Although its turbodiesels are now off the market, the 2016 VW Jetta still offers a fuel-efficient hybrid model and a variety of gasoline engines too, some relatively efficient. Every gasoline engine in every Jetta is now turbocharged, and mileage ratings for gasoline models have risen from the car's earlier years.
The Jetta Hybrid is the most fuel-sipping model, though VW doesn't seem to be making a great effort to promote it and it's rare at dealers. The hybrid 1.4-liter inline-4 and 7-speed dual-clutch transmission put it at a sky-high 42 mpg city, 48 highway, 44 combined, according to the EPA. That's only 20 percent lower than the new Toyota Prius. That number may be difficult to extract, however, depending on driving conditions, so we'd peg real-world numbers at 40 to 44 mpg.
For the rest of the lineup, VW's ancient 2.0-liter base engine has finally given way to a new, modern 1.4-liter turbocharged inline-4 that comes with either a 5-speed manual gearbox or a 6-speed automatic. It's the same engine used in the Jetta Hybrid—minus the hybrid hardware—and it boosts the base cars to 28/40/33 mpg for the manual and 28/39/32 mpg for the automatic.
The turbocharged 1.8-liter is the mid-range engine option between the 1.4-liter four and 2.0-liter four, and its mileage is predictably mid-range. The EPA rates that engine at 25/37/29 mpg with a 5-speed manual, and 25/36/29 mpg with a 6-speed automatic.
The Jetta GLI uses a turbo 2.0-liter four—the 210-hp hot rod of the group—that returns 24/33/27 mpg when equipped with an automatic transmission. That's a rating closer to those of mid-size sedans than this compact, no matter how sporty.