2011 Volkswagen Jetta Review | Edmunds.com

2011 Volkswagen Jetta

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Volkswagen Jetta Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.0 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 115 hp @ 5200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 24/34 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta

  • While the new 2011 Volkswagen Jetta is bigger yet more affordable than before, it has lost many of the special attributes that formerly distinguished it from the pack.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Spacious interior and trunk; well-equipped; smart electronics interface; fuel-efficient diesel model.

  • Cons

    Disappointing interior quality; slow throttle response with automatic; numb steering; sluggish base engine.

  • What's New for 2011

    The Volkswagen Jetta sedan has been fully redesigned for 2011 and is now significantly different from the Jetta Sportwagen.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (61 total reviews)


Nice car, but clutch failure

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Vehicle: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6M)

I purchased the 2011 VW Jetta TDI with the manual 6-speed transmission in January 2011. The car had significant problems at first with stalling. After a couple of tries, the dealership replaced the air mass meter which improved it significantly. At 22,280 miles, the clutch disk disintegrated. VW claims that his was normal wear and tear. However, on a previous car (87 Volvo 740T) I got 210,000 miles on the clutch. I know how to drive a clutch. I am a former licensed master auto mechanic, this is clearly a materials failure, and VW will not stand behind their product. They have lost a good customer and somebody who had been a good advocate for VW in the past.




Love the car, hate the

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Vehicle: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SE PZEV 4dr Sedan w/Convenience (2.5L 5cyl 5M)

We purchased our Jetta off the lot, but I think we choose the wrong one. We had issues right out of the gate. Noticed that left side speakers did not work. Took it back and discovered that when the dash was installed at the factory they smashed the wiring harness. Second issue: clicking sound from driver's door trim. That took over 4 months to get it diagnosed and corrected and to get window controller fixed because tech damaged it while fixing the trim. Third issue: Had to have the manual transmission replaced at around 48k. Interior seals failed. I think this Jetta was made right before siesta time (made is Mexico). Tires side walls blew out around 35k




I will never buy vw

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Vehicle: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SE 4dr Sedan w/Convenience (2.5L 5cyl 6A)

My Jetta's engine completely shuts off while driving. It has happened 4 times in the last year. I take it to the Volkswagen dealership and they tell me there is nothing they can do about it. It really upsets me I have not even had my car for 3 years and it is not reliable. I am scared to drive because I don't know when my car is going to randomly shut off. This is a huge safety issue. This issue could cause me to be in an accident. I was always a huge Volkswagen supporter and thought I would always drive a Volkswagen, but now I am questioning that. I am so disappointed about the quality and reliability of my car and the fact that no one seems to care.




Great car

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Vehicle: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SE PZEV 4dr Sedan w/Convenience (2.5L 5cyl 6A)

I have had Hyundai, Acuras, Volvos and Lexus before this and I am very happy with this car. I will be buying VW from now on. It is a fun car to drive and big. We have 2 little children and no problem on back seat. The trunk is huge took all our stuff to beach trip with no problem. The pickup is great on the 2.5 5 Cylinder engine. I wish I had the sunroof and automatic headlights but that is all that is missing from this car. I have traded 3 cars in the last 3 years but this one is a keeper! Great gas mileage too




Updated review from previous one!

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Vehicle: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SE 4dr Sedan w/Convenience, Sunroof (2.5L 5cyl 6A)

I wrote a previous review on this car as well and would like to update it! My '11 Jetta SE w/ Conv/Sun now has 50k mi on it! It has gotten me through this brutal winter that hit the east coast w/out a single problem! Always starts, never fails, ever! I use it to commute 120 mi round trip to school every week, and I deliver pizzas with it on the weekends! I take good care of it, but it does get some hard use! Build quality isn't fantastic, and I've had a few issues with some cheap panels breaking and I had a minor electrical issue w/ taillight. All fixed under warranty and not much of a hassle at all. All cars have quirks and issues of their own. But you can't beat this car for the price!




It's a good daily use

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Vehicle: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SE PZEV 4dr Sedan w/Convenience (2.5L 5cyl 6A)

I bought an used 2011 2.5 version. It's good for daily use, and it gives you power when you put in sport mode or manual. I like it.



Full 2011 Volkswagen Jetta Review

What's New for 2011

The Volkswagen Jetta sedan has been fully redesigned for 2011 and is now significantly different from the Jetta Sportwagen.

Introduction

The Volkswagen Jetta has historically bridged a gap between salt-of-the-earth compact cars and Germany's entry-level luxury sedans. In the past, people who bought a Jetta were just as likely to have also considered a BMW 3 Series or a Honda Accord. There was a premium quality to the Jetta that its buyers recognized as worth the extra cost of admission. Even so, Volkswagen believes this price premium also kept more people from considering its compact sedan in the first place, so the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta represents a dramatic shift in philosophy.

For the first time in the car's 30-year history, the 2011 Jetta is not the sedan version of the 2011 VW Golf. On the positive side, the new Jetta has a longer wheelbase for more rear seat room. But we're not fond of the revised steering, standard rear drum brakes and the base model's 2.0-liter engine. Additionally, the Jetta's interior no longer boasts the upscale materials and thoughtful little details that used to give it a premium feel.

So why all these changes, when in most ways they make the Jetta less desirable? The answer is price. The new base model Jetta S costs less than $15,000, and VW points out that it's actually $1,700 cheaper than a 2000 Jetta when you consider inflation. At the same time, the Jetta also boasts more standard features for the money than a 2011 Honda Civic. Add this to its big-car interior and you have a super-sized Jetta for American consumers who expect the kind of value you get at Costco.

Simply taken as it is, the 2011 VW Jetta is a solid choice for a small or midsize sedan. With its spacious interior, plenty of standard features and exclusive offering of a fuel-efficient clean-diesel engine, the new Jetta holds its own against other top choices like the Honda Civic, 2011 Hyundai Elantra, 2011 Kia Forte and 2011 Mazda 3. But for every customer who will notice the Jetta's smaller price and bigger size, we think there will be just as many previous VW customers put off by the new car's obvious cost-cutting.

For the Jetta, it's pay less and you get less. And in our opinion, that's a step backwards.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta is a midsize sedan available in Base, S, SE, SEL and TDI trim levels. The Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen is reviewed separately.

The Jetta Base is a stripped-down model that comes with 15-inch steel wheels, power locks and windows, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, height-adjustable front seats, cloth upholstery and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat. The S adds keyless entry, air-conditioning, power/heated mirrors and a four-speaker sound system with CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.

The Jetta SE gets a more powerful engine, 16-inch steel wheels, cruise control, a front center armrest and storage compartment, a rear seat center armrest, a trunk pass-through and premium vinyl upholstery. The SE Convenience package adds 16-inch alloy wheels, heated windshield washer nozzles, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, Bluetooth and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio and an iPod interface. A sunroof can be added to the Convenience package and with it comes a premium six-speaker sound system with a touchscreen interface, SD memory card reader and a six-CD changer.

The SEL includes all the SE's optional equipment (other than the sunroof, which is a stand-alone option), plus 17-inch alloy wheels, rear disc brakes, foglamps, chrome exterior trim, keyless ignition/entry, manual front seat lumbar adjustment, a trip computer and a navigation system. The SEL Sport package adds the sunroof, a sport-tuned suspension, sport seats and sport pedals.

The Jetta TDI with its turbodiesel engine is equipped similarly to an SE with the Convenience and Sunroof packages. It gets the SEL's rear disc brakes and trip computer as well. When equipped with the optional navigation system, the TDI also gets foglamps, exterior chrome trim, keyless ignition/entry, manual front seat lumbar adjustment and the touchscreen navigation/stereo interface.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta Base and S come with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 115 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 23 mpg city/32 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined with the automatic and 24/34/28 with the manual.

The Jetta SE and SEL get a 2.5-liter inline-5 that produces 170 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. It gets the same transmission choices as the 2.0-liter inline-4. Its EPA-estimated fuel economy is actually quite similar, with 24/31/27 with the automatic and 23/33/26 with the manual. In Edmunds performance testing, a manual-equipped 2011 Jetta SEL went from zero to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds -- a good time for a midsize sedan with this type of fuel economy.

The Jetta TDI features a turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel inline-4 that produces 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual is standard and Volkswagen's six-speed dual-clutch automated manual gearbox is optional. With either transmission, estimated fuel economy stands at an excellent 30/42/34.

Safety

The 2011 VW Jetta comes standard with traction and stability control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. All Jettas have antilock brakes with brake assist; however, the S and SE have rear drums. The SEL and TDI get rear discs. In Edmunds brake testing of an SEL, the Jetta came to a stop from 60 mph in a better-than-average 117 feet.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2011 Jetta has a disappointing interior, something we've never said about a Jetta before. Though build quality is still tight, the high-quality, soft-touch materials of the 2010 Jetta have been replaced by cheap hard surfaces. Also gone are features that used to make the Jetta stand apart from other small sedans, like a height- and length-adjustable center armrest, infinitely adjustable back rests for the front seat, rear-seat air vents and a carpeted trunk lid with struts rather than gooseneck hinges. The Jetta Sportwagen, which continues to be based on the Golf, has these features and is indeed a nicer car.

For all that, the new Jetta is quite roomy. It's easy to find a comfortable seating position, and a full-size adult can sit in the back with room to spare. The 15.5-cubic-foot trunk is actually bigger than those of the Honda Accord and outgoing VW Passat. We're also big fans of the available touchscreen stereo interface, which features a redundant control knob ideal for controlling an iPod.

Driving Impressions

We have yet to sample a 2011 Volkswagen Jetta with the wheezy 2.0-liter base engine, but we doubt it has gotten any more energetic since it disappeared from the Jetta lineup back in '04. The 2.5-liter five-cylinder is obviously a better choice, and even if it isn't the smoothest or most aurally pleasing engine in its class, it is certainly robust. We've noticed an odd, delayed part-throttle response when this engine is paired with the six-speed automatic, so make sure to step on it during a test-drive to see if you find this quirk as annoying as we have. When the manual transmission is in place, we didn't notice anything amiss. Our pick, however, would be the TDI, as its turbodiesel engine boasts robust torque and frugal fuel economy.

Competent yet unremarkable handling is what we've come to expect from the Jetta, and the new car doesn't disappoint. The switch from an independent rear suspension to a semi-independent torsion beam doesn't seem to adversely affect handling or ride, as this remains a very solid-feeling German car. Though the steering has a small dead spot on-center and a somewhat artificial feel, we have no complaints as far as its actual performance, as it's quick and precise enough when guiding the Jetta through corners.

Read our VW Jetta TDI Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test

Talk About The 2011 Jetta

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 24
  • cty
/
  • 34
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs