The new-and-much-improved Honda Civic gets most of the attention these days, but what about the 2022 Volkswagen Jetta? Although the Jetta doesn’t do much to inspire from the driver’s seat, à la the Civic, it does offer many things that buyers in this segment are looking for.
Most importantly, the Jetta is comfortable. VW’s small sedan has ample passenger space and among the best ride quality in the class. The technology is solid, too, and if you opt for the top-end SEL model tested here, you’ll find a suite of active safety equipment to go with it. Much as it always has, the Jetta makes an attractive alternative to the conventional choice.
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|Quick Stats||2022 Volkswagen Jetta SEL|
|Engine:||Turbocharged 1.5-Liter I4|
|Output:||158 Horsepower / 184 Pound-Feet|
|0-60 MPH:||7.7 Seconds|
|Trim Base Price:||$20,665 + $1,095 Destination|
Gallery: 2022 Volkswagen Jetta Review
- Exterior Color: Kings Red Metallic
- Interior Color: Titan Black
- Wheel Size: 17 Inches
Clean and inoffensive are the two highest compliments you can pay the 2022 Volkswagen Jetta, but the styling borders on bland. The Kings Red metallic paint is at least a nice $395 contrast to the normal grays and blacks, while the SEL’s optional 17-inch wheels (a $1,749 accessory option) offer some semblance of sportiness. The interior is just as basic with an unimpressive design that’s littered with black leather upholstery (for the SEL only) and a mix of soft and hard black plastic. There are a few faux aluminum trim pieces that try and offset the monotony of it all, but they’re few and far between.
save over $3,400 on average off MSRP* on a new Volkswagen Jetta
- Seating Capacity: 5
- Seating Configuration: 2 / 3
- Cargo Capacity: 14.1 Cubic Feet
The Jetta is a pleasant drive partner. It has a smooth ride, delivers excellent sound deadening, and it will keep you and your passengers comfortable over long distances thanks to its well-contoured seats. Both rows on this SEL model are heated, too, as is the steering wheel, and the front seats offer ventilation – something you won’t find on the Civic. And while not class-leading in any respect, the Jetta is also one of the roomier options in the class.
- Center Display: 8.0-Inch Touchscreen
- Instrument Cluster Display: 10.3 Inches
- Wireless Apple CarPlay / Android Auto: Yes/Yes
Every Jetta comes with a standard 6.5-inch touchscreen, but the SEL features a larger 8.0-inch screen that has excellent touch response and crisp graphics. Navigation and satellite radio are standard here alongside wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity (exclusive to the SEL trim). Joining that 8.0-inch touchscreen is a lovely 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster that’s relatively configurable and displays different graphics and colors depending on the drive mode.
- Engine: Turbocharged 1.5-Liter I4
- Output: 158 Horsepower / 184 Pound-Feet
- Transmission: Eight-Speed Automatic
The Jetta uses a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that sends 158 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque exclusively to the front wheels. The Jetta certainly isn’t speedy, but its eight-speed automatic transmission is a refreshing contrast to the ever-common CVT; it shifts with a crisp decisiveness. Fans of corners will have more luck with the sporty GLI as the standard Jetta’s suspension is floaty and too soft for any sort of spirited driving, and the brakes can be grabby, even at low speeds.
- Driver Assistance Level: SAE Level 2 (Hands-On)
- NHTSA Rating: Five Stars
- IIHS Rating: Not Top Safety Pick
Adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking are not standard across the board. But the upper SE and SEL models have them both, as well as what Volkswagen calls Lane Assist and Travel Assist; basically, active lane centering and cruise control with braking and acceleration. All of these features work on the highway as you’d expect, with limited ping-ponging in the lane and smooth acceleration and braking inputs.
- City: 29 MPG
- Highway: 40 MPG
- Combined: 33 MPG
|2022 Volkswagen Jetta||29 MPG||40 MPG||33 MPG|
|2023 Honda Civic 1.5L||33 MPG||42 MPG||36 MPG|
|2023 Hyundai Elantra 2.0L||33 MPG||43 MPG||37 MPG|
|2022 Mazda3 2.0L||28 MPG||36 MPG||31 MPG|
|2023 Toyota Corolla 2.0L||32 MPG||41 MPG||35 MPG|
- Base Price: $20,665 + $1,095
- Trim Base Price: $29,480
- As-Tested Price: $31,264
A base Jetta S will cost you $21,760 with the $1,095 destination fee included, but the top-end SEL is $29,480, which makes it a pricier proposition for the class. Adding the $395 paint and the $1,749 wheels brings the final asking price to $31,264 for this tester. The good news is that, beyond a few aesthetic upgrades, all of the advanced safety and technology features come standard on the Jetta SEL.
|Pricing:||Base Price + Destination:||Competitive Spec:|
|Volkswagen Jetta SEL||$20,665 + $1,095||$31,264|
|Honda Civic Touring||$24,650 + $1,095||$32,848|
|Hyundai Elantra Limited||$20,500 + $1,045||$27,795|
|Mazda3 S Premium||$22,550 + $1,065||$35,755|
|Toyota Corolla XSE||$21,550 + $1,010||$29,810|
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