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FEATURES | 8 out of 10
The base Jetta S …is the only Jetta model that comes with cloth seats.
VW insists that its "leatherette" (textured vinyl), perforated to let your backside breathe, is just as handsome and comfortable. It did seem more than OK in our drives.
…we saddled up in an SEL-spec (with sunroof) tester…Keep your hands off the dash and on the wheel, and the experience is remarkably more pleasant, but at $23,395, it better be.
There appears to be no option for an upgraded stereo system, HID xenon headlights, or leather seats -- although the leatherette on the SE and SEL models is very nice.
Volkswagen's raised the base price of the 2012 Jetta sedan for the new model year, and added more features in new trim levels, while the SportWagen continues on with just a few minor changes, at a price point significantly higher than the base sedan.
All Jetta S sedans come standard with the 115-horsepower four, and five-speed manual, along with power windows, locks and mirrors; an AM/FM/CD player with an auxiliary jack; and air conditioning. An automatic transmission is an option, as is a package with a sunroof; a front center console; and cruise control.
The Jetta SE upgrades to the five-cylinder engine and adds vinyl upholstery; heated seats; satellite radio; iPod connectivity; Bluetooth; a center console; cruise control; a locking glove box; and floor mats. Leather trim on the steering wheel and audio controls on it come with a Convenience package. The controls are rocker-style switches; we prefer the roller controls from other VW/Audi products, but these controls at least operate the track functions for the Jetta's Bluetooth streaming audio. A Sunroof package adds touchscreen controls for the audio system and the retractable glass roof.
Jetta TDI sedans are equipped like the SE, adding in the dual-clutch transmission and a touchscreen navigation system as an option.
The Jetta SEL takes the SE's standard equipment and adds 17-inch wheels; rear disc brakes; fog lamps; pushbutton start and keyless entry. New this year, standard Fender audio blends 400 watts of power, a subwoofer and Panasonic speakers into a warm, midtone-heavy sound package that's powerful enough to rattle the Jetta's rear package shelf. (The Fender system's an option on the TDI, too.) A Sport package with tighter suspension settings, grippy seats and metallic trim can be ordered on this version, as can a sunroof.On the new top Jetta, the GLI, the standard gear starts with a turbocharged four-cylinder and six-speed manual, with an option for VW's excellent DSG transmission with paddle controls. Standard features include sport bucket seats with red stitching; a flat-bottom steering wheel with red details; aluminum pedals and interior trim; red brake calipers; fog lamps; and 17-inch wheels. Options include two styles of 18-inch wheels; a sunroof; dual-zone automatic climate control; heated seats; and Fender audio.
The most expensive Jetta GLI sedan with navigation is priced at just over $27,000, including destination. At that price, it's still not offered with leather seating, or even a cloth-seat option.The Jetta SportWagen, on its distinct platform, is sold in fewer trim packages. For a base price of just under $20,000, the wagon comes with 16-inch wheels and all-season tires; power windows, locks and mirrors; air conditioning; cruise control; tilt/telescope steering; Bluetooth; power front seats; an AM/FM/CD player with an auxiliary jack; and a trip computer. Options on the gas-engined wagon include a sunroof and 17-inch wheels; the TDI gets the same options and additionally, a touchscreen navigation system, keyless entry and pushbutton start.
A new Fender audio system brings warm, clean sound to top models of the 2012 VW Jetta; to get navigation, you'll have to buy a GLI or a TDI.