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2016 Volkswagen Jetta Review

The 2016 Volkswagen Jetta has a smooth ride, three turbocharged engine options, brisk acceleration, and a roomy cabin with high-end materials. However, due to the very competitive nature of the compact car segment, it sits in the bottom third of the class.

Pros & Cons

  • Peppy engine lineup
  • Roomy rear seats and trunk
  • Smooth ride
  • Less nimble than some rivals
  • Competitors have nicer cabins

New for 2016

  • New turbocharged base engine 
  • New driver assistance and infotainment options
  • Touch screen and USB made standard
  • Revised exterior styling for GLI trim




Critics' Rating: 7.9
Performance: 8.0
Interior: 8.1
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.0
Safety: 9.3
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 Volkswagen Jetta Overview

Is the 2016 Volkswagen Jetta a Good Used Car?

If you're looking for an affordable, safe sedan that gets better fuel economy than most compact cars, the Jetta is a good pick for you. Its interior is more spacious than some midsize cars. It also offers heaps of amenities. If you’re looking for cutting-edge interior design, however, look elsewhere.

Why You Can Trust Us

We do not base our used car rankings and reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we collect information like safety and reliability reports, total cost of ownership estimates, and the views of the automotive press. We analyzed 63 professional evaluations for this 2016 Volkswagen Jetta review to help you make an informed buying decision.

Our experienced team of writers, editors, and analysts has been ranking and reviewing the best cars, trucks, crossovers, and SUVs since 2007. We remain unbiased by refusing pricey gifts and trips from auto manufacturers and employing an independent agency to manage the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2016 Volkswagen Jetta?

Based on the more than 1,150 listings for this vehicle on our site, you can expect to pay between $10,000 and $20,000 for a used 2016 Volkswagen Jetta. The average list price is $13,900. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

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How Much Does the 2016 Volkswagen Jetta Cost to Own?

Estimated five-year costs for gas, insurance, maintenance, and repairs for the 2016 Jetta are about $23,500. That’s more than average for a compact car. Five-year costs for the 2016 Civic, for example, are about $19,900. The 2016 Soul’s expenses come out to about $19,400.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Jetta?

The 2016 Jetta is similar to the 2018 Jetta – except in price. The 2018 model is around $4,700 more than the used Jetta. For that additional money, all you gain is a standard rearview camera and a 72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty that replaces the previous three-year, 36,000-mile limited warranty. Unless these are must-have add-ons for you, you’re better off saving your money and sticking with the 2016 model.

Read about the new Volkswagen Jetta »

If you’re still interested in buying a new car instead of a used Jetta, note that it’ll be tough to find an alternative for a similar price. Your only real option is the 2018 Kia Rio. Its base model starts at the same price as the used Jetta’s average price ($13,900). However, you’ll sacrifice the Jetta’s spacious trunk and passenger cabin, as well as some horsepower. Stick with the used Jetta.

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How Reliable Is the 2016 Volkswagen Jetta?

The 2016 Jetta has a reliability score of three out of five from J.D. Power. That’s average for the industry as a whole. Competitors like the 2016 Buick Verano, 2016 Kia Soul, and 2016 Scion tC have higher reliability scores.

Read more about Jetta reliability »

2016 Volkswagen Jetta Recalls

As of this writing, the 2016 Volkswagen Jetta has two recalls. First, the fuel rail may detach and leak. Second, there could be a loss of brake assist if a critical part shears off. Make sure these issues are addressed before buying a used Jetta.

See more information on Volkswagen Jetta safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the Volkswagen Jetta Is Best?

The 2016 model year is part of a generation that launched in 2011. While you may be able to save some money on a 2013 Jetta or 2014 Jetta, you’ll miss out on a few notable updates. The Jetta received a major styling refresh for 2015. VW also offered advanced driver assistance features like forward collision warning and blind spot monitoring for the first time that year. The 2017 Jetta introduced a standard rearview camera, but the model will cost you about a thousand dollars more than the 2016 Jetta on average. The 2016 model is the better choice.

Compare the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Jetta »

Which Used Volkswagen Jetta Model Is Right for Me?

The 2016 Jetta comes in four models (1.4T, 1.8T, Hybrid, and GLI) and five trims (S, SE, SEL, SEL Premium, and Sport). Each of the four models features a different engine, so much of selecting your ideal sedan starts with deciding what level of power and fuel economy you want.

The 1.4T SE is one of the best values. It includes goodies like heated front seats, a rearview camera, an infotainment system with a 6.3-inch touch screen, and push-button start. Spirited drivers will find the GLI appealing. This high-performance edition has more aggressive styling, a sport suspension, and a turbocharged 210-horsepower engine. Interestingly, a used GLI costs about the same as a used Volkswagen GTI, despite the GLI’s much higher price when both were new. The GLI has a similar level of performance but a nicer interior.

See 2016 Volkswagen Jetta trims and specs »

What Does Volkswagen's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Volkswagen offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles seven years old or less and with fewer than 75,000 miles. You receive the balance of the new-car warranty when you purchase a CPO model, and depending on your car’s model year, you get a limited comprehensive warranty that takes effect once the new-car warranty has expired. For 2018 and newer VWs, the limited comprehensive warranty is good for one year or 12,000 miles. The length of the warranty increases to two years or 24,000 miles for 2017-and-older gas, hybrid, and electric vehicles. Finally, 2016 and older TDI vehicles get a two-year/unlimited miles warranty.

VW CPO vehicles must pass a 100-plus-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing, a Carfax vehicle history report, a three-month SiriusXM All-Access satellite radio trial subscription, and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Volkswagen warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Volkswagen’s CPO program is the least robust of all auto manufacturers.

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How Safe Is the Jetta?

The 2016 Jetta received mostly Good crash test scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, as well as a Top Safety Pick+ designation. It also earned a perfect five-star rating for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s side crash test, and four stars for the frontal and rear crash tests. However, a lack of safety equipment causes this VW to come up short in comparison to numerous rivals. For example, about half of all small cars have a standard rearview camera, but you’ll only get one in the Jetta’s 1.4T S w/ Technology trim level and above. An active safety equipment package (which adds adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, and rear traffic alert) is only available in the 1.8T SEL trim.

See Jetta safety scores »

2016 Volkswagen Jetta Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Volkswagen Jetta or 2016 Honda Civic?

The 2016 Honda Civic is the clear choice over the Jetta. Honda upgraded the Civic’s interior during its 2016 redesign, adding plenty of soft-touch materials throughout the cabin. A rearview camera, Bluetooth, and automatic climate control are all standard. The Civic won our 2016 Best Compact Car for the Money award and had first-rate scores for safety. It also has excellent fuel economy ratings.

Which Is Better: 2016 Volkswagen Jetta or 2016 Mazda3?

The 2016 Mazda3 is one of the most thrilling performers in the compact car class, with sporty handling and sharp steering to help you make the most of curvy back roads. It also has a polished interior with comfortable seats and top-notch materials. All that combined with its lower total ownership costs makes the Mazda3 a better choice than the Jetta.

Which Is Better: 2016 Volkswagen Jetta or 2016 Volkswagen Golf?

The hatchback-style 2016 Volkswagen Golf is fun to drive. Its base engine is quicker off the line than the Jetta's, and it has agile, responsive handling. The Golf's interior design and materials are swankier, but you'll have more passenger space.

Compare the Jetta, Civic, and Mazda3 »

2016 Jetta Performance

How Does the 2016 Volkswagen Jetta Drive?

The base Jetta's turbocharged 150-horsepower four-cylinder engine should provide satisfactory power. It delivers energetic acceleration, so you'll be able to dodge your way through city traffic and easily merge onto the highway. A more powerful turbocharged 180-horsepower four-cylinder engine is available in higher trims, and it generates greater muscle without a significant reduction in fuel economy. The Jetta is also available in a high-performance GLI trim, which comes with a turbocharged 210-horsepower four-cylinder engine.

A five-speed manual transmission is standard. Either a six-speed automatic or seven-speed DSG automatic transmission are available, depending on the engine choice. The GLI has a standard six-speed manual transmission.

Does the 2016 Volkswagen Jetta Get Good Gas Mileage?

With the 210-horsepower turbocharged engine, the Jetta gets 23 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. Jettas equipped with the base engine and a manual transmission earn 28/40 mpg city/highway, which is good for the class. The Jetta Hybrid has a fuel economy rating of 42/48 mpg city/highway.

Read more about Jetta performance »

2016 Jetta Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 Jetta Seat?

The Jetta is a great compact car with room for five. The comfortable and supportive front seats help reduce driver fatigue, and your friends in the back will enjoy some of the most spacious rear seats in the compact car class. The Jetta can be equipped with heated front seats, which is especially helpful if you live in a colder part of the country.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Volkswagen Jetta?

The Sentra has two complete sets of LATCH child-seat connectors in the outboard rear seats and a middle-seat tether anchor. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Jetta’s setup the second-lowest rating of Marginal, noting its anchors are buried too deep in the seats and the angle of the anchors makes them hard to reach with the LATCH hook.

2016 Volkswagen Jetta Features

You can stream music from your smartphone through the Jetta's standard infotainment system via Bluetooth, and you can answer calls without taking your hands off the wheel. If you opt for the available upgraded infotainment system, you'll get access to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to fully integrate your smartphone's features with the car. Both infotainment systems are straightforward – especially the upgraded system, which makes connecting your phone a quick and painless task. Satellite radio and a premium Fender audio system are also available.

Instead of fighting with your passenger over climate settings, buy a model with dual-zone automatic climate control so you can each set the temperature to your preferred level. The Jetta's physical controls on the dashboard, including those used for adjusting climate settings, are easy to reach and use.

See 2016 Volkswagen Jetta specs »

Read more about Jetta interior »

2016 Volkswagen Jetta Dimensions

Volkswagen Jetta Cargo Space

The Jetta's trunk offers 15.5 cubic feet of room. That’s more than most compact – and even some midsize – rivals offer, so you'll have plenty of room for luggage or shopping bags. The trunk has a wide opening, so it's easy to load.

2016 Jetta Length and Weight

The 2016 Jetta measures 15.2 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 2,939 to 3,194 pounds. Its gross vehicle weight rating ranges from 4,101 to 4,387 pounds.

Where Was the 2016 Volkswagen Jetta Built?

The 2016 Volkswagen Jetta was built in Mexico.

Is the Volkswagen Jetta Affected by the VW Diesel Scandal?

The 2016 Volkswagen Jetta was not affected by the VW Diesel Scandal, according to the EPA. Jetta models from 2009 to 2015 were affected.


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