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#16

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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2011 Volkswagen Jetta Interior

This interior review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Reviewers’ main complaint about the 2011 Jetta is that the cabin is cheap compared with the previous model. The plastics are hard, shiny and diminish the luxury feel the old Jetta had. Still, the cabin design is clean and follows the same good-looking design language as the old model.

Aside from a downgrade in quality, the automotive press has great things to say about the amount of rear space and comfort the 2011 Jetta offers. The press says it’s a strong competitor in the midsize sedan class, and will definitely appeal to Americans who love city cruisers.

  • "The [interior] design itself is straightforward and handsome, but the hard plastic shines as if slathered with Armor All." -- Car and Driver
  • "Cost-cutting extends to the interior design, which has good fit-and-finish, but is bereft of the kind of 'wow'-factor VW interior that in the past exceeded expectations set by the window sticker." -- Motor Trend
  • "In fact, the 2011 was so roomy and pleasant and premium (in the SEL) that you could reasonably consider it a lower-price, higher-mileage alternative to bigger cars such as Honda Accord or Ford Fusion." -- USA Today
  • "Once inside, we ceased to care whether this car would be a head-turner. Seats, steering wheel, and dashboard all gave off a quality feel that we had only seen recently in the Touareg." -- CNET

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Seating

In comparison to the 2010 Jetta, comfort is way up for the driver and passengers in the 2011 Jetta. Volkswagen increased rear legroom by about 3 inches, making the back seat one of the most comfortable and spacious areas in the class. It’s the roomiest Jetta ever, and some reviewers even say it competes with midsize sedans.

The driver also sits comfortably and can easily access the controls. The seats are height adjustable and the tilt and telescoping steering wheel allows the driver to adjust seating to his or her needs.

For a closer look at the Jetta's seats, take a look at our Jetta video.

  • "VW has also managed not to screw up a good thing with the driving position. The combination of height-adjustable supportive seats and a tilting and telescoping steering wheel means it's easy to get comfortable in the Jetta." -- Edmunds
  • "[The] roomy back seat provided more knee and leg room than most midsize and even large cars. More than some big SUVs, in fact. That's courtesy of a 3-inch stretch of the car vs. its predecessor." -- USA Today
  • "This should mean that much more passenger room will be on deck, enabling the Jetta to really compete within the midsize sedan segment." -- Autoblog
  • "The interior is the roomiest ever offered on a Jetta." -- Left Lane News

Interior Features

Aside from being made of cheap, shiny plastic, the 2011 Jetta’s interior is pretty nice, even if it is a step down by Volkswagen standards. What saves the Jetta's interior is its high-quality design.

The base S trim comes with outdoor temperature display, power locks with keyless entry and an auxiliary input jack. Buyers who opt for the SE and SEL trims can get a touch-screen sound system, sunroof, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity. 

For a more detailed analysis of the Jetta's interior features, check out our Jetta video.

  • "One very obvious compromise can be seen its dashboard material. Whereas the previous car had soft-touch, nicely grained plastics that were comparable to those of the Mercedes-Benz E-class, the new model has hard plastic that wouldn't look too out of place in a Chrysler Sebring." -- Car and Driver
  • "But we will tell you that, while the innards of the new Jetta are fully class-competitive, the interior is not likely to be the differentiator between the Jetta and its Japanese and American competitors that it once was." -- Edmunds
  • "There isn't much new inside, other than a kind of cheap-looking keyless ignition button and a navigation/audio system with fancy graphics and a smallish five-inch screen. Black dash and door panel plastics are uncharacteristically hard, though not as shiny as the cheapest cars in the segment." -- Motor Trend
  • "What we hated: automatic door locks that didn't automatically unlock. And VW folks on hand said they can't be reprogrammed to work otherwise. You come to a stop, hop out of the driver's seat and yank the back door handle to retrieve your briefcase, gym bag, whatever and the door won't open. You have to reach back in at the driver's door and hit the unlock button to get the three other doors to unlatch." -- USA Today
  • "Attending to first things first, we located the iPod cable in the glovebox and plugged in an iPhone. After a moment, we were able to browse the music library on the car's standard the 5-inch LCD. It was a usable and nice-looking interface." -- CNET

Cargo

The press has said little about the trunk of the Jetta. It can hold 15.5 cubic feet and is one of the largest trunks in the class. Also, the rear seat folds.

To see how the Jetta does hauling cargo, watch our Jetta video.

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