Volkswagen Jetta

The Jetta is offered in several levels, with three different powerplants. The S and SE models offer a 1.4L 4-cylinder engine that makes 150 horsepower. SEL models are powered by a 170-horsepower 1.8L 4-cylinder turbo. GLI models are powered by a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder making 210 horsepower.

A 5-speed manual transmission is standard on S and SE models, while a 6-speed automatic with Tiptronic and Sport mode is optional. The SEL is equipped only with a 6-speed automatic, while a 6-speed manual is standard on the GLI, with the 6-speed auto optional.

Jetta 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 seat adjustment, air conditioning, a rearview camera, and a 60/40 split folding rear seat. Jetta 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, adaptive cruise control, a "soft-touch" dash, 17-inch alloy wheels, bumper-integrated halogen fog lights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, chrome accents, touchscreen navigation, Bluetooth, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, interior leather accents and a multi-function trip computer.

The GLI is equipped much like the SEL but with the larger engine. It also rides on 18-inch alloy wheels with a sportier suspension and stronger brakes. Exterior differences include chrome exhaust tips, a spoiler, a unique grille and LED taillights. Inside, there are sport seats, a Fender sound system with nine speakers, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The GLI does not include adaptive cruise control, however.

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 touchscreen stereo system with a six-disc in-dash CD changer and SD memory card reader, plus a tinted power sunroof. The sunroof is available on the SEL as well.

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.

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Editors' First Take

The Jetta remains very important to Volkswagen. Sure, the company may credit many of its newfound successes to the expansion of its SUV offerings, but its mass-market sedan is still one of the most popular ways for people to join the VW family. As the third best-selling vehicle in VW's lineup, the automaker handed down some very mild changes as part of a midcycle refresh, and the result is a sedan that's still quite good, whether you want it sporty or not.

What's new for both cars?

Aesthetic updates for the 2022 Jetta are pretty limited, be it the mass-market trims (S, SE, SEL, Sport) or the peppy GLI. There are some revised bumpers, as well as new alloy wheels for each individual trim level, but on the whole the sedan looks just about the same as it did before.

The interior is pretty much the same, too, barring some new contrast stitching on the SEL and GLI, a new steering wheel and a digital instrument cluster that's now standard on every trim. The GLI's steering wheel gets the same touch-sensitive buttons as other new VWs like the ID 4, but I may prefer the less expensive variant, which uses traditional buttons that I think are a little easier to commit to muscle memory.

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