The Volkswagen Jetta has always offered a sturdy chassis, tasteful interior materials and enough sport to make the package lively around town. The 2012 Jetta offers a longer wheelbase and more rear seat room than VW's compact hatchback. Standard features are generous and options include a premium Fender audio system with a touchscreen interface. The Jetta's spacious interior, standard features, comfortable ride and optional fuel-efficient diesel engine make it competitive.
The 2012 Volkswagen Jetta is a midsize sedan available in Base, S, SE, SEL and TDI trim levels. The Jetta Base and S come with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual transmission. A six-speed automatic is optional. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 23 mpg city/29 mpg highway and 25 combined with the automatic and 24/34/28 with the manual. The Jetta SE and SEL get a 2.5-liter inline-5 engine with the same transmission choices. The Jetta TDI features a turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel inline-4 engine. The six-speed manual is standard and Volkswagen's six-speed dual-clutch automated manual gearbox is optional.
The 2012 VW Jetta comes standard with traction and stability control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. All Jettas have antilock brakes with brake assist. In government crash tests, the Jetta earned an overall score of four stars (out of a possible five). Within that rating, it earned four stars for overall front crash protection and five stars for overall side-impact protection.
The 2012 Volkswagen Jetta is spacious enough for a full-size adult to sit comfortably in back with room to spare. The available touchscreen stereo interface and its redundant dial knob is ideal for controlling an iPod.