The Volkswagen Jetta has models for different needs, desires and budgets. The Jetta S with its attractive price is not the best bargain, as the Jetta SE offers more value. The new Hybrid offers less overall than the diesel TDI, for more money. The TDI Sportwagen remains a winner in everybody's book, with no downsides unless you need big size and horsepower. And if you want a good Volkswagen hot rod, the refined GLI is tons of fun and won't disappoint.
Sam Moses filed this NewCarTestDrive.com report after his test drives of the Jetta S and SE in San Francisco, and the Hybrid in the Northwest. Kirk Bell reported after driving the TDI, GLI and Sportwagen in Herndon, Virginia.
Model Line Overview
Volkswagen Jetta S sedan ($16,720), S Sportwagen ($20,595), SE sedan ($19,015), SE Sportwagen ($24,395), SEL sedan ($22,895), TDI sedan ($22,990), TDI Sportwagen ($25,795), GLI ($23,945), Hybrid S ($24,995), Hybrid SE ($26,990), Hybrid SEL ($29,325)
dual-stage frontal airbags, side-impact airbags in front, airbag curtains, tire pressure monitor, traction control, ESC, ABS with brake assist
Safety equipment (optional):
3 years/36,000 miles
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSRP):
Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid SEL Navigation ($29,325)
1.4-liter TSI engine with electric motor, 7-speed DSG automated twin-clutch transmission, V-Tex leatherette upholstery, power sunroof, RS315 touch-screen navigation system, heated front seats with lumbar adjustment, air conditioning, interior air filter, tilt/telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, 60/40 split-folding rear seat with trunk pass-through, power windows, power door locks, heated power mirrors with turn signals, keyless access and starting, audio system with auxiliary input jack, satellite radio, iPod interface, Bluetooth, theft-deterrent system, illuminated visor mirrors, floormats, heated windshield washers, fog lights
Options as tested (MSRP):
First Aid kit ($35)
Gas guzzler tax:
Price as tested (MSRP):
1.4-liter direct injection turbocharged inline-4 with electric motor
Horsepower (hp @ rpm):
170 @ 5000
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm):
184 @ 1000
7-speed automated manual
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:
Head/hip/leg room, f:
Head/hip/leg room, m:
Head/hip/leg room, r:
11.3 cu. ft.
independent MacPherson strut with lower control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar
torsion beam with coil springs
disc/disc w/ABS and brake assist
Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle.
All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) effective as of November 30, 2012.
Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges.
N/A: Information not available or not applicable.
Manufacturer Info Sources: