You can order the new Jetta in one of four trims this year. Counting out the turbo GLI until we learn of an on-sale date, these models include the base S, the SE, the SEL and the TDI.
The 2011 VW Jetta S comes with a smattering of standard features above the safety stuff, the manual five-speed shifter and the 115-hp four. At $15,995 plus another $700 for destination, this Jetta brings with it air conditioning; power windows, locks and mirrors; adjustable cloth front seats; split-folding rear seats; and an AM/FM/CD player with an auxiliary jack.
Opt up to the Jetta SE with the five-cylinder engine and VW adds on vinyl upholstery; iPod connectivity; satellite radio; Bluetooth; heated seats; a center console; cruise control; interior chrome-look trim; a locking glove box; and floor mats. A Convenience package adds in leather trim on the steering wheel and audio controls on it, too. We’d prefer the roller controls from other VW/Audi products, as these don’t control all the modes and functions of the upgraded audio systems. A Sunroof package adds touchscreen controls for the audio system and the retractable glass roof. (The TDI Jetta will be equipped like this version, adding in the DSG transmission and a navigation system as an option.)
The Jetta SEL bundles everything but the sunroof and touchscreen from other models, and piles on fog lamps; 17-inch wheels; rear disc brakes; pushbutton start and keyless entry. A sunroof and a Sport package with tighter suspension settings, grippy seats and metallic trim can be fitted on this version.
The SEL also adds a touchscreen navigation and audio system that does a fine job, though it’s not hooked into the Bluetooth wave as is Ford’s SYNC. Sound quality is above average, though the bass is flat and inarticulate. At least the system remembers your iPod settings so when you reconnect after Starbucks; fear not, you're still in "random" and "five star songs" mode.
Missing from this list, anywhere, are cloth seats on anything but the base car—and leather on any version. You can’t get hides on a $22,000 Jetta SEL, but it comes with a $19,000 Kia Forte.