2012 Volkswagen Jetta SEL
(2.5L 5-cyl. 5-speed Manual)
What our ratings include
Date Driven: 9/14/2010 (2011 2.5L SEL)
Full-throttle engine performance is good, but part throttle driveability is poor. Obvious and annoying throttle manipulation. Feels sluggish like it has a large flywheel. Geared too tall. Smooth power delivery.
Routine handling is adequate. Steering has a dead spot around center and a somewhat synthetic feel. Tidy handling, good grip. Brake pedal too soft. Very cooperative stability control system overworks the brakes in prolonged hard driving.
Well damped and reasonably compliant with adequate suspension travel. New twist-beam rear suspension doesn't feel notably worse than former fully independent multi-link setup.
Good isolation from road and wind noise. Five-cylinder engine quite silent at a cruise and makes a distinctive engine note during hard acceleration.
Primary controls are placed logically. Secondary controls like cruise and the multifunction display are more fiddly to operate than necessary. Overall a sound cabin.
Very good forward visibility and out the side windows. Outside mirrors are a minimal obstruction. Tall rear deck obscures the view out the back.
Seat Access & Space
Ample cabin space. Rear seat legroom is excellent. Front seats have height adjustment, a nice touch.
Cargo & Storage
Enormous trunk, even moreso than earlier Jettas due to space-saving rear suspension layout. Gooseneck hinges impede on trunk space. Remote trunk release opens trunk fully. Adequate glovebox, smallish console bin.
Fit and finish is very good. Cabin materials are hard plastic with a severe and austere style. Leatherette-style vinyl material on the cheap side but appears durable. Touch points at steering wheel and shift knob are high quality.