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8.4

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.0
Performance: 7.6
Interior: 8.2
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.2
Safety: 9.3
Reliability:
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2012 Volkswagen Jetta Review

The 2012 Volkswagen Jetta gets great fuel economy with its available diesel engine and has a large trunk, but gets lackluster fuel economy with its base gas engine.

Pros & Cons

  • Spacious trunk
  • Great diesel fuel economy
  • Lackluster fuel economy with gas engine

2012 Volkswagen Jetta Overview

Volkswagen Jetta models from 2012 with diesel engines are part of the massive Volkswagen recall because they do not meet U.S. emissions standards. Volkswagen will contact owners when they have remedied the problem and will fix the cars for free. The cars are safe to drive. Read more on the Volkswagen diesel recalls

The 2012 Jetta is available with four different engines, including a base four-cylinder engine, a five-cylinder engine, a diesel engine and a turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine in the Jetta GLI. Most reviewers tested the model with the available five-cylinder engine said it provides adequate power in all situations. Critics liked the diesel-powered Jetta TDI for its abundant low-end torque and good fuel economy, while the turbocharged Jetta GLI earned praise for its more robust acceleration. All models come standard with a manual transmission. A six-speed automatic is available on lower trims, while the Jetta GLI and TDI are available with a six-speed automated manual transmission. A five-cylinder Jetta achieves up to 24/31 mpg city/highway, which is a bit low for the class. The diesel model gets much better ratings, at 30/42 mpg. Reviewers said that most Jetta trims have controlled handling, but some wished for more steering feel. Others commented that the Jetta GLI has sportier handling and more accurate and responsive steering than the base Jetta.

Reviewers agreed that the interior found in lower Jetta trims has a nice design, but isn’t as nice as that of the GLI, which has higher-quality materials. However, the Jetta’s front and rear seats received high marks for their comfort and space. Reviewers were pleased that the Jetta’s climate and touch-screen audio controls are easy to operate. The Jetta offers 15.5 cubic feet of trunk space, which is very good for the class. The base Jetta comes with few standard features, but a Fender stereo, navigation, a power sunroof, leatherette seats, heated front seats, Bluetooth, an iPod interface, satellite radio and a touch-screen stereo are available.

See the full 2012 Volkswagen Jetta specs »

Other Cars to Consider

Reviewers loved the 2012 Volkswagen Golf’s composed handling and high-quality interior. The Golf is also available with the same reviewer-liked diesel engine found in the Jetta, which helps it achieve great fuel economy for the class.

Reviewers said the 2012 Ford Focus is entertaining to drive and has a high-quality, comfortable cabin. The Focus is available as a sedan or hatchback.

Compare the Jetta, Golf and Focus »

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