VW's New Navigation System - 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Long-Term Road Test

2011 Volkswagen Jetta Long-Term Road Test

2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: VW's New Navigation System

July 27, 2011


One of the new features for the 2011 Jetta is VW's latest "RNS 315" sound and navigation system. It comes standard on the Jetta SEL and is optional on the TDI ($1,200, though that also gets you keyless ignition/entry, fog lights and extra chrome trim). RNS 315 is now the main VW head unit and is found on everything except the Touareg and Routan. Some observations on it follow.

For the most part, I like the new head unit. The navigation system is flash memory based, so it reacts very quickly to inputs. The screen itself is bright and crisp. The audio presets are different as compared to the ones in our departed 2010 GTI, as they are set in an arc that moves across in blocks of six presets. Using the main rotary dial will scrolls through the presets, letters on the keyboard for navigation entries and lists on a MP3 player. It's also a touch-screen, so just about everything has redundant control either by touching or by using the rotary dial and flanking buttons.

vw_jetta_nav3.JPG I've only used the navigation system for a couple destinations, but for what I used it for it worked out fine. As for downsides, I have two of them, though one might be solvable. The main one is that 5-inch screen is kind of small, and that limits the amount of useful map you can see. It also doesn't display as much information (say, street names) at normal zoom levels as I'd prefer. Also, I can't figure out if there's a way to pan to different parts of the map. Touching the screen doesn't move the map, and there's no other control that you can navigate with. Unfortunately, our test car seems to be lacking a manual for the navigation system so I can't read up further.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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