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2011 Volkswagen Jetta: Live Photos

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We're just back from our first drive of the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta. And before we get to the full review--how it handles, how it looks, how it feels and fulfills its mission--we have some eye candy for you.

Shooting the Jetta wasn't so simple today. Leaving San Francisco in a grey shroud, I couldn't find much sunshine on the route that looped over the Golden Gate Bridge, west through Stinson Beach to Highway 1, then back through the Russian River area back to the 101 and to the city. On top of the weather, throw in lots of summer vacationers in minivans and dozens of cyclists getting their fair share of the road, and roadside Tweeting on our Jetta Live Drive page.

Still, the Jetta revealed its photogenic side, and it's clear how VW design chief Walter d'Silva has given the car new shoulders. The front end's more crisply pressed, and the sculpturing down the side flanks gives it more presence than the last-generation Jetta--which we were lucky enough to spot a few times on the highway for comparison.

Inside the functional pieces look and feel like a natural fit in the VW family--though there's certainly more hard plastic all over the cabin, across the dash cap and the entire door panel.

What's your take on the new Jetta? Is it distinct enough to grab new eyeballs, and win over buyers from the radical Honda Civic and the suave upcoming Ford Focus? Tell us in a comment below, and stay tuned for more on the Jetta, including video of its new navigation and audio systems, and our full TCC review.

 
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