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2011 Volkswagen Jetta SEL Review

Value-Packed VW Sedan

A three-quarter front view of a black 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SEL

In short: A sophisticated sedan at an excellent price.

With the unveiling of the all-new 2011 Jetta, Volkswagen's long-running compact sedan, now in its sixth generation, just got a whole lot more attractive. Starting at around $16,000 for the base S model (that's nearly $2,000 cheaper than the 2010 Jetta if you're keeping tabs), this roomier, revamped VW is priced to compete with other offerings in the segment while still providing Volkswagen's famed precision German engineering. Featuring more space, more performance, and a more eco-friendly design than previous incarnations, the new Jetta distinctly feels like a grown-up Jetta — a sedan that is as comfortable as it is cool; as smart as it is sporty. Drivers will get a kick out of the car's impressive acceleration and responsive handling, while passengers will appreciate the ergonomic new seat design and class-leading rear leg room. However, don't expect the Jetta's increased size and space to slow you down — despite expanding 2.9 inches in length, the sprightly sedan still managed to drop 110 pounds.

A look at the interior of the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta

The Volkswagen Jetta's 170-horsepower, 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine

Our top-of-the-line SEL tester (still priced at under $23,000) came tricked out with all of the bells and whistles one would expect to find in a luxury vehicle, including Sirius satellite radio, a touchscreen navigation system, and keyless access with push-button engine starting and locking. The 2011 Jetta also comes standard with Volkswagen's Intelligent Crash Response System (ICRS), which turns off the vehicle's fuel pump, activates the hazard lights, and unlocks all doors in the case of airbag deployment.

Other available versions for the 2011 model year include the TDI clean diesel and a hybrid electric model, both of which offer excellent performance and even greater fuel efficiency. However, serious gearheads may want to hold out for the turbocharged 2.0-liter GLI, which is expected to enter into production in spring 2011.

A three-quarter rear view of a black 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SEL

Read a review of the 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

Warranty/Service: 3-year/36,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty; 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain limited warranty; 12-year/unlimited mile limited warranty against corrosion perforation; 3-year/36,000-mile 24-hour roadside assistance; 3-year/36,000-mile Carefree Maintenance.

Base Price: $21,395 / As Tested: $22,995

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front engine, front-wheel drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

Engine: 2.5-liter 5-cylinder
Horsepower: 170 hp @ 5,700 rpm
Torque: 177 lb-ft @ 4,250 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual

Curb weight:
3,113 lbs
Wheelbase: 104.3 in
Length/Width/Height: 182.7/70.1/57.1 in
Turning circle: 36.4 ft

4-wheel power-assisted disc brakes with ABS and electronic brake force distribution
Suspension: independent MacPherson strut front; multi-link rear; coil springs

Traction: electronic stabilization program; anti-slip regulation

0-60 mph: 8.2 seconds
Top Speed: 127 mph

EPA City:
23 mpg
EPA Highway: 33 mpg

driver and front passenger front and side airbags; front and rear curtain side airbags


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Photography: AlphaMedia

PNW071910 (Updated 11/01/10 NW)