The Jetta is offered in a total of ten trim levels, with three different powerplants. The base model offers a 1.4L 4-cylinder engine that makes 150hp. SE and SEL models are powered by a 170-hp 1.8L 4-cylinder turbo, as is a limited-edition 1.8T Sport trim. GLI models are powered by a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder making 210 hp, while the Jetta Hybrid features a turbocharged 1.4L that works in conjunction with a 20kW electric motor, good for an EPA-estimated combined 45 mpg.
A 5-speed manual transmission is standard on S, SE and SEL models, while a 6-speed automatic with Tiptronic and Sport mode is optional. A 6-speed manual is standard on the GLI, with the 6-speed auto optional. The Hybrid comes with a 7-speed automatic.
S models come equipped with standard goodies such as heated power side mirrors, one-touch up/down power on all four windows, an AM/FM/CD stereo with MP3 playback, 6-way manual adjustment, air conditioning and a 60/40 split folding rear seat. Jetta SE and Hybrid SE models add power reclining front seats, metallic interior trim, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter and V-Tex leatherette seating. SEL trims bring a 6-way power-adjustable driver's seat with manual lumbar support, a new "soft-touch dash," 17-inch alloy wheels, bumper-integrated halogen fog lights, chrome accents, touch-screen navigation, Bluetooth, heated front seats, interior leather accents and a multi-function trip computer. The 1.8T Sport trim offers a more athletic suspension, navigation, rearview camera and a rear spoiler.
Packaged convenience options for the SE add many of the premium features of the SEL, including heated seats, a premium audio system and Bluetooth, while a sunroof package includes an even more robust touch-screen stereo system with a 6-disc in-dash CD changer and SD memory card reader, plus a tinted power sunroof. The sunroof is available on the SEL as well, as is a sport package that adds a specially tuned suspension, sport seats and aluminum trim on the pedals and door trim.
Standard safety equipment on all Jettas includes 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, driver and front passenger front and side thorax airbags, side curtain airbags, traction and stability control and engine braking assist. New optional safety technologies include blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, frontal collision warning and park distance control.
With its diesel emissions cheating, Volkswagen lost the trust of the American people, which is a shame because its gasoline-engine cars are still quite good.
Take the 2016 Jetta SE. Powered by a peppy, gasoline-burning engine, it's one of the most affordable compact sedans available. It's a blast to drive, has more interior space than its competitors, and it's got a fair amount of tech in the cabin.
A 1.4-liter turbocharged engine powers the Jetta SE, with available upgrades to a 1.8-liter turbo and a hybrid. The Jetta GLI, the most powerful in the model range, comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, producing 210 horsepower.
The Good Plenty of power on tap from the 1.4-liter turbo. EPA fuel rating of 39 mpg on the highway is excellent. Great use of interior space.
The Bad A fairly sparse cabin when it comes to features. Bland exterior styling.
The Bottom Line The 2016 Volkswagen Jetta is a fun little runabout at an affordable price.
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