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2012 Volkswagen Jetta Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2012 Volkswagen Jetta was new.


Interior: 8.2

Reviewers’ main complaint about the base 2012 Jetta is that the cabin’s plastics are hard and shiny, which is uncharacteristic of Volkswagen. But reviewers understand why the interior has a cheaper feel. Volkswagen wanted to make the Jetta more affordable. Whether or not interior quality is one of your priorities, reviewers say nearly everyone will be pleased with the cabin’s good-looking design, ample passenger space and large trunk.

For more luxury, reviewers suggest upgrading to the GLI trim, which has plusher seats and is fitted with less hard plastic. This model, however, is the most expensive in the class.

  • "Behold, a soft-touch dash; convincing aluminum trim on the dash and flat-bottom, leather-wrapped wheel; bolstered seats coated in optional V-Tex leatherette; and contrast red stitching abound. It's all a massive improvement over the bargain-basement interior we've endured in our Jetta TDI long-termer, although the GLI's plastics go from high-class to low-brow as soon as your hand ventures south (perhaps to be expected considering its plebeian roots)." -- Autoblog
  • "Overall, non-GLI Jettas have a tasteful cabin, albeit one that's not as high-end as we've come to expect from the brand." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The new 2012 GLI differs from the GTI in many ways. The dashboard design is different (though certainly it was drawn with the same restrained pen) and the materials used to construct it are of a better quality than those in the disappointing Jetta." -- Edmunds


The Volkswagen Jetta has one of the roomiest interiors in the class, and test drivers say most passengers and drivers will be very comfortable inside the Jetta. There is plenty of headroom and legroom, and the Jetta’s seats are perfect for families who plan to take road trips. The back seat can fit two adults comfortably, and should be plenty roomy for three kids.

According to reviewers, the GLI model has the nicest seats in the lineup. They’re faux-leather and have a lot of bolstering, which gives them a sporty feel. Compared with the GLI, the base model is sparsely equipped. It doesn’t have heated front seats, the front seats aren’t power-adjustable and it comes with cloth upholstery.

  • "Headroom and legroom are very good, almost to the level of many midsize sedans. The seats are long-haul comfortable, but adjusting them is awkward. High-set seats contribute to fine all-around visibility." -- Consumer Guide
  • "On the upside, the new Jetta is quite roomy. It's easy to find a comfortable seating position, and a pair of full-size adults can sit in the back with room to spare." -- Edmunds
  • "The back seat feels larger than in previous Passats." -- Motor Trend

Interior Features

Aside from being made of cheap, shiny plastic, the 2012 Jetty’s interior is still relatively nice, even if it is a step down by VW standards. What saves the Jetta's interior is its stylish design and new GLI model that has the nicest, plushest interior in the pack.

The base S model has an auxiliary input jack and a four-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system. To equip your Jetta with satellite radio, Bluetooth or an iPod interface, you have to upgrade to the Convenience trim. Navigation and a Fender audio system are only available on the SEL, GLI Autobahn with sunroof, TDI Premium and TDI with navigation trims. These are expensive options, but if you choose to pay for them, reviewers say you will be pleased with the navigation system because it isn’t hard to use, and will love the Fender audio system.

  • "The climate controls are very simple to operate and easy for driver or passenger to access. ... It's pretty simple to program, thanks to the combination of a touchscreen and BMW iDrive-style rotary knob. The system absorbs some audio controls, complicating what should be simple adjustments." -- Consumer Guide
  • "We're also fans of the available touchscreen stereo interface, which features a redundant control knob ideal for controlling an iPod." -- Edmunds
  • "The GLI is equipped with a thoroughly squeezable soft-touch dashboard that feels just as luxurious as the GTI's when poked and prodded." -- Motor Trend
  • "Volkswagen is introducing its Fender Premium Audio System into the Jetta lineup for 2012. It's solid, with crisp highs and a punchy low-end. ..." -- Autoblog


At 15.5 cubic feet, the Volkswagen Jetta’s trunk is very large for the class, and competes with the trunks of some midsize sedans. Interior storage is also pretty good. Test drivers say the glove compartment is large, the door pockets offer plenty of space and the center console is deep. Their biggest disappointment is that the center armrest, which has a storage compartment, is not standard on the base model.

  • "The 15.5-cubic-foot trunk is actually bigger than the Honda Accord's." -- Edmunds
  • "A huge-for-the-class trunk and wide aperture make loading easy. Folding rear seat backs increase versatility, but they don't rest flat. Interior storage consists of a fairly spacious glovebox, roomy door pockets, and a narrow-but-deep center console. Note that the console is not offered on the base S trim level." -- Consumer Guide

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