VW Jetta (2011) first official pictures

Published: 15 June 2010 Updated: 26 January 2015

This is the new, US-spec Volkswagen Jetta, and it’s part of VW’s plans to triple its annual sales in America to 800,000 units by 2018. And to help its cause, the VW Jetta no longer shares any body panels with the Golf, so the bold claim being made is that this new model is ‘just as independent as a CC or a Tiguan’.

But this new VW Jetta still looks like a Golf, both inside and out.

There are indeed strong family ties, and underneath the new Jetta is ultimately a Mk6 Golf. However, the platform has been stretched (the wheelbase is 7cm longer than before and the whole car has grown by 9cm overall) and it doesn’t use the full all-singing/all-dancing multi-link rear of the current Euro-spec car. Conversely, when this Jetta does make it to Europe in 2011, it will feature a multi-link rear, along with other more minor changes like clear indicators and smaller cup holders.

On the outside the new Jetta draws inspiration from the NCC concept unveiled in Detroit at the start of 2010, so it’s out with the rounded and chrome-trimmed nose, and in with a much sharper and sleeker snout.

The press release is fairly gushing, claiming the ‘quality of workmanship is pioneering’ and that the ‘new Jetta is taking on the automotive challenges of our times’. Cut the crap and you’ll discover a typically good VW interior, and some hi-tech engines, though nothing life changing. 

In the USA and Canada the new Jetta will be offered with four engines – three petrol and one diesel. The latter is a turbocharged, common-rail, direct-injection 2.0 TDI with 138bhp and 236bhp, complete with a particulate filter and NOx catalytic converter to meet all of America’s stringent emissions regulations. The petrol engines range from 114bhp to a 2.0T with 197bhp.

In Europe all the engines will be turbocharged: there’s six in all, with a choice of four petrols – 1.2 TSI (103bhp), a 1.4 TSI (121 or 158bhp), a 2.0 TSI (197bhp) – and two diesels, a 1.6 TDI (103bhp) and 2.0 TDI (138bhp). Both the 1.2 TSI and 1.6 TDI come in Bluemotion Technology guise, with stop-start and an intelligent alternator, so the former achieves 53.3mpg and 123g/km, while the latter manages 68.9mpg and 109g/km.

Base-spec US models will start at just under $16k, while UK cars should cost from £17k when sales start in 2011.

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By Ben Pulman

Ex-CAR editor-at-large