Volkswagen enthusiasts are waiting with eagerness as the all-new Jetta goes into production and hits the dealer room floor in the coming months. Since its introduction in the mid-1980s, the Jetta has stood out from other compact models thanks to its design, engine choices and dependability. But the sixth generation model is likely to be perceived as the best, offering improved cabin room, a sleek style and class leading fuel economy.
Jetta is the best selling Volkswagen model, easily outselling the Golf/Rabbit and the only compact car built in Germany and sold in the United States within the financial range of the masses. No, the Jetta isn't a Mercedes or BMW, but it does offer craftsmanship and more upscale cabin then the typical car in its class.
The Jetta isn't likely to challenge the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic for sales, but it easily bests these two cars in powertrain choices and amenities offered.
For the 2011, the Jetta gains a more rakish roofline and a crisper nose and tail. Inside, rear seating room tops 38 cubic inches, comparable to what some midsize cars offer. Still a compact, Volkswagen has done everything to keep the Jetta at the top of the segment's pack, while lowering its price. Yes, the base sticker price of the Jetta is about $16,000, just above the price of the Corolla and Civic.
But what sets the Jetta apart from everyone else is what can be found under the hood. Volkswagen may not win the price war, but they certainly take top honors when it comes to powertrain selection. Four engines are offered including the potent 2.5-liter five-cylinder and 2.0-liter TSI. No other car in its class offers a diesel, with the 2.0-liter TDI likely to once again offer highway fuel economy well north of 40 mpg.
Take note of this: with the new 2.0-liter TDI and 2.0-liter TSI, Volkswagen will offer a six-speed DSG - what the automaker says is "...one of the most advanced and efficient automatic transmission systems in the world." You'd be hard-pressed to find a six-speed anything in this class; an unusual auto trends at that.
Back inside, the Jetta gains a new steering wheel design, with ergomatically situated controls. On the console, controls for audio, climate and navigation have been repositioned; indeed, the entire console is tilted toward the driver. Rear seating improvements include a folding 40/60 seatback, while the rear liftback opens with a remote unlock switch.
Safety remains high up on the Jetta's list of important features, with six airbags standard, stability control and what will likely be high marks in crash tests.
Will you put the Volkswagen Jetta on your compact car buying list? You should or, even if you prefer a midsize this model, this car may give you what you want thanks to its roomy interior, ample storage and class-leading engine choices. Yes, Volkswagen has arguably the best compact car on the market, a new improved Jetta with good looks, solid engineering and driving fun to go with it.
Matthew C. Keegan is a freelance writer who resides in North Carolina. Matt is a contributing writer for Andy's Auto Sport an aftermarket supplier of quality parts including body kits and car parts.
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