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  • 3/4 Front Glamour 2016 Volkswagen Jetta
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Expert's Rating

4.25Excellent | Details

MPG

25 City / 36 Highway
Automotive Editor -

Volkswagen's Jetta was repositioned a few years ago to compete more directly with other economical compacts. That meant a lower price, simplified equipment choices, and greater emphasis on fuel efficiency. Despite its roomy interior and grown-up looks, the Jetta remains the most affordable route to putting a new VW in your garage.

What's New for 2016

Last year's base engine has been replaced by a more powerful turbocharged unit. The dash receives a new touchscreen interface, and more safety tech features are available.

Choosing Your Volkswagen Jetta

The current Jetta is known for its generous interior dimensions. Passenger and trunk space come close to midsize levels, and so does the new base engine. The 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder puts out 150 horsepower and delivers up to 33 mpg in combined city and highway driving. As before, you can upgrade to a 1.8-liter turbo with 170 horsepower. Both engine come standard with a five-speed manual transmission, and a six-speed automatic is optional.

At the top of the engine roster is a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that achieves 210 horsepower. The 2-liter can be paired with a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automated manual.

Trim levels correspond to engine size:

1.4T S

Comes with the 1.4-liter engine and all the usual standard features for this class. You also get heated mirrors, a split-folding rear seat, and Bluetooth phone and audio. The available Technology package adds a rearview camera, a larger touchscreen with smartphone integration, and satellite radio. The S rolls on 15-inch steel wheels.

1.4T SE

Gets the Technology package as standard, plus keyless ignition, heated front seats and washer nozzles, and 16-inch alloy wheels. You can add a Connectivity package with a sunroof, a leather-wrapped steering, leatherette upholstery, and an upgraded sound system.

1.8T Sport

Carries the 1.8-liter engine and all of the SE's available equipment. You also get a sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch wheels, and foglamps. Adaptive bi-xenon headlamps and LED running light are available in the optional Lighting package.

1.8T SEL

Gets the automatic transmission as standard, plus an upgraded interior and automatic headlamps and wipers. The SEL rides on the standard (non-sport) suspension. The available Premium package provides a power driver seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, a cooled glove compartment, and an eight-speaker Fender audio system. Safety gets a major boost from the available Driver Assistance package, which includes adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, and front collision mitigation with automatic braking. The Lighting package continues as an option.

2.0T GLI SE

Receives the 2-liter engine along with upgraded braking and suspension systems. All of the regular SE's equipment and options come standard.

2.0T GLI SEL

Carries all the performance and comfort upgrades available on the lower trims, plus 18-inch wheels and a navigation system.

CarsDirect Tip

The entry-level S is clearly a better deal this year thanks to the installation of the 1.4-liter turbo. That said, most buyers will still be more comfortable with the SE, which feels like a complete car.

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