2011 Volkswagen Jetta Long-Term Road Test

2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Art House Versus Mainstream

July 25, 2011

vw_jetta_art.jpg I was at a friend's house over the weekend.

"What are you driving?" he asked.

I told him a new Jetta.

"Oh, so how is it?" he said, curious.

"It's, well..." I replied, but I had to pause as I didn't have an immediate response. Thinking a little, I regrouped with: "Yeah, It's a nice car." I expanded on how it's roomy, competitively priced and, at least in my mind, handsomely (though conservatively) styled. I also noted that you can get it with the TDI engine like our car or the upcoming GLI with the GTI's turbo-4. My friend seemed reasonably satisfied.

In thinking about this conversation later, however, I noticed how the Jetta isn't quite as easy to talk up as it used to be.

Before, I felt like I was letting people in on a little secret when I told them about the Jetta. "It's got an upscale interior, it drives really well and it has top fuel economy with the TDI. You'll have to pay a little more, but it's worth it," is what I would have generally said about the prior two generations.

When discussing the 2011 Jetta, it's less about intangibles and more about spec sheets. This might seem like the wrong way forward, but maybe the Jetta was just too art-house. Critics like me liked it, but not enough of the general public did (from VW's standpoint, anyway). So the new Jetta, with its more mainstream appeal, could work out well. And if you go by the sales increases the new car has posted so far, that would seem to be the case.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 7,846 miles

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The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2011 Volkswagen Jetta in VA is:

$147 per month*
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