I was coming from an older - but still sporty - coupe ('97 acura integra gsr). I was really looking for something fuel efficient but with 4 doors, so I was mainly considering other cars in the compact...
I was coming from an older - but still sporty - coupe ('97 acura integra gsr). I was really looking for something fuel efficient but with 4 doors, so I was mainly considering other cars in the compact sedan segment. I considered Mazda 3, Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, and the Jetta. Hybrids did not have enough power for me (I'm heavy footed), so I did not consider them, but I knew I didn't need something super powerful.
The Mazda3 felt much like my parents' Kias - cheap. Go open and close the door on one of those - It feels like tin foil and plastic. That was all I needed to see to cross that one off my list. The Corolla was nice - but nothing special and I didn't particularly care for the interior styling. This narrowed my choices down to the Civic and the Jetta.
The Civic sedan seemed like a good, solid car. It felt well put together, and rode decent. Not a lot of power, but certainly sufficient. I was looking at the EX-L sedan w/ Nav (top of the line for the civics). The navigation seemed to be from the stone age, and the voice commands were a joke. However, I knew the civic would be a reliable car (My Acura had 180k miles and was still very reliable... just a bit outdated for me).
Then I drove the Jetta TDI. I was mainly considering this vehicle due to the fuel economy (rated at 30/42 but ask any other TDI owners and they'll tell you its actually much higher). As soon as I pulled out of the parking lot, I was in love. The 0-60 specs might not seem so great on paper, but man this car is fun to drive! If you are considering a Jetta, drive the TDI! I opted for the nav package, which included navigation (obviously), fog lights, and the push button start. The navigation is light years ahead of those in at the Mazda3 and Honda Civic (I didn't test the Corolla's), and the Jettas bluetooth works exceptionally!. The push button start means I never have to fish the keys out of my pocket (actually very convenient). Are there cars on the market with more features? sure. but I felt the Jetta TDI was the best run for my money.
I compared insurance quotes before making my purchase - and state farm offered me a 20% safety discount for the Jetta. This put my monthly premium lower than the Civic's (and being 22, low insurance makes a big difference).
Additionally, the updated exterior appearance give it a totally different look - not girly anymore (I always thought Jettas were too girly for me - but now I own one). The interior is very nice, although I'm worried my cornsilk beige will get dirty. My 6' friends sit comfortably in the back seat, even with my seat all the way back. and the trunk is HUGE.
I cannot comment on the reliability because I have only owned mine for 1 week now.
If you are worried about vw's "downgrading" for the 2011 year - don't. It is something you would only notice coming from a 2009 or 2010 (and even then, maybe not). The car handles well, despite the torsion beam rear suspension. Road noise doesn't seem to be a problem. The base gasser model is the only model that was downgraded to rear drum brakes i believe.
I would recommend to anyone on the market for a new car with the capacity of a mid size sedan, the fuel economy of a hybrid, and the interior and performance of a luxury sedan to consider this years Jetta - especially the TDI. You'll know just what I mean once you take your test drive