Your Family Car is a Volkswagen Jetta?!

I have a baby. I carpool a lot with other moms who have babies. I have two rear-facing child-safety seats installed in my car the majority of the time, and I just got a new 2012 Volkswagen Jetta.

You may not have seen it atop any family-car lists lately, but the Jetta has a family-friendly secret that's about to get out: The backseat is big.

It's bigger than every other compact sedan on the market (in terms of rear legroom), and it's big enough that it doesn't feel like a small sedan at all. It even fits rear-facing child-safety seats comfortably, and my adult co-pilots don't feel cramped with their knees in the dash when riding shotgun, either.


If I had a dime for all the times I've heard, "But you have a baby! How do you fit all that stuff in a Jetta?" over the last month, I'd be able to upgrade to the highest SEL trim level. But truth be told, we took everything we haul around on a day-to-day basis with us to the VW dealership, installed my daughter's safety seat inside the Jetta and made sure the stroller fit in the trunk (also largest in the class) before we even drove off the lot on our test drive. Families shopping for a new car should do the same. It's the best advice I could give to any family looking for their next car.


Like many families, we were trying to "downsize" by lowering our monthly car payment and reducing fuel costs. I was driving an SUV that required premium gasoline and just the trips to the gas station were giving my husband and me ulcers. We had five cars on our list, but the Jetta joined the family because not only was it relatively fuel efficient and practical, but it looked good and felt fun to drive. Other contenders felt "cheap" to me, lacked a little character or they were just too small inside.

In addition to doing the happy dance at the gas station and being able to take a fellow momma and baby friend along for the ride, there's plenty more keeping me happy about my Jetta purchase. The leatherette interior holds up extremely well to scuffs and spills. The interior's Cornsilk Beige color disguises crumbs until I gather my resolve for clean-up duty.


I'm also in love with VW's CarGo system, which are plastic blocks with Velcro on the bottom that allow you to configure a variety of storage combinations in the trunk. I can anchor them to form the perfect spot for my stroller so it doesn't shift around, and I position them around my grocery bags to keep eggs from sliding and canned goods from falling out of the bag and rolling around.

But truly, that we were able to overcome the challenge of fitting rear-facing car seats in a smaller, more efficient car without having to sacrifice convenience or comfort, is what makes the Jetta such a rewarding find for our family.




The biggest "family friendly" feature missing on the Jetta (and Passat) are rear A/C vents, especially if you live in a southern state.

It is especially disappointing when you realize that both previous versions of the Jetta and Passat had this feature.

To make it even more insulting, VW has decided to place a small bin in place of the vents, which looks almost like one of those "blanks" you see on the instrument panel when you skip an option.


shappy, I have the 2012 Passat and I do not miss having rear A/C vents. I also had the previous Passat (2006) and those vents are useless. They don't really blow much air to make a difference. Besides, they are still ducts under the seats that push air to the back.

Rumor has it, that the 2013 Passat may have rear vents. But for me, it's not a big enough deal to be insulted by. The dual climate A/C does a fine job.


It's true; this car has an enormous amount of space. Been on lots of long road trips with my friends, and none of them ever complain about the space in the backseat.

Additionally, I can fit TWO hockey bags in the trunk, with room to spare. Doesn't look like you could based on the exterior of this car, but it's got a ton of room.

Love my Jetta. Probably upgrade to the GLI at the end of the year.


Insulting is a little strong lol. For the record NONE of the other vehicles directly in the Jetta's class offer rear vents currently, that's why VW removed them.


I have the 2011 Jetta 1.4TSI confortline. I dislike the workmanship on the final finishing and alignment of components and panels. For the price tag I expect more attentiont to detail!!!

peter norton

With VW record sales & reliability below the average we will have a boom in car repair industry in a couple of years.


The thing about the good fuel economy mentioned in this article seems contradictory to reality. In fact, the Jetta didn't even qualify for the Under 20/Over 35 shootout because its mileage is too low. On the other hand, it also finished last in a Car & Driver comparison test because off its cheap interior, which leads me to believe that Seelan is right.


The only new Jetta I will buy will be the wagon. The newly redesigned Jetta has been cheapened too much for my tastes. The trim and options are lacking and looks rather cheap. VW will lose its base and loyal customers because they decided to go cheap. When companies such as ford are making great strides in the reliability ratings VW is tanking.


While they may have decontented the interior a little bit, all the touch points I feel are just as good as the last generation and the pattern they used for the dash doesn't make it look as hard as it seems. I mean, how often are you touching the dashboard area?!

So glad to see someone else enjoing their Jetta as much as me. I saw this post shortly before I bought my own and thought it was really interesting to see the leg and trunk room from all of the Jetta's competitors. I am now the proud owner of a blue Jetta and I've got it packed full of my goodies. Thanks again for the post and keep enjoying it!


Great article as I was looking to get a Jetta in the near future now that I have a little one they tiny Audi A3 is a real hassle to put a car seat in.


Check out the Toyota Prius. Lots more room than the A3, gets nearly double the mileage and costs $5k less. Or spend a little more to get the LEXUS ct 200h, which is a very reliable car. Time to get practical now that you have a little one. Enjoy parenthood!


Oops, CT200h actually has less rear legroom than the A3, so not a good alternative for the baby seat.


What kind of car seats are those that you fit rear facing in the Jetta? Is either driver over 6 ft tall? Thanks for your help!!!


I read the reviews on the Jetta about the reliability and performance...but quite honestly when you have children with rear facing seats, it is exhausting looking for the right vehicle. I read a review on almost every SUV, minivan, sedan that I was interested in for a roomy backseat and trunk, fuel efficiency, overall cost and the Jetta was the winner. It's not for everyone but for our family it gets the job done.


I have a 2013 Jetta Sportwagen and a 10 month old baby and another on the way. I find that the carseat is huge and it impacts those that sit in the front passenger's seat. Can you please share what car seats you use? I have another baby on the way so both will be rear facing. Thanks!


Hi Katherine,
The seat I recommend of the two pictured in this story is the MaxiCosi Pria 70.


Katherine - you have the sportwagen which is completely separate/different from this generation Jetta sedan despite them sharing a name resemblance. Your Jetta Sportwagen (known as the Golf sportwagen in the rest of the world) is based off the previous Jetta/Golf chassis and as such has more than 3 less inches of legroom than the current Jetta (and it's narrower as well) - that is why your car seats are harder to fit.

Thank you!! Just what I was looking for- I have picked the Jetta as #1 on my list for a "new" car and just wanted to see what other moms with carseats, especially rear-facing carseats, had to say about it! Wonderful news!


I live in Vegas and the lack of AC vents in the backseat is deadly in the summer for a baby. Plus you can't keep AC going and lock your car while you run into daycare, etc. I am so upset! Just upgraded to a passat from the Jetta and it's a huge disappointment.

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