2011 Volkswagen Jetta

The Volkswagen Jetta has always been one of those affordable cars you can't help but love despite its one obvious flaw. On previous models, a lack of rear seat space was that one obvious flaw, and once you're looking for flaws you find the price is a little high compared to other compact sedans. Still, in a world of Civics and Corollas, the Jetta has always stood out as a fun to drive, stylish sedan that delivers that certain something many German cars have.

Sadly, the Jetta's too-small back seat made many young families skip it in favor of more practical but arguably less fashionable and not quite as much fun compact sedans. But those concerns are no longer valid with VW's latest version of the Jetta. For 2011 the car is all new and greatly improved.

Here are AutoTrader's five reasons to buy the 2011 VW Jetta:

  1. Roomy Interior: It has to be said right up front, the Jetta's back seat now has tons of legroom, hip room and headroom. Even if the front seat passengers have their seats all the way back, the Jetta's rear seat accommodations are fine even for adults. The new Jetta is also wider and the interior overall simply has a little more elbow room.
  2. Sharp New Look: There's nothing especially fancy about the Jetta's new look but the simplicity of the design and eye-pleasing proportions have an elegance all their own. The straight, horizontal grille and slightly angled headlights give the car a mildly aggressive look. A nicely-equipped Jetta should cost about $23,000 but your friends will all think you spent $30,000.
  3. Choice of Engines: The base Jetta S comes with a 2.0 liter engine good for 115 hp. Opt for the Jetta SE or SEL and you'll get a 170 hp 2.5 liter, five cylinder gasoline engine. The Jetta TDI comes with a 140 hp clean diesel engine. A 200 hp, turbocharged Jetta GLI is on its way, too. Jetta S, SE and SEL come with a five-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic. The TDI can be had with a six-speed manual or a six-speed Direct Shift Gearbox.
  4. Nicely Equipped/Reasonable Price: The base model is priced under $17,000 and includes features like six-airbags, power windows and a split folding rear seat. The real bargain is the SEL, for roughly $23,000 the car includes items like front fog lights, 17 inch wheels, a navigation system, Bluetooth, heated front seats, six-speaker sound system and push button start. A base Jetta S is about $1,700 less expensive than the base 2010 Jetta.
  5. Fuel Economy: VW's Jetta TDI is probably the strongest argument yet against hybrids. It easily cruises to 42 mpg on the highway and suffers from none of the odd driving dynamics or funny sounds you often hear in a hybrid. The 170 hp, 2.5 liter gasoline engine does alright as well, it earns an EPA estimate of 23 mpg city / 33 highway, the smaller 2.0 liter engine improves on those numbers by one mile per gallon each.
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Brian Moody has been an automotive writer and presenter for more than 10 years. He has contributed to such media outlets as CNBC, Fox Business, the Today show, Speed TV, Edmunds.com and KTLA in Los Angeles. He currently covers the automotive industry and reviews new cars for the nationally syndicated Car Concerns radio show.

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