/> ED I T O R S C H O I C E IN N O V A T IO N A W A R D
X

2011 Volkswagen Jetta (photos)

Volkswagen made its entry-level sedan, the Jetta, even more accessible for 2011, pricing the base model at less than $16K. Bump it up to the SEL trim, and you've still got a good value in a well-equipped car.

Wayne_Cunningham.jpg
Wayne Cunningham
34139827_SS01.jpg
1 of 15 Josh Miller/CNET
The Jetta has proved a very strong seller for Volkswagen, so the company put a lot of effort into redesigning the latest model for mass appeal. At its lowest trim, the car is priced to sell at less than $16,000. Our SEL trim car is a little pricier, topping $21,000, but at this level it comes standard with cabin tech.
34139827_SS02.jpg
2 of 15 Josh Miller/CNET
Volkswagen's redesign of the Jetta modernized the looks by smoothing the metal and de-emphasizing ornamentation, but the result is also very nondescript vehicle. The once proud chrome surround for the grille has been replaced by this simple narrow vent.
34139827_SS03.jpg
3 of 15 Josh Miller/CNET
The 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine in the Jetta SEL is rated at 170 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque, decent numbers, but we found a hard time getting much acceleration out of the car. Other engine options are a 2-liter four-cylinder, a direct injection turbocharged 2-liter four cylinder, and a turbo diesel 2-liter.
34139827_SS04.jpg
4 of 15 Josh Miller/CNET
A little bigger than the outgoing model, the Jetta fits four passengers easily.
34139827_SS05.jpg
5 of 15 Josh Miller/CNET
The suspension for the Jetta is fairly average. It offers a good ride without being too soft or firm.
34139827_SS06.jpg
6 of 15 Josh Miller/CNET
The trunk is surprisingly capacious, with excellent depth and a hatch that opens in such a way as to provide good accessibility.
34139827_SS07.jpg
7 of 15 Josh Miller/CNET
The cabin looks good, and reflects the class of the car, but hard plastics across the dashboard give it a lower-end feel.
34139827_SS08.jpg
8 of 15 Josh Miller/CNET
The steering allows a little slack, making driving comfortable without requiring constant adjustments to the wheel. Lazy drivers will like the Jetta.
34139827_SS09.jpg
9 of 15 Josh Miller/CNET
The fuel gauge is digital, using the semicircle of lights in the display between the tachometer and speedometer. The center display also shows trip information.
34139827_SS10.jpg
10 of 15 Josh Miller/CNET
It is surprising that Volkswagen sticks to a five-speed manual in the Jetta, when so many other car companies are going to six speeds. But we like how the Jetta shifts through its gate.
34139827_SS14.jpg
11 of 15 Josh Miller/CNET
The flash-memory-based navigation system is simple, with no advanced features, but it operates quickly and comes standard in the Jetta SEL.
34139827_SS12.jpg
12 of 15 Josh Miller/CNET
We particularly like this design scheme for the cabin tech interface, which is repeated in the different application areas. Among the destination entry options, we were surprised that we could not select locations on the map.
34139827_SS13.jpg
13 of 15 Josh Miller/CNET
When entering addresses using the onscreen keyboard, we found it easiest to use the touch screen rather than the knob and buttons that sit below the screen.
34139827_SS15.jpg
14 of 15 Josh Miller/CNET
This Bluetooth phone system works very well, downloading a phone's contact list and making it available onscreen and through voice command.
34139827_SS16.jpg
15 of 15 Josh Miller/CNET
The Jetta offers a good array of media sources, such as iPod and Bluetooth streaming audio. A single-CD slot sits above the screen.

More Galleries

The best games on Nintendo Switch

More Galleries

The best games on Nintendo Switch

41 Photos
The best Christmas movies and where to watch them

More Galleries

The best Christmas movies and where to watch them

18 Photos
Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more

More Galleries

Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more

67 Photos
Spooky space shots show creepy side of the cosmos

More Galleries

Spooky space shots show creepy side of the cosmos

29 Photos
2021 best new TV shows to watch, stream, obsess about

More Galleries

2021 best new TV shows to watch, stream, obsess about

65 Photos
The 51 best VR games

More Galleries

The 51 best VR games

53 Photos
Best dating apps of 2021

More Galleries

Best dating apps of 2021

13 Photos