in 2011 Affordable Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $9,675 - $15,860
Original MSRP: $15,365 - $25,295
MPG: 24 City / 34 Hwy
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Used Car: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta Review

Review Last Updated: 8/9/12

The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta stands out among 2011 small cars with ample passenger space, a huge trunk and good fuel economy ratings. However, the Jetta’s reliability rating trails many in the class.

The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta is ranked:

Volkswagen redesigned the Jetta for 2011, and when it was new, reviewers liked its spacious interior, saying that the Jetta has as much space as some 2011 midsize cars. Additionally, the Jetta’s trunk is one of the largest in the class. Inside, the cabin has a smooth, clean design, though test drivers disliked the 2011 Jetta’s hard, shiny plastics.

The 2011 Jetta comes with standard features that are typical of small cars, including air conditioning, cruise control, a four-speaker stereo and an auxiliary input jack. Look to higher trims for features like satellite radio, a USB port, Bluetooth and navigation.

Four engines are available in the 2011 Jetta. The S model has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, while the SE and SEL trims get a more powerful 2.5-liter five-cylinder. The base model with a manual transmission has average fuel economy ratings, but higher trims get slightly fewer miles per gallon. The best performer in the lineup is the Jetta GLI, which has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The Jetta TDI offers the best fuel economy thanks to its 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine. Reviewers were mixed on the Jetta’s performance, though many were underwhelmed and felt other cars in the class were more fun to drive.

The 2011 Jetta performed very well in crash tests, but its reliability rating is lower than average.

See the full 2011 Volkswagen Jetta specs »

Other Cars to Consider

The 2011 Hyundai Elantra also has a rear row and trunk that are among the largest in the class, and a great safety score. Additionally, the Elantra stands out with high fuel economy ratings and an above-average reliability score. Reviewers also liked the Elantra’s high-quality cabin, which could be equipped with heated rear seats.

If you’re looking for a small used car that’s also fun to drive, check out the 2011 Mazda3. You’ll give up the Jetta’s spacious rear seat, and while the Mazda3 sedan is short on trunk space, the hatchback has lots of cargo room. With the Mazda3, you’ll also get above-average safety scores and a quality interior, as well as a better reliability rating.  

Compare the Jetta to the Elantra and Mazda3 »

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