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2012 Volkswagen Jetta – clean diesel, terrific mileage, larger, and lower priced

By ALAN GELL , Automotive Journalist Published: October 21, 2011
  Now those vehicles were head-turners with distinction.

Inside, the feeling you immediately think about is quality.  One of my favorite vehicles is the Touareg and this reminded me a lot of that.  The dashboard, the seats, and electronics all give you a sense of well-designed premium items.  The controls are all intuitive and conveniently arranged.  The seats were redesigned for this year’s model and they are comfortable.  After several hours of driving though, I did feel a little bit “tired” of sitting in the seat of a car.  The seats are covered with a V-Tex leatherette which has the look and feel of real leather, but is a more durable and covering.

The Jetta has good suspension and keeps the car generally flat on most hard turns.  The engine provides the power needed to climb in hilly areas as well as hug the roads when accelerating around curves.   

The test model came outfitted with so much, including power sliding and tilting sunroof, heated seats, six speaker sound system, 16-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires, and a lot more. The base MSRP was just $22,995. No up-charges or extra items were added to bump the price up. With destination delivery charges added, the bottom sticker price was still just $23,765. That is a lot of vehicle for the money.

  The pricing is noticeably reduced over last year.  The car is modernized in appearance.  It is longer and offers more room inside.  The technology is up-to-date.  Gas mileage estimates for the gas-powered versions are 23 city and 32 on the highway.  The TDI diesel is rated by the EPA as 30 city and 42 highway. The spec sheet stated that the expected range for most drivers would be in the 34 to 50 mpg range.

The small-car class is becoming very competitive and includes Kia, Hyundai, Toyota, Honda, and even GM and Ford.  I like the new Jetta and hope it does well, even if it doesn’t have the stand-out appearance of my old sky-blue van or a little green Bug.

Check out the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta at a dealership yourself. The S, SE, and SEL models are really nice, but I certainly enjoyed the TDI clean diesel engine with the standard shift. Of course, 45 to 50 mpg for the week’s test drive did not hurt my feelings either.


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