2012 Volkswagen Jetta Review
The 2012 Volkswagen Jetta has a huge trunk and a lot of passenger space, but test drivers say to get one without a budget feel, you have to upgrade to higher trims.
The Volkswagen Jetta was redesigned in 2011, and still receives lukewarm reviews from reviewers for its cheap interior, decent performance and boring exterior. While the base 2012 Volkswagen Jetta doesn’t have the interior quality or ample power automotive journalists has come to expect from Volkswagen, reviewers are still impressed with the Jetta’s spacious trunk, large back seat and more affordable base price.
This year, Volkswagen redesigned the 2012 Jetta GLI, and it steps in where the base Jetta falters. The GLI still has a large trunk and one of the most spacious second rows in the class, just like the base model, but its interior is significantly nicer because it has faux-leather seats and fewer hard plastics. The GLI’s engine, which is identical to the one found in the Volkswagen GTI, makes the GLI fun to drive.
However, upgrading to the Jetta GLI to get better performance and a nicer interior will cost a pretty penny. If you can’t afford to pony up to the performance-tuned GLI, reviewers think you should be satisfied with the power available on lower trims.
Other Cars to Consider
If you’re willing to sacrifice performance for more interior features, consider the Hyundai Elantra. You can get a model equipped with Bluetooth and a USB port for significantly less than a similar Jetta would cost. With the Hyundai Elantra you’ll also have plenty of rear-seat and trunk space, and will have the option to upgrade to heated leather seats in the rear row. The Jetta doesn’t have that option.
Often, smaller cars are more fun to drive than larger ones, so if you like the Jetta, but don’t mind driving a smaller vehicle, consider the Volkswagen Golf, which is available as a two- and four-door hatchback. There’s also a Golf with a diesel engine that gets high fuel economy ratings. If you can afford to upgrade to the Volkswagen GTI, a performance version of the Golf, reviewers say you’ll be even more satisfied.
Details: 2012 Volkswagen Jetta
The 2012 Jetta has five trim options: S, SE, SEL, GLI and TDI. The TDI trim has the best fuel economy because it has a turbo diesel engine. The GLI is redesigned for 2012.
This review includes 2011 Volkswagen Jetta reviews because only the GLI model has undergone significant changes.
- "It has all the features Jetta enthusiasts have been clamoring for, plus most of the traditional performance. It will appeal to the mass market with its supple, sport-tuned suspension and agreeable looks." -- Motor Trend
- "Yet for the masses, the Jetta GLI fits the bill. Like the standard Jetta before it, the GLI seems to leave some of what we appreciate on the table, but in exchange nets a total package that's more endearing to the average buyer." -- Autoblog
- "Volkswagen's compact offers great passenger and cargo room, as well as powertrain refinement that exceeds the class norm. At the same time, its ride/handling balance and quality of interior materials fall short of the lofty standards we expect from a Volkswagen. The sporty GLI addresses both these concerns, but they command a healthy price premium over the volume models." -- Consumer Guide
- "But as we noted in our review of the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta, you pay less, but you also get less." -- Edmunds
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