one (please have at least driven one first if you claim to disagree). What’s really sad is that the old Jetta is still better than the current competition, with the possible exception of the Mazda3 (but only the bigger 4 cyl).

    Edit: I do have to add that I do consider the Jetta sportwagon/Golf wagon to be the daddy of the range, but then it costs more and is really a Golf (which has a higher base price than the Jetta). It remains to be seen where the GLI will fall in the pecking order.

    • 0 avatar
      P.Stehle

      I’ve had 3 TDIs since 2005: 1st one went 92,000 with a rear caliper slide the only failure. #2 went 130,000, replaced the stereo because CDs would skip occasionally, and at 100k, a front wheel bearing. #3 is 3 months old, has had pinch protection issues with windows, the start button was replaced due to sticking -loads of fun stalled in the middle of an intersection, try it sometime!, and it’s begun making wheel bearing noise up front. At 10,000 miles. I do like the styling, and some of the simplification, I do NOT like the stalk warts I have to use for the cruise and dash computer. I resent that they took away the automatic temperature control, and the horn sounds like they got a deal on a few pallets left over from 1984 Escort production. At least for my $24k, I got an armrest and a decent 6 speed manual. oh… and the owner’s manuals still suck rocks. The one that came with my 2006 had 2 different fuse box pictures, neither bore any resemblance to the one in the car.

  • avatar
    vbofw

    “By the time you start touching things, it’s clear that there’s no point in even comparing this car to its predecessor.”

    I drive a 2003 Jetta which was widely considered to contain extremely high quality materials for its class.  On the ’03 I can slip my hand in between the console base and carpet if I choose.  Non-issue.

  • avatar

    Dashboard and features
    The general setup is great, comfortable to use during drive. Missing a lot of key feature like engine temperature, windshield fluid lights, many simple tools that even the smallest/cheaper  car’s have. They definitely cut on cost with the wrong things. The car purchase in Canada does not have Miles feature this could be frustrating when you live close to the border.
    Air conditioning and heating.
    The Jetta 2011 made in Mexico I guess they forgot to put the heating system.
    I have Jetta comfort line Gas model. I was surprised that I need to drive 30 to 50 km before I get heat in the car.  The dealer says they have some complaints about heat on the feet. Dealer suggests closing dash vent.  (What a stupid answer I got a new car so I can be cold in the winter)
    Other thing I notice compared to my 4 last GM products. The Jetta 2011 windows freeze inside the car. I never had this issue in the past and even my wife with her Echo doesn’t have this issue.
    Car safety
    One feature I really miss in this car is door unlocking when put in Park. For people that work with their car and you need to get suitcase or any other material on your back seat. You need to use your remote every time. (Very annoying) The other  thing I don’t like without power to the car (Dead Battery) you can’t open the doors or trunk.
     
    Radio
    I was very surprise that Media package was like 1500.00$, Bluetooth/ IPOD plug package 695.00
    With cost and evolution of this technology I think these features shout be way cheaper or even included in the price.
     
    Let’s talk price:
    Yes they invite you with a great price here in Canada 15995.00. I could assure you that for the Jetta 2011 comfort line and a set 4 winter tires. This car cost me 26765.00.
     
    Things I love compared to my GM cars.
     
    The Jetta has like a very big luggage space for my family I would say this is great. Also this car has the most places in the rear seats. I would say probably bigger than the Toyota Camry.
    One of the features I will have troubles going back to GM. The road stability without losing the fun of driving. When I drive my Jetta 2011 I feel like a kid again and just want to drive. I found the pleasure of driving again. The tiptronic system compared to GM work very well, ABS brakes don’t have the jerking you get with GM. This car has a smooth ride and gas millage in town 486 km approximately with a full tank gas at 60.00$ l.
     
    I rate this car 6.5/10 still has some tinkering from VW to Canadians to be happy with it.
     

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    Yeah – I fail to see why OEM stereos and nav packages are so stinking expensive. Recently our 213K mile old CR-V needed a stereo. Old one was worn out. Volume knob might increase or decrease the sound levels randomly. OEM stereo was AM/FM/CD. Sounded decent. For $150 we bought a NICE stereo new from the local electronics store that had everything and sounded incredible with the same 11 year old OEM speakers. Have seen nice in dash Nav systems but our portable is very nice and cost $200 several years back. WHY does an OEM version cost $1500? The same goes on with other gadgets.

  • avatar
    gboates

    In Canada the last Jetta year available was 2006. Then the 2011 arrived in the Fall of 2010 – boy was I excited – I had rented a Jetta TDI on Maui numerous occasions and I really wanted to own one. Well, sitting in the new 2011 Jetta I was not at all impressed. It did not feel like the ’06 Jetta TDI. On the showroom floor I went and what I saw absolutely horrified me!!!! I could not believe how thin and weak looking the rear suspension was… to the point that any consideration of owning one completely disappeared!

    Have any of you crawled underneath? What did you think…

  • avatar
    BigEofKY

    I find it funny that most of the negative reviews are from people who apparently do not nor have they ever owned a Jetta or VW. I heard…..someone told me…..reports say. Yet all teh reviews with the people that actually own one are mostly possitive. We own an 08 and have never had any sort of these issues these people are talking about. You can knock interior this and hard plastic that. The bottom line is if you test drive the Jetta and its competitors you will quickly realize it just is a better built car that rides better and performs better. No rolling effect, great response (after first gear) and most importantly its rigid construction. These cars are laser welded not spot welded. The door hinges and B-pillar are larger and thicker than anyone in its class. Plus I have never heard anyone (and we have) who has been in an accident in a Jetta complain about hard plastic. They are usually bragging about how well the car held up and how wveryone walked away. The Jetta had to “cheapen” itself to get closer to the poor quaility of its competitors in its class so there wasn’t such a price difference. Most real life comparisons  hear from people buying cars usually compare the Jetta to the cars in the next class up (Accord, Sonata, Camry, Malibu, Fusion) not the ones actually in its class (Civic, Corolla, Cruze, Elantra, Focus). If its quaility is so bad then why is the VW resale value been higher than the other makes for so many years. 3 year old Jettas are worth thousands more than a 3 year old Civic, Focus, Elantra or Corolla. As an owner I can tell you the VW brand is a bettar quality vehicle than most automakers. Quit paying attention to rumors start paying attention to the drive.
    VW owner for life.

    • 0 avatar
      jjthejetplane

      I have to reply to each statement of this post because there is so much that is not true.
      “I find it funny that most of the negative reviews are from people who apparently do not nor have they ever owned a Jetta or VW.”
      I had the Passat and Beetle.  Loved that Passat when we ordered it.  It was actually build in Germany not Mexico.  Beat out the competition at the time for ride and drive.  Beetle was the same way.  Was so happy the day both of them left.  Was a big sigh of relief because of the trouble we had with each.  I ask real people who own VWs if they have had any trouble.  Pretty much all say yes and start listing what has gone wrong.
      “Yet all teh reviews with the people that actually own one are mostly possitive.”
      Reviews are positive.  Reliability is not.  I did read a bad review on the new jetta the other day though.
      “3 year old Jettas are worth thousands more than a 3 year old Civic, Focus, Elantra or Corolla.”
      This is just incorrect.  We have an Elantra.  Much better car than Beetle.  The Elantra replaced the Beetle.  Haven’t had an issue with that car.
      “As an owner I can tell you the VW brand is a bettar quality vehicle than most automakers.”
      So owning one makes you an expert?  This statement is not true either.  Just look at Consumer Reports or read the blogs of real owners.
      The Japanese and Koreans make cars light years more reliable than VW.  I currently have a Toyota and Mazda.  No problems with either.

  • avatar
    stephengray

    this conversation is getting old
    if you don’t like it, don’t buy it
    i wont buy one, yet I do see a lot of them on the road
    consider yourselves lucky for getting what you did in previous Jetta’s
    (and not all previous Jetta’s were that UPSCALE) I know, i owned them all
    If VW can’t do it at a profit they aren’t going to
    buy the CC if you want what you are used to getting
    if you think its not good enough, buy an Audi! They’d prefer it that way!
    meanwhile people buy cheap Corollas every day 5 to 1 what Jetta sells and they do it a profit
    VW wants a piece of the pie not 2% of the market place
    They either increase market share or stop even trying to sell cars here
    why don’t any of you get that? Its a business
    KIA sells more cars here, get serious!
    The cars you like DID NOT SELL
    This is a new strategy and probably a last attempt!

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    Just rode in a friends brand new Jetta TDI. I am speechless at how terrible this interior is. The glove box was rubbing on the dash and transferring beige plastic to the black plastic of the dash, the door armrests are rock hard, including the area between the door and rear seat. It actually hurt my elbow when I accidentally banged into it. Many misaligned trim pieces with sharp casting edges still showing. Not just a hard dash, but SHINY, like Tupperware shiny. The exterior design is utterly forgettable and it has less road presence than a Corolla. This is a $23k car with vinyl seats, noisy engine/interior, and a jittery ride. I am dumbfounded that anyone would desire this car. I seriously had to bite my tongue. The contrast to the GTI I drove a few weeks ago is like night and day. In his defense he is aware of all the cars shortcomings and forgives them for the 42mpg and spacious interior. I could never forgive this cars many sins and it is almost the polar opposite of what I want in a car.

    Americans just might be dumb enough to buy this car in droves.

  • avatar
    homiesiman

    The lease on my 2008 Jetta SE was expiring on 8/1/11. So I decided to get a new Jetta. I made the grave mistake of going to the dealership and skipping the Test-Drive step for the sake of time. I signed a new lease on a 2011. As I approached the car, I opened the trunk. The lining and the structure of the trunk looks absolutely identical to my mother’s Toyota Camery. I noticed that the grocery bag holders are no longer there. I made the excuse that it was all for weight reduction. Because in my mind, I have found a trust for Volkswagon.

    As I stepped away from the car I saw it… Those darn DRUMS!!! In my last 8 cars, I’ve always gone out of my way to make sure I don’t get drums. In fact, most of my cars have been German purely for the feeling of the brake. The car does not tip forward like every Japanese or American car when you come to a sudden stop.

    Today I got my 3rd Jetta. And as I opened the door, I realized from the weight, that the Jetta line of quality was DONE. The door felt light and flimsy.

    The drive was not terrible, even tough it was clearly inferior to my 2008 Jetta. The price tag on my 2008 Jetta was 21K and on this 2011 Jetta the price tag was 22K. Aside from the bluetooth feature, I would have gladly stayed with the 2008 Jetta.

    I got 3 years with this car. I’ll try to give it a chance (if it doesn’t end up being a lemon). But I know as of today… That I will never purchase another Jetta. The trust is gone!

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      Who buys a car without a test drive? No offense but I don’t feel even remotely sorry for you.

    • 0 avatar
      stephengray

      If I’m not mistaken, other cars in this price range, base level also have drum rear brakes.
      I believe this includes Corolla, Sentra, Cruze + Civic.

      Not sure why some of you do not understand VW is simply lining up the car with competitive cars the best way the can. Some companies will have an advantage if they can build a car with more features for less, but VW is not going to take a loss just to offer more.

      As I have said before, building a better car with better features did not out-sell the competition. I preffered the previous versions better, but they never took VW above 2% of the American market. So meanwhile go buy the CC instead. The Jetta is now the cheapest car in the line-up. Do you hear Corolla owner complaining it doesnt have options that the Avalon has?

  • avatar
    Cabriolet

    Talk about beating a dead horse. Some of these people have to get a life. I can never understand the VW hate. If this was a Toyota or Honda subject it would have been closed now. My family has been buying VW for over 35-40 years. Nice cars, well built, very cheap to run. I do my own service but since i purchased my 09 TDI the dealer offers free service for 3 years. TDI is now 2 years and running great. My son in laws mother just purchased a new 2011 Jetta S. Basic car with automatic. Cost of approx $17,500.00 with out tax. Nice color, base engine, automatic transmission 6 speed (note Toyota, Honda & Mazda) A/C and the usual. Even has a key that you turn to start the car. Not like her 1948 Olds that had a button to start the car. The car rides nice and the pick up is OK. She drives on Long Island and is very happy with the car. I will say it is well built and has lots of room. As with rear drum brakes they stop as well as the disk brakes, The fastest she drives is about 65 MPH on the highway. My gut feeling is its a better buy then the Toyota Corolla or for that matter the cheaper Honda. My son in law has a 2010 Toyota RAV4 and going home today we had a hail storm on Long Island that he was caught in. He has about $6,000.00 in damage to the hood and roof of the 4×4. I was caught in the same storm with my wifes Volvo C30 and i thought the car was going to be all dented the way it sounded. When i got home there was no damage at all. Same with my TDI parked in the driveway. Some of these posters have to get a life. Myself and i notice many other people will keep on buying VW.

    Cabriolet

  • avatar
    haenschen

    I just rented one of these in Oahu for about 150 miles. I drove an Audi 90 for years, and I was hoping for more of that five-cylinder goodness and smooth freeway grove. I was prepared to concede a lower level of finish and material quality, and therefore wasn’t surprised with the interior of the new Jetta, although the plastigoop seats were particularly nasty.

    Bottom line: the new Jetta didn’t feel like it came from the same corporate forge as my old Audi or any of the previous Jettas, all of which I have driven. The North American car enthusiast who seeks German design and feel now has one less choice.

    • 0 avatar
      VWGuy

      Haenschen,

      The statement you made (shown below) is completely untrue.

      “The North American car enthusiast who seeks German design and feel now has one less choice.”

      When VW gets around to selling the new 2012 Passat, that “one less choice” you refer to will become two! But that will depend on your level of tolerance.

      I love the statement you made about the “plastigoop seats.” This is the best yet. I believe I had a similar reaction the first time I sat in a VW with those seats. They wear like iron though…tough as nails! Heck, you can even eat food off of them. Ha!

  • avatar

    LOVING my 2011 Jetta SEL, except for some mechanical issues upon delivery. One that keeps repeating itself is the steering wheels ability to be going straight while the wheel is showing at an angle to the left. When they fixed the first time, it was the opposite to the right. Not after just a couple of 100 miles, it is back to the left again.

    Any ideas on how to fix this with the dealer since they seem confused?

    Also, one other. Sunroof won’t close without using your hand to hold down the wind deflector when its HOT. Once it cools, the sunroof closes fine!

    Thanks,

    OutMaturity

  • avatar
    Old Shoe

    Bought a 2011 Jetta TDI Memorial Day weekend 2011. I saw the ad for the TDI and investigated, solely because I liked the body style. It didn’t resemble a Pontiac Aztec as some VWs did. Previously owned a 66 VW Beetle (247,000 miles), and 72 VW 411 (Lovingly nicknamed the Armadillo)(258,000 miles) 90 Dodge Caravan (214,000 miles) 99 Ford Windstar (247,000 miles). My new Jetta has 4 wheel disc brakes, a tight suspension and the Diesel is getting me an average of 50mpg with way better acceleration and performance. Over all the best handling car I have owned. I was comparison shopping the Ford Fusion, the Chevy Mailbu, Dodge Caliber when along came the Jetta. The vast majority of buyers, (me included) purchase what they can afford, not what they want, and VW gave me way more car at the same price point and way better fuel mileage. Did I mention the TDI has zero emissions? Everything works as it should and I have had zero problems or flaws that needed fixing, not even minor ones.

  • avatar
    Liz999

    I hate my 2011 Jetta! My brakes are starting to go and I’ve only had the car 10 months. I just spent the last 20 minutes trying to get it to go in reverse! I have had so many issues with it that I will never buy one again. I bought it because a few of my friends had jettas in the past but not the cheap 2011 model. Why did I ever switch from Honda???

    • 0 avatar
      zgracehernandez

      Hi Liz

      I am currently driving a Corolla and am looking into the 2012 Jetta but I’m afraid to make the switch. I’ve heard some bad issues with the Jetta, including mechanical and electrical problems. What other issues are you experiencing?

  • avatar
    zgracehernandez

    Hello. I am looking into the new 2012 Jetta SE with convenience and sunroof. I am new to VW and am currently driving a Corolla S that i’ve had for the past 5.5 years. I’ve read some mixed reviews and was hoping to get some advice for a noobie like myself. I’m a little hesitant to switch from a Toyota =/

    For those that own VWs, have you had any electrical problems like VW is rumored to have ?
    Any comments would be appreciated.

    Thank you

  • avatar
    Cabriolet

    I am driving a 2009 VW TDI that i purchased new and the car is still running like new. A family member purchased a basic 2011 VW “S” series with an automatic and loves it. I noticed all the hate posting from the Toyota/Honda crowd so i went over this car with a fine tooth comb. What the car sold for it’s a great buy. Makes a Toyota Corolla look crude. Check the various consumer sites and you will see from approx 2006 and up the electric problems do not appear. If anything check the latest Honda & Subrau recalls. That is some bad s**t.


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