2012 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan Review

The Car Connection Expert Rating Breakdown?

on a scale of 1 to 10
Expert Rating
Expert Rating
Comfort & Quality
Expert Rating
Expert Rating
Expert Rating
Fuel Economy
Expert Rating
Consumer Reviews
1 Review
The Car Connection
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
September 9, 2011

The 2012 VW Jetta delivers a better driving feel and more back-seat room than many other compact sedans; skip the cost-cutter base versions in favor of the TDI or the GLI for a distinctive choice in the compact class.

The 2012 Volkswagen Jetta hits showrooms for the new model year with a big victory notched into its serpentine belt. Critics said the move away from independent suspensions, high-dollar interiors and premium pricing would cost it customers--but VW's beat that bet, and the Jetta's selling better than it has in a decade.

It's no stroke of luck, though. Careful planning and marketing have given shoppers a Volkswagen choice in the cheap-compact class for the first time in a long time, and in a grim economy, that means more people considering the brand. Budget shoppers care less that the Jetta’s rear suspension is an older, cheaper design that’s not fully independent, or that the cabin wears harder plastic than it has in the past. They look past the sluggish base four-cylinder and see the Jetta's much roomier back seat, essentially a body custom-tailored for American buyers, and features like a Fender sound system and Bluetooth to meet their more basic needs.

This year, VW's taken some steps to cater more toward the other VW buyers, the ones more obsessed with handling and heritage. The new GLI model's an instant favorite, with its turbocharged four-cylinder engine, its soft-touch dash and its different, independent rear suspension. We're still enthusiastic about the TDI's 42-mpg fuel economy, especially in the SportWagen, which rides on the last-gen Jetta platform and still carries a torch for old-school VW interiors (and tight back seats)--and this year it gets a sunroof and navigation package, making it a great long-distance tourer.

Review continues below

In 2015, Volkswagen admitted diesel engines in this model illegally cheated federal tests and polluted beyond allowable limits. As part of unprecedented settlements with federal and state governments, Volkswagen agreed to buyback from owners diesel-equipped models of this vehicle. To determine eligibility for all affected Volkswagen, Porsche, and Audi models, Volkswagen set up VWDieselInfo.com for owners. (Owners of affected vehicles can enter their VIN numbers to see if their cars are eligible for buyback.)

In the grander scheme, the Jetta still shines in its class, in its traditional ways. Handling still is sharper than anything in this class, with near-perfect ride quality that still eludes the Asian competition. The Jetta--even in base form--steers and brakes with a more intimate feel. Only now, six-footers can fit behind tall drivers in the Jetta's back seat, even come out ahead on leg room. It's not progress on all fronts, but with its new take on value, the Jetta pitches itself squarely into a class of cars where its soft-pedaled style and its emphasis on core engineering actually make it stand out more.

Continue Reading

The Car Connection Consumer Review

1 Review
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
Rate and Review your car for The Car Connection! Tell us your own ratings for a vehicle you own. Rate your car on Performance, Safety, Features and more.
Write a Review
February 21, 2016
2012 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan 4-Door Automatic SE w/Convenience & Sunroof

Excellent mileage both city and highway, and that is with the 2.5 gas engine. Very comfortable and lots of trunk room.

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
I have the Jetta Sportline 2,5 gas. Excellent gas mileage. As long as you look after and maintain the car, I have found it well worth the money.
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Compare the 2012 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan against the competition
Compare All Cars
Looking for a different year of the Volkswagen Jetta Sedan?
Read reviews & get prices
Related Used Listings
Browse used listings in your area