New for 2016
The Jetta gets a number of new features for 2016, including a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine in base models, and Volkswagen’s upgraded MIB II infotainment system.
A Competent Compact
Volkswagen’s Golf hatchback gets most of the attention in most parts of the world, but U.S. consumers have always preferred sedans. That’s where the Jetta comes in. It offers the same German engineering, tidy design, and ergonomic interior as other Volkswagen models, but with a four-door sedan body.
Powertrains and Performance
A major change for 2016 comes under the hood. The Jetta now comes standard with a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which replaces a naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter four. Codenamed EA211, the new engine produces 150 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. It drives the front wheels through either a five-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic.
Part of the reason for downsizing was to improve fuel economy, and sure enough the EA211 gets an EPA-rated 33 mpg combined (28 mpg city, 40 mpg highway) with the manual transmission,* and 32 mpg combined (28 mpg city, 39 mpg highway) with the automatic.*
Higher-level Jetta models continue with the EA888 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder already used in several Volkswagen models. This engine produces 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, and is also available with a five-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic. EPA-rated fuel economy is 29 mpg combined (25 mpg city, 37 mpg highway) with the manual,* and 29 mpg combined (25 mpg city, 36 mpg highway) with the automatic.*
Unlike every other car in its class, the Jetta is also available as a hybrid. Its powertrain combines a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, an electric motor, and a 1.1-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. Total system output is 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, while fuel economy is an impressive 44 mpg combined (42 mpg city, 48 mpg highway.*
Features and Trims
The 2016 Volkswagen Jetta is a four-door, five-seat compact sedan. It’s available in five trim levels, priced starting from $17,680.**
Standard equipment on the base Jetta S includes a multifunction steering wheel, MIB II infotainment system with 5.0-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth®, power windows, cruise control, air conditioning, and power heated exterior mirrors. An available technology package adds an upgraded infotainment system with 6.3-inch touchscreen, VW Car-Net® App-Connect, and SiriusXM® satellite radio.
Upgrading to the Jetta SE nets all of the standard equipment from the Jetta S, plus 16-inch alloy wheels, pushbutton start, heated front seats and washer nozzles, and an adjustable front armrest with storage. A Connectivity package adds body-color exterior mirrors with turn signals, V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces, front reading lights, rear-seat pass through and armrest, driver’s seat lumbar adjustment, leather-wrapped steering wheel and handbrake, sunroof, and VW Car-Net® connected vehicle services.
The Jetta Sport is a limited-edition model that includes the same equipment as the Jetta SE, plus a few extras. The list includes two-tone heated front seats, fog lights, carpeted floor mats, 17-inch alloy wheels, navigation, contrast stitching on interior trim, and a rear spoiler.
The penultimate Jetta model is the SEL, which builds on the SE with Connectivity. Like the Sport, the SEL gets 17-inch alloy wheels and fog lights, as well as keyless access with pushbutton start, a soft-touch dashboard, upgraded instrument cluster, and a suite of electronic driver aids.
Finally, the Jetta SEL Premium includes all of the applicable standard features from the preceding models, and adds two-tone sport seats, Fender premium audio system, Homelink, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a cooled glove box.
The Jetta continues to feature a clean exterior with crisp lines and a lack of extraneous details. Like the sedans from VW’s Audi luxury brand, the Jetta is restrained yet handsome. To help improve aerodynamics, 1.8-liter models get an active grille shutter, and all 2016 models have a new trunk lid with integrated spoiler.
The interior is also well thought out. The gauges are framed in chrome and have a “tunnel” design, and an available soft-touch dashboard and contrast stitching for an upscale touch. The Jetta cabin is also fairly roomy for a compact, with 38.1 inches of rear legroom and 37.1 inches of rear headroom. Trunk space is a useful 15.5 cubic feet.
For 2016, the Jetta also gets a technology upgrade. Volkswagen added its latest MIB II infotainment system, with increased responsiveness and a greater range of capabilities than the old systems. Also available is the VW Car-Net® system with App-Connect app suite and connected-car telematics services.
Standard safety equipment on the 2016 Volkswagen Jetta includes anti-lock brakes, stability and traction controls, Volkswagen’s Automatic Post-Collision Braking System and Intelligent Crash Response System, and a full array of airbags. Optional features include adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and blind spot monitor with rear traffic alert.
The 2016 Volkswagen Jetta is a smartly engineered and styled compact sedan.
*EPA estimates. Your mileage will vary and depends on several factors including your driving habits and vehicle condition.
**Starting MSRP of $17,680 for a 2016 Volkswagen Jetta S 1.4L with 5-speed manual transmission. Prices exclude transportation, taxes, title, other options and dealer charges. Dealer sets actual price.