AND THE NAME IS: JETTA!
After months of talking about Volkswagen's NCS (New Compact Sedan), the car that would replace the Jetta was revealed today, and it is: The new Jetta. Happily, Volkswagen is nowhere near foolish enough to throw away a nameplate that has tremendous recognition, having been in constant use for three decades. Instead of a new name, the most surprising thing about the 2011 Jetta (the A6, to the cognoscenti), is how much larger it is, its new base engine, and its lower price.
Moving away from the soft-form styling of the previous car, the new Jetta adopts the taut, crisp form language we'll seen on the new Golf and the Scirocco. Designed under the direction of Klaus Bischoff (head of design for the Volkswagen brand) and Walter de Silva (design chief for the entire Volkswagen Group), the A6 Jetta is 3.4 inches longer, 0.3 inch lower, and the same 70.1 inches wide. Volkwagen claims the extra length results in a 2.6-inch increase in rear-seat legroom.
ONE NEW ENGINE
The three current Jetta engines return, but a new 2.0-liter, 150-hp normally aspirated four-cylinder is found under the hood of 2011 Jetta S and SE models. Fuel economy estimates for the new four-cylinder are not yet available, but they are expected to beat the five-cylinder, which returns for duty in the SE. Both the four and the five will offer a choice of a manual or an automatic.
THE SPORTY AND THE FRUGAL
The Jetta TDI uses the familiar 2.0-liter turbo diesel engine with 236 lb-ft of torque, while the GLT also will reprise its 2.0-liter, 200-hp turbocharged gasoline engine. Both the TDI and the GLI will offer a choice of a manual or a six-speed DSG automatic.
WHEN AND HOW MUCH
With sales of the new Jetta not due to start until October, Volkswagen isn't ready to reveal full pricing. But the company did say that the starting price will be "around $16,000," which sounds to us like at least $1000 less than the current $17,735 for today's Jetta S (although you get a less-powerful four-cylinder engine rather than the five). The TDI arrives a bit later, in early 2011. The GLI is later still, not making its showroom appearance until next May. Meanwhile, the Jetta SportWagen, coming off a recent facelift, continues on unchanged.