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SAFETY | 9 out of 10
Four stars overall; four stars front impact protection, five stars side impact protection, four stars rollover protection
Top Safety Pick
There's also no ESP-disable button.
The 2012 Volkswagen Jetta has been crash-tested by both the government and the insurance industry, and it's proven to be a strong performer.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) hasn't reconfirmed its scores for the wagon yet, but it's rated the Jetta sedan at four stars overall. That's a composite score of four stars for front impacts and rollover protection, and five stars for side impacts. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has even better news from its stringent tests: it's given both the Jetta sedan and SportWagen its Top Safety Pick award.
Six airbags are standard on every Jetta, including dual front, side and curtain airbags. So are stability control and anti-lock brakes; active headrests; and tire pressure monitors. The Jetta also features a crash-response system that turns off the fuel and turns on the flashers after an airbag deploys.
Visibility inside either version of the Jetta is fine. Big glass areas, low rear headrests and relatively tall C-pillars stay mostly out of the way. But unlike some competitively priced mid-size and compact sedans, the Jetta doesn't offer a rearview camera, blind-spot detectors, or parking sensors, even as options.
The 2012 VW Jetta doesn't have some of the latest safety gadgets, but crash-test scores are strong.