My colleagues have listed several of the Jetta’s shortcomings, but I find it a fairly pleasant car to drive. The 2.5-liter engine is sufficiently powerful, the handling is acceptable, the fuel efficiency is okay. It’s nothing to write home about, but a decent little car. On the plus side, it is now a little roomier, with more space in the back seat and a pretty good size trunk. The black interior on this test model didn’t show itself at its best, but the layout of the controls is all very clean and clear, and the materials, while not Audi-level, are not bad. I’d definitely avoid the base-level engine, but the 2.5-liter unit in the SEL can also be found in the $18,000 SE, which makes it seem like a much better deal. Styling-wise, the Jetta is pretty anonymous -- VW can talk about its “dynamic and muscular” styling all they want, but really, to me it looks like just another sedan.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor