photo courtesy Volkswagen
If you are looking for a compact sedan that plays nice with others, but still stands out from the crowd the 2016 Volkswagen Jetta could be your new darling. Case in point, those German driving characteristics spill over into the personality of the Jetta and the high points include a large backseat and an engine that is smaller than in years past. Look for the turbocharged engine choices on several of the trim options too.
Competition in this round of compact sedans includes not only the Honda Civic, but also the Ford Focus and Mazda 3, but the Jetta has improved its technology in order to keep up its offering. Expect a more refined technology interface as a result of the upgrade.
Trim levels also include engine choices with the 1.4T S, 1.4T SE, 1.8T Sport and 1.8T SEL. You can also get a GLI or Hybrid version.
Coming on the standard trim are 15-inch steel wheels, power accessories, keyless entry, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, heated mirrors, a 60/40-split in the back seats, cloth upholstery and technology that includes Bluetooth phone and audio connect as well as a five-inch touchscreen and auxiliary audio jack. Adding the S Technology package option there is a rearview camera, larger touchscreen, USB port and the VW Car-Net smartphone Integration.
For the SE trim you get 16-inch alloy wheels, push-button start, heated front seats and heated windshield washer nozzles. Adding the Connectivity Package option gets you a sunroof, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, premium vinyl upholstery and the enhanced Car-Net system.
For the 1.8T Sport you get all the SE goodies except the sunroof with a stronger engine and 17-inch wheels with a sport-tuned suspension. On the 1.8T SEL it is the standard suspension, but you also get the sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, high-end interior materials and front reading lights. For the SEL Premium package option it is a cooled glove compartment and eight speakers with the Fender audio system included.
There is a Lighting package option on the Sport and SEL with bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights and cool lighting inside to set the mood. There is a Driver Assistance package that is offered on the SEL trim with frontal collision and blind-sport warning and a rear cross-traffic alert.
The 2016 Volkswagen GLI comes in the SE and SEL trims and the Hybrid comes in the SEL Premium trim level with a variety of extra hybrid related options.
Under the hood the 2016 Jetta delivers in a number of different ways depending on trim with all front-wheel drive. The 1.4T has a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder with 150 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque in a five-speed manual transmission or six-speed automatic and the 1.8T has a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with 170 horsepower and 184 pound feet of torque in a five-speed manual or optional automatic. Moving up you can go for the gusto with the GLI offering a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 210 horsepower and 207 pound feet of torque in a six-speed manual transmission or optional six-speed automatic.
Safety for the 2016 Volkswagen Jetta is the standard antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front side and side curtain airbags and the active front head restraints. With all but the S trim you get the rearview camera and on the 1.8T and TDI SEL there is the Driver Assistance package with frontal collision and automatic braking.
Inside the 2016 Jetta it's impressive and offers just the right technological needs with buttons and dials placed expertly. On the lower trims you won't get as much of the bells and whistle, but you also won't pay as much so it's really just a matter of need. The backseat offers plenty of room with 15.7 cubic feet, which is on par with the bigger sedans.
Whether getting around town for quick jaunts or long distance driving the Jetta is a pleasant ride since it is smooth and handles well on the corners and just navigating around town.
Should You Need to Know: We won't mention the Jetta TDI since we all know the story, but for the 2016 Volkswagen Jetta otherwise, it still offers the goods as expected.
Miles Per Gallon: I drove the Jetta 1.8t SEL Premium and the 2.0T GLI SEL with miles per gallon combined on the 1.8t 29 and on the 2.0 coming in at 27 miles per gallon.
Cost: The Jetta 1.8t SEL Premium had a price tag of $28,145 and the 2.0T GLI SEL came in at $30,100.
This writer has no financial stake with any brands - auto or travel destinations - that she writes about and the opinions in all articles are solely her own as is the video used for publication.
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