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In order to bring you the most useful review information covering the 2010 Volkswagen Jetta, TheCarConnection.com's editors have gathered excerpts from other reputable resources in a full review, then compared and contrasted them with their own firsthand driving impressions, authoring a Bottom Line take that sums it all up. This review also covers the new TDI Jetta, with its economical clean-diesel engine, and the Sportwagen body style.
- Spacious, high-quality interior
- Excellent dual-clutch automatic transmission (TDI)
- Fuel economy (TDI)
- Handling (GLI, especially)
- Low-mpg five-cylinder engine
- Conservative styling
- Fewer options for 2009
Volkswagen's compact sedans and wagons are called the Jetta and Jetta SportWagen, respectively, and carry over to 2010 with just a few new features and interior revisions, prior to being completely redesigned for 2011.
The 2010 Volkswagen Jetta doesn’t stand out from the pack, as it once did, for styling alone—it’s pleasant, inside and out, but by no means bold. At nearly 180 inches long, the Jetta is almost a mid-size sedan now. The roomy interior has a handsome, upscale look, with better materials in general than you'd find in an entry sedan, though the layout appears quite conservative, upright, and businesslike. To put it bluntly, the new Jetta more closely resembles a large Toyota Corolla than its own crisply European ancestors.
Last year Volkswagen reintroduced its TDI clean-diesel engine to the Jetta lineup—this time, it makes 140 horsepower and is 50-state emissions-legal. With fuel economy ratings of 30 mpg in the city and 41 on the highway, the Jetta TDI and SportWagen TDI models might make more economic sense than the gasoline versions if you plan to do a lot of driving over many years of ownership—further sweetened, potentially, by a $1,300 federal tax credit that still might apply. The TDI engine is TheCarConnection.com's clear pick of the three engines offered. At the top of the range (though priced lower than the TDI) is the Wolfsburg (formerly GLI), which brings a 200-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine; it's strong and torquey and more fuel-efficient in real-world driving than its 21/31 EPA ratings suggest. Each version can be matched with a manual or automatic, and both the TDI and the 2.0T engine are served well by the excellent dual-clutch automatic transmission. The only other option is the base 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder engine. The five makes 170 horsepower and a robust 177 pound-feet of torque—and it functions very well with the optional six-speed automatic (unfortunately no dual-clutch here), but it's one of the thirstiest engines in a base compact sedan, achieving just 22/30 mpg or 23/30 mpg in the EPA figures.