Pros: Comfortable, efficient, safe and user-friendly
Cons: Lots of competition at this price point
It’s no secret that these are challenging times for German automaker Volkswagen. The dieselgate scandal likely will cost VW billons — that’s with a “B” — of dollars and years of litigation.
Cheap gas isn’t helping either, as right now VW sells mostly thrifty cars, not the big gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs and crossovers that Americans have the hots for. It’s hard to get sell fuel economy when gas is less that $2 a gallon.
Add it all up and, not surprisingly, VW sales in the United States are down 12.5 percent through the first three months of 2016, at a time when its VW Group ofAmerica siblings Audi (+4.6 percent) and Porsche (+7.1 percent) are turning in strong performances.
That said, if things like efficiency matter, VW remains a good choice.
And after spending a week behind the wheel of a 2016 VW Jetta 2.0T GLI SEL, it’s obvious to me that the German automaker is still churning out quality automobiles.
Let’s start with safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations gives the new Jetta a five-star safety rating, its highest overall vehicle rating. In individual categories, the NHTSA gives the Jetta five stars for side crash protection and four stars each for frontal crashes and rollovers.
Likewise, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the Jetta as a Top Safety Pick, with ratings of “Good” in five different measures of crashworthiness.
So far, so good.
From a mechanical perspective, this version of the Jetta is powered by VW’s well-proven 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which produces 210 horsepower and 207 lb.-ft. of torque.
That’s enough power to move the relatively light, 3,194-pound Jetta smartly down the road. It isn’t a sports car or a muscle car, certainly, but the Jetta isn’t a slug, either. Fuel economy is 24 miles per gallon city, 33 highway and 27 overall.
On lower trim models, a 1.4-liter, 150-horsepower turbo four in the powerplant of choice, with both manual and automatic transmissions, is available.
New this year is a comprehensive suite of connectivity features that allow users to connect to Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink.
More importantly, at least for a non-millennial guy like myself, the electronics in the Jetta are simple, intuitive and easy to use. This is a plug-and-play car. You won’t have to spend two weeks with the owner’s manual trying to decipher dense technospeak about how to operate the car.
The 6.3-inch touch screen that controls the major functions — navigation, audio and media — is much, much easier to use than those found in some pricier cars, including VW’s upscale cousins from Audi.
Note to other automakers: This is how cars are supposed to work. The 2016 Jetta earns high marks for marrying modern technology with ease of use. And trust me on this, you need both to be happy behind the wheel and you get it with the Jetta.
Some other features I liked: The trunk is cavernous, outward visibility is excellent and the upright seating position and firm seats made for a high level of comfort. All in all, this is a solid offering.
The biggest knock against the Jetta isn’t anything wrong with the car itself; no, it’s the dizzying amount of high-quality vehicles made by the competition at or near this size and price point.
VW’s done an admirable job with the Jetta, just as Chevrolet has done with the all-new Malibu, Honda has with the all-new Civic, Hyundai has with the Sonata and Kia has with the Optima, and the list goes on and on and on.
Tough to choose among so many good cars, but the Jetta definitely merits serious consideration.
Price as tested: $31,200
Body type: Front-engine, four-door midsized sedan
Engine: 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 104.4 inches
Length: 182.2 inches
Weight: 3,194 pounds
Combined mileage: 27 mpg
Article courtesy of: http://www.foxsports.com/motor/story/vw-2016-car-review-jetta-2-0t-gli-sel-041316