2011 Volkswagen Jetta Trendline+
2011 Volkswagen Jetta 2.0L Trendline+. Click image to enlarge
Related articles on Autos
First Drive: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta 2.5
First Drive: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta 2.0/TDI
Used cars: VW Jetta, 2006-2010
Buyer’s Guide: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta

Manufacturer’s web site
Volkswagen Canada

Join Autos’s Facebook group
Follow Autos on Twitter

Review and photos by Greg Wilson

Photo Gallery:
2011 Volkswagen Jetta

The differences between the all-new Volkswagen Jetta and its predecessor could be summed up in four words: price, positioning, platform and personality. With a starting price of $15,875 for the base model, the 2011 Jetta 2.0L Trendline undercuts last year’s base Jetta 2.5 Trendline by $6,300 thanks to its smaller and less powerful 115-hp 2.0-litre base engine and fewer standard features. The lower pricing also changes the Jetta’s market positioning dramatically, allowing it to compete directly with popular sub $20,000 compacts like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. And with an all-new unit body platform that’s now different from the Golf’s, the new Jetta has distinct ride and handling characteristics, more interior room, and an independent Jetta “personality.”

The key to the 2011 Jetta’s lower base price is its venerable 2.0-litre SOHC 8-valve iron block four-cylinder motor, an engine that’s been around for decades. With only 115 horsepower and fuel economy numbers of 9.1 city/6.0 highway (L/100 km, manual transmission), the 2.0-litre engine is the least powerful and the least fuel-efficient engine in its class. The question is, will entry-level Jetta buyers care if it takes an extra second or two to get to 100 km/h? Or worry if the Jetta uses an extra litre of gas every 100 kilometres? Volkswagen appears to be betting that they won’t.

2011 Volkswagen Jetta Trendline+
2011 Volkswagen Jetta 2.0L Trendline+. Click image to enlarge

Just to be clear, the 2011 Jetta is also available with the same 170-hp 2.5-litre five-cylinder gas engine as last year, starting at $21,175 (Comfortline), $23,300 (Sportline), and $23,980 (Highline). As well, the 140-hp 2.0-litre TDI (turbocharged direct injection) diesel engine is available in the Jetta TDI for $23,875 (Comfortline) and $26,655 (Highline). The 200-hp turbocharged 2.0-litre gas engine will be available in the upcoming GLI model.

For its base price of $15,875, the Jetta 2.0L Trendline includes a surprising amount of standard stuff: the 115-hp 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, five-speed manual transmission, “Titan Black Tardeol Cloth” seat fabric, height adjustable driver and front passenger seats, split folding rear seatbacks, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, power windows, power door locks, AM/FM/CD radio with four speakers, variable intermittent wipers, two 12-volt powerpoints and auxiliary input, 15-inch all-season tires and steel wheels, anti-lock brakes, stability control, five adjustable head restraints, and six airbags. Available options include the six-speed automatic transmission ($1,400), front fog lights and engine block heater ($300), and a Cold Weather Package with heated front seats and heated windshield washer nozzles ($275).

2011 Volkswagen Jetta Trendline+
2011 Volkswagen Jetta Trendline+
2011 Volkswagen Jetta 2.0L Trendline+. Click image to enlarge

The Jetta Trendline+ ($17,275), like this week’s test car, adds air conditioning and remote door unlocking. Our test car also included the optional six-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic manual mode ($1,400) and the Cold Weather Package ($275) for a total of $18,950. With an additional Freight charge of $1,364 and a/c tax of $100, the total as-tested price came to $20,415 (not including taxes).

The Jetta 2.0L’s top trim level, Comfortline ($19,075), adds 15-inch alloy wheels, upgraded cloth seats, cruise control, power heated mirrors, alarm, front centre armrest with storage, rear centre armrest with cupholders and trunk pass-through, heated front seats and washer nozzles, two more speakers, floor mats, and illuminated vanity mirrors.

A power sunroof ($1,400) and Bluetooth and iPod connectivity package ($675) are optional in the Jetta Comfortline but unfortunately, not in Trendline and Trendline+ models. And while Jetta Trendline and Trendline+ models are available in six different exterior paint colours – grey metallic, white gold metallic, silver metallic, black, white and blue metallic – the only interior colour available is black. Top-of-the-line Comfortline models, however, are also available in a “Cornsilk Beige/Sienna Cloth” interior colour scheme.

Connect with Autos.ca