2011 Volkswagen Jetta: First Look

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If the previous-generation Jetta was accused of resembling a Toyota Corolla, the completely redesigned 2011 model, which is slated for sale this October, seems to mimic more upscale sedans like those from BMW. That’s not a bad thing, but the best news from today’s unveiling of the 2011 Jetta is its starting price of around $16,000, which is significantly less than the current model and puts it right at the Chevy Cruze’s starting price and below the new Jetta-like Suzuki Kizashi at $18,999.

Along with the price, its looks also could draw in shoppers. Gone is the deep Audi-esque grille; it’s replaced by a more traditional slotted look. Traditional — nay, boring — may be the term to best describe the new Jetta’s styling, but it should serve to be an improvement over the outgoing model.

Also getting a big change is its overall size. The 2011 is 182.7 inches long, which is 3.4 inches longer than the 2010. That’s just slightly behind the Kizashi at 183.1, but it’s shorter than traditional midsize sedans like the Ford Fusion at 190.6 inches.

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The wheelbase is also longer. This creates an additional 2.7 inches of rear legroom, bringing that number up to 38.1 inches. That’s more legroom than the Fusion and some other midsize sedans. There’s no word on trunk size, but the current Jetta’s 16 cubic feet is sizable. Using the Fusion again as a comparison, it comes in at 16.5 cubic feet and is about average for midsize sedans.

The Jetta will be powered by a choice of four engines, including the 2.0-liter turbodiesel that has made the current TDI such a success. However, it’s the inclusion of a smaller 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 115 horsepower for the base model that brings the starting price down so low. Mileage ratings for this engine haven’t been released. Even the current Golf only offers a larger 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine, which is also the base engine in the current Jetta. That engine will also be available at launch with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder slated for a later introduction.

A hybrid model is planned for 2012, but details are scarce. Expect it to achieve sub-Prius mileage.

Trim designations will be S, SE, SEL and TDI for the diesel and GLI for the 2.0 turbo. A manual transmission will be standard on all models with a six-speed DSG automatic available on the TDI and GLI.No other transmission specs were given at this time.

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The interior looks relatively upscale in these photos, but VW is hoping to snag more entry-level buyers with the low starting price and engine choice than with its top-of-the-line models.

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Comments 

Johnny

How does this mimic BMW styling?

I see a lot in the profile and even the headlights. Or Audi. It was just an example.

Rockaby

Dang man!
Starting price, looks, and rear legroom are all QUITE impressive! Way to go VW.

Tony

"The 2011 is 182.7 inches long, which is 3.4 inches longer than the 2010. That’s just slightly larger than the Kizashi at 183.1..."

I am still wondering how 182.7 is slightly larger then 183.1?????????

As far as styling, it is pretty radical to the current model. Surely, it coming out from Audi. But it is not bad. It is likable, if you like strait lines. Only the front is, sort of, "I don't care" - design.

Inside it looks flat as washer board. Upscale? Looks spartan to me, even if there are 2 colors. Seems like 80s are back.

Also the wheels seem a little too big.

Jack

I can clearly see the design influence of the A4, Camry, and Legacy. It's an attractive car. Now if VW could only do something about the poor reliability.

Min

The new Jetta looks pretty good. Why get an A4 when you get a Jetta.

Steve

Any word on the future of the sportwagon?

Tony,
sorry about that. Some of the numbers changed during the press onslaught this morning. slipped through editing.

Mike

Will it be easy to fix and cheap to repair?

Tony

Hey, I don't even care because, as Jack said, poor reliability will keep my hands off the VW steering wheel.
Let the beauty of VW designs pleasure my eyes when someone else drives it.

eagle2x

Looks great but VW reliability & dealer service suck. I'll watch this one while others fret with it.

While VW still ranks near the bottom of JD Power's dependability rankings, it improved in 2010 to 225 problems per 100 vehicles from 260 in 2009. Those studies use 3 year old vehicles. Avg for industry went from 170 to 155. So it outpaced the industry overall for improvements but only Suzuki and Land Rover did worse.

Paul

Ironically, since you said that the outgoing Jetta had an Audi-like front, the new one has a rear that seems to have taken a page from the Audi A4, as others have pointed out.

I think it looks a little like audi in the back but a lot of brands are kind of doing that with their taillights. Kia too right?

The front though went from looking a lot like Audi to not looking anything like it.

I'm just glad it doesn't look like a corolla.

Paul

Yeah, the new front end is slick and is a nice derivative of the general look VW is adopting for its range of cars in the last couple of years.

Also, about Kia, they did something similar to the rear ends of the latest Optima and the new Forte.

Zack

This is a boring looking car that will have sub-par reliability. It will be interesting to see how much they'll charge for the hybrid compared to the oil burner, and what kind of warranty they'll offer on the hybrid. The Cruze will be a better car, a better value and will achieve better mpg than the standard jetta.

sheth


base motor is very weak and the styling is derivative although its decent looking. This looks like a tamer A4 or a more refined Accord. Either way its not distinctive. The base model is likely to be very stripped based on the fact that the standard engine is weakest in class. The new Focus is going to have 155hp standard and this car is packing 115 while likely carrying more weight. Not a good combination.

The starting price sounds great until you realize how bad the base engine will be and VW knows few will ever own the $16k model.

As usual the Japanese car fans are out in force telling us how they wont buy anything German (or American) due to reliability. Cars today are generally reliable. The JD power figures show you how few problems are experienced with the supposedly unreliable brands and its not many per vehicle. Besides, there is a reason all cars come with a warranty. Those who will only own Toyota and Honda because they are scared any other brand will leave them stranded need to wake up.

JM

The 2.0 sounds like the motor that VW offered in the new beatle and Jett a few years back, before the current Jetta. I hope they at least update the engine because it could be putting out 140-160 hp easily.

cody

JM ~ I was thinking the same thing. That old engine was pretty antiquated, iron block and 2 valves per cylinder. I can't imagine VW resurrecting that in the U.S. market. It was neither powerful or fuel efficient in the older, lighter Jettas of yester-year. Now, if they offer a modern 2.0L 4-cylinder it might be worth considering.

Tony

sheth,

another reason not to buy VW is that they don't age well. After 7 years they fill lose and terrible.
And VW reliability is still way out. Like, 100 more problems per vehicle then Honda

Tony

I the last post I mean "they feel". I was thinking of filling out something here.

Tom

A previous poster said, "Cars today are generally reliable". Tell that to my dealer who just yesterday put in a THIRD transmission in my Malibu LT. My car is not even three years old! I really like the look of this new Jetta but next time I'll be buying a Honda or Hyundai.

jason

While this may not look like a Corolla, it does look mainstream, bland, blah and a little like a Chinese car around back.

Gritz

115 HP, wow, It better be light. I don't know of any new car this size with such low HP. I do like the styling on the car but the car will not be cheaper than the current model because the current base model only comes with a 2.5 engine and about 150 hp so how drivable is this car with this tiny base engine. We'll see I guess.

Scott

Dependability, I have owned 3 Jetta's and everyone of them have been dependable. This is a nice fresh new design, way to go VW.

nick

VW's are great cars. ive has 5 since the 1999 model year. they have never left me stranded or have been expensive to own. two of them i got over 220,000 miles out of. the reason they have poor reliability ratings is because people dont know about the synthtic fluids that are ran in them. canmt wait for the new jetta as i will be purchasing one.

paralee

some of the comments make me a little unsure. since this will be my first time.

NolaLady

I have a 2008 Jetta (leased it in Oct 2007) and will trade it in for a newbie. I LOVE my car. I love the way it drives, it gets great gas mileage, and I never have any problems with it. Before this car, I had a 1996 (bought in Nov 1995) Jetta. I got rid of it (it was still running!) last September (2009). Almost 14 years and never had any major issues with it. Just standard repairs.
My parents had a Jetta when I was growing up. We had it for years and it never gave us any problems. I love VW!

NolaLady

I would also like to add that the 1996 Jetta was a well traveled car. Many years of in town driving in Columbia, SC and New Orleans and several trips between these two cities while I was in college.
I taught several people how to drive a manual transmission (including myself) on that car and it left my hands with its original clutch!

Demetri

I have 2005, nice car, but i had my share of electrical problems, I am planning to get a new 2011 I hope i can get SEL loaded and NOT have to get auto trainmission.
I'll be back ! to look !

Ronald L. Shade

To all of you nay-sayers about VW's poor reliability. - UNDER WHAT ROCK HAVE YOU BEEN HIDING? AND FOR HOW LONG?

I have been driving a 2005 VW JETTA since they came out and have NOT HAD 1 service issue. Oh, that's for over 50,000 miles. NO PROBLEMS!!! Our friends have had the same experience as us. And we drive our cars, we don't pamper them. WE live in Central Pennsylvania and can have harsh winters and very HOT summers.

To clarify, when I was younger, I used to race sports cars all along the East Coast and am very familiar with vehicles. VW has made GREAT STRIDES in the reliability department and should be complemented on greatly improving their reliability.

Why is it we are so ready to damn a manufacturer who makes great efforts to build reliable vehicles at reasonabel prices? Perhaps some of you should have started driving what we had to drive 50 years ago. then you would be on VW's bandwagon singing praises to the company.

For my money, VW is a terrific purchase, and a very wise investment of one's hard earned money! Particularly in todays economy!

The NEW 2011 appears ready to take it's place as another great JETTA and show it's great heritage!

Dander

Pennsylvania's a great place to own a VW. When it breaks down the Amish will always give you a ride on their horse drawn wagon.

anthony

I have owned 4 Jettas over the years,and each of them have been superb.
I will either get thr new one,or upgrade to an Acura TSX to replace my 2007 VW.

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DAvid

I'll be taking a look at it the tdi that is comparing it to the new Diesel Sonata this fall as well as the Prius. I need a 4 door but the Mini and fiat 500 keep drawing me in.

Richard

The design passed from being fun and young to serious and elegant....don't like it.

Benligang

I have a 2006 Jetta 2.0 turbo since it's new and am still driving it. While it can beat my Accord V6 acceleration at a highway speed, it has been in repair numerous times, for major things like engine head overhaul, a/c replacement. At least 3 problems causing the engine warning light on, and diagnose for finding the problem cost $95, regardless if you want to repair (seemed $65 last year), and it only has 47k miles on it now. By comparision, my 2003 Honda Accord V6 with 120k miles NEVER has a non-maintenance repair since I had it in late 2002. But I still like the 2.0 turbo as it will give you Audi A4's performance at a Jetta price, if you truly like to drive, not the look or bagde. My 2006 Jetta has 4-year bumper-to-bumper but the new 2011 will only have 3. Sure it's riskier to own a Jetta but it may still worth the fun to have it.

BP

This looks almost exactly like my 2007 Passat down to body panels and everything. It seems to me that VW created the CC as an upscale replacement to the Passat and rebadged the old Passat as the new and improved Jetta. The only differences I see are grill/rearend and an interior refresh. Other than that, this is the same body as the existing Passat.

b - idaho

will there be a station wagon ?

Martino

I own a 2009 Jetta and love my car, great gas mileage and great interior. New Jetta seems just as impressivd

Bill

To all those basing the VW...The VW Passat 2006, is the best car I have ever owned! I am driving since 1966 and have owned everything you can think of ...including Porsche, BMW, Ferrari, Fiat, MG, Lincoln, Caddy Honda and a host of other cars. The Passat has more standard equipment and a better price than any other car in it's class and a turbo 200HP engine! I know you were bashing the Jetta, but I think that it should be mentioned that VW can and does make a "fine" product. I have never experienced any reliability problems. I welcome all your comments.

clayton

BORING!!!! I've owned Jettas (V6 and TDI) for the past 12 years and this one makes me want to run away screaming it's so bland! Where's the good old VW character?

VW

Doesn't everyone know Volkswagen AG only makes like 8 platforms and re-skins 'em. This is the left over Audi A4 parts from 2010 with VW logos taped on

Daryn Thornbury

BAD MISTAKE, my fault. Took my wife to look at Mercedes 350GLK and VW Tiguan. She saw the Jetta and it's much lower MSRP and bought the first 2011 Jetta SEL. 700 miles on odometer, more than half of those are from going back to dealer service dept 5 times in 10 days. Numerous problems w/ keyless start, not recognizing key. EPC light on = engine malfunction. On dash buttons for display not working. So far everything has been electrical. Dealership only made began to document after the fifth time. If you made the same mistake we did and you have t return for warranty issues insist they create an R.O., legally for us the first four repair attempts don't exist. Have contacted dealer and manufacturer, to date had no response.

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