The all new 2011 Volkswagen Jetta is quite a car for a starting price of around $16,000.
It has a nice clean design and lots of legroom in the back seat area, along with VW’s precision German engineering. It has been completely overhauled inside and out and five trim levels are available — S, SE, SEL, TDI and GLI.
The Jetta’s new wheelbase and exterior length are significantly bigger than its predecessor, resulting in better performance, more space and greater comfort. At 182.2 inches long, 57.2 inches tall and 70 inches wide, it is almost three inches longer than previous Jettas.
To the front, there’s a high-gloss black radiator grille, trapezoidal headlights and a painted bumper. Below that, another cooling air intake and tray-shaped front spoiler help give the car a sporty look. The upper front end transitions from the v-shaped hood to the muscular fenders. To the rear, the taillights are split into two sections, extending on either side from the fender into the tailgate.
On the inside, the controls and instruments are arranged nicely, while the steering wheel has a new design, along with the more comfortable and ergonomically designed gearshift grip. Farther up on the center console are the newly designed and intuitive controls for climate, radio and radio-navigation systems. This console section is slightly inclined toward the driver for ideal alignment of the cockpit, and the round instruments are in a more optimal viewing range with the multifunction trip computer display located between them.
The rear bench seatback is split 60/40 and folds, increasing the car’s versatility. The trunk also can be opened from the inside by a remote unlock switch. Up to six airbags (driver and front passenger airbags, side airbags in front and side curtain airbags in front and rear) are part of the equipment package.
As for power, four engines are available including a 2.0-liter 140 hp turbodiesel direct injection (TDI) Clean Diesel with common rail injection and 236 pounds-feet of torque that clocks 0-60 mph in 8.7 seconds. Other options include the 2.0 liter 115 hp gas engine, a 2.5 liter 170 hp engine and a 200 hp 2.0 liter TSI. All Jetta engines come standard with a manual transmission, with an automatic gearbox available as an option.
On the new 2.0-liter TDI and 2.0-liter TSI, the six-speed DSG transmission is offered, one that VW claims is among the most advanced and efficient automatic transmissions in the world. The TDI version gets 42 mpg on the highway, making Jetta one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the market.
The all-new 2011 Jetta includes several features designed to enhance driver and passenger safety including electronic stability control to help prevent drivers from losing control of their cars, and tire pressure monitoring.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com.