2011 Volkswagen Jetta Preview

Jeff Youngs | Dec 31, 2010


2011 Volkswagen Jetta Photo Gallery
  • All-new sixth-generation model
  • A unique platform, no longer shared with the Volkswagen Golf
  • Larger and more spacious than its predecessor
  • More upscale with more premium appointments
  • Gasoline and diesel engines carry over
  • Standard front-wheel drive
  • Manufactured in Mexico


The first Volkswagen Jetta debuted in 1979. As opposed to developing an all-new model, the automaker simply converted its Volkswagen Golf-a popular import hatchback-into a slightly roomier sedan. When it proved as acceptable to buyers as its sibling, the German automaker seized the opportunity and offered the Jetta as a 2-door coupe, 4-door sedan, and as a 5-door station wagon in both front- and all-wheel-drive derivatives.

Over its past five generations, the Jetta has been marketed as an entry-level luxury vehicle, sport sedan, and as an economy vehicle (with both gasoline and diesel-powered powerplants). Well-received in a worldwide market, the Volkswagen Jetta is manufactured in five different countries and sold around the globe under such names as the Atlantic, Bora, Fox, Sagitar, and Vento.

The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta is an all-new sixth-generation model. Unlike its predecessors, the new Jetta is built on its own platform-meaning it does not rely on Golf architecture. As a result, the new sedan is 3.5 inches longer than the previous model. This translates to more space, and greater passenger comfort, says Volkswagen.


2011 Volkswagen Jetta Photo GalleryCompletely redesigned, the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta features a longer wheelbase, extended vehicle length, and new styling that is designed to give the sedan an "athletically muscular stance," according to the automaker. The overall appearance nearly mirrors that of , which previewed at the North American International Auto Show in January of 2010. The rounded headlights and bumpers are now trapezoidal, and nearly all of the chrome brightwork, so prominent on the last model, has been replaced by matte finishes or paint. The sides feature more of Volkswagen's "Design DNA," including the shoulder "tornado" line and emphasized wheel arches.

The interior will be familiar to Volkswagen enthusiasts, but it has gone decidedly upscale. The only significant changes include the moving of the driver's window switches up the door and the ovoid dash vents have been squared. The climate control, radio and navigation controls have also been redesigned to be easier to use, says the automaker.

Volkswagen will sell five different Jetta models in 2011: S, SE, SEL, GLI and TDI. While specific model information has not been released, standard features on all 2011 Jetta models is expected to include cloth upholstery, air conditioning, cruise control, power windows, and an anti-theft alarm system. Standard audio systems will feature an AM/FM radio with a single CD player (MP3 format readable), and 8 speakers. Trim-specific equipment is expected to include upgraded V-Tex (vinyl) upholstery, available leather upholstery, split-folding rear seats, power glass sunroof, and 17-inch alloy wheels (18-inch alloys will also be offered, says Volkswagen).

The standard powertrain for the front-wheel-drive 2011 Jetta is a 2.5-liter, 5-cylinder gasoline engine rated at 170 horsepower and 177 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine is mated to either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic gearbox (Volkswagen's "Tiptronic" unit). Upmarket trim levels will be offered with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged gasoline engine ("TFI") rated at 200 horsepower and 207 lb.-ft. of torque. This "2.0T" powerplant is mated to a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed "DSG" (dual-clutch) automatic gearbox. The diesel-powered "TDI" models feature a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder, turbocharged diesel engine rated at 140 horsepower and 236 lb.-ft. of torque. As is the case with the turbocharged gasoline engine, the fuel-efficient diesel powerplant is available with a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed DSG automatic gearbox. Fuel economy figures have not been released.

Shared with its predecessor, all 2011 Volkswagen Jetta models will feature an independent front MacPherson strut suspension and fully independent 4-link rear suspension with coil springs. The brakes are ventilated discs in the front, and solid discs in the rear. The steering system is power rack-and-pinion with an electro-mechanical variable assist.


2011 Volkswagen Jetta Photo GalleryWhile most automakers look to hybrid vehicles to deliver impressive fuel economy, Volkswagen has instead refined its diesel engine technology. Optional on the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta is the automaker's 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine that features common-rail fuel injection. Unlike the noisy and vibration-prone diesel engines of the past, Volkswagen says its engine runs as quietly as a gasoline engine. Furthermore, they point out that its torque rating (236 lb.-ft.) rivals that of much larger gasoline engines helping it to deliver a 0-60 mph dash in just 8.7 seconds. Best of all, the identical engine returned 30 mpg in the city cycle and 42 mpg on the highway last year-earning it one of the EPA's "Most Efficient Compact Car" ratings in 2010 (2011 ratings are expected in a few months).
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