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2011 VW Jetta spotted on the lot

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Drove through the VW dealer lot today by the mall. Was there literally two days ago, I swore I did not see the new 011 Jettas!

After seeing an ad in the paper saying as much, and checking online inventory, indeed they had 2011 Jettas! A slew of them.

I drove right by them the other day and did not notice, but went there again today, and yes they do exist!.

HMMMMMM.....how's that for a first impression.


this is like one of those unboxing a cell phone videos. There is not much meat other than just a first sort of thought on the presentation.

So I did not get to sit inside one.

But here goes....

exterior. BLAND, however......tidy. Balanced, inoffensive, good paint quality and finish. I think it projects a decently upscale image even though the grille design is pretty much unspectacular. The front end at least looks semi expensive. Overall, it does feel either 80's or 90's in style and I just can't put my finger on which it should be.

I actually sort of do think the design will hold for a few years and not go out of date, that is how middle of the road it is. Almost like if a grade schooler caricatured a sedan this is what it would look like.

Probably the best thing to say is looks safe, and it looks better than a Corolla or a silly Civic. It would be nice to see it beside a Cruze.

Yes, I would actually drive one except that.....(disclaimers coming later).

They had a good representation of the models. The chintzy base, the S, the SE, the SEL.

So let's look inside.

This is where price becomes important.

It's been ripped already for having 'cheap plastic'. I am not sure GM car fans and owners have a typical right to be able to criticize other cars as having cheap plastic, but I know at least on the door panels it looked about as cheap as the Kia Sportage I drove yesterday, or maybe even a little bit cheaper. At least the middle door insert I am talking about.

I really is impossible to make a final judgment on the upper part of the dash without getting inside. From behind the glass, it looks like the verdict could go either way. VW was really lauded for great plastic for awhile, but I never got a huge chubby over the inside even of the last gen Jetta. The new Golf has a pretty nice interior when trimmed up, but trim does make a difference.

About the best I could say is that it maybe looked a little suspect in terms of it being hard. There really did not appear to have any quality issues, like mold lines or big gaps. On the upper trims with the leatherette and lighter color it looked pretty harmonious. The cloth looks drab but the vinyl looks consistent with all the prior VW vinyl in the Jetta.

The base steering wheel looks cheap. No trim, no controls, looks CHEAP. The lower models without the armrest it looks CHEAP to not have it. Who is going to be happy with this?

radio buttons and climate control buttons were a nice design but the whole thing blends in so much and is so vanilla, I just don't know what to think.

At this time, I probably fall into the category of that the VW fanbois probably might notice a downgrade or will be unhappy with the blandness....those casually acquainted with or new to the brand may not have criticisms. It still looks way better than your average Chrysler, for example. It's tidy and new!

Leg room is vastly improved by sight in the back, but if the car is not as wide as the midsizers, and the price is the same (or more), I am not sure what VW is trying to accomplish here. Expanding the rear leg room turns this car into a 'tweener' I think.

I think the exterior presents the car better than the interior. I gotta get inside the thing. But you can almost hear the conversation or the marching orders.....

'We want VW's version of the Corolla'. 'We still want it to look like a typical VW, but we want it to seem -approachable- and -not overpriced-.

I get the feeling VW's manufacturing team was charged with walking the tightrope between making the car feel too expensive and making it feel cheap like an Asian car.

If that was the case, I would have to say they succeeded with big precision. Again, I need to get inside.

Maybe VW DOES need to lose the yuppie / whitey car stigma and go more populist and slum it a bit in order to get all these new customers they want. They still want to appear a little better than the Asian counterparts, but don't want to feel out of place in the company of them. It also gives me a sort of late nineties Accord vibe too. Can't put my finger on it.

Real truth is, the exterior styling in no way holds back the car and in fact I am guessing its an asset for a lot of buyers.

As for the inside, it will depend on who notices, or if anyone notices anything got decontented.

VW was already advertising low down payment leases for 169/mo on these so we know they are looking to force them into service liberally (I am sure that was an S or a base).

Presentation wise, I doubt there is anything holding back this car badly. Myself I wouldn't get one over many of the midsizers. But if you are looking at a Kia Forte for example, this car will on the surface appear to look one step above.

I'll be real curious to see this car and the Cruze side by side. Initial reports make the Cruze out to have a nicer inside. I hope that is true.

I dislike VW's powertrains on this car. None of them appeal to me. The base sucks, the 5 cylinder I don't want, the diesel I don't want.

VW would have been best suited here with a simple 2 litre 150hp engine with good FE. Funny how a car intended to bust the door open on volume has such bizarre engine options.

Maybe if I said that the Jetta would be what would happen if Ikea made a car. Kinda stylish, not too pricey, easy to buy.

Edited by regfootball

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The people who can barely afford $169 for a dresser from Ikea are the target market. Young, fabulous, and fabulously broke. $128,000 In debt with student loans and making 26K a year....sharing an aprtment with four friends...and about to be laid off.

VW knows their target market well.

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lol! they will LOVE this vehicle! you hit it totally on the head! I think Dan Neil nailed it on the head too. Fabulous at the time of sale.

VW needs to get their $h! together under the hood.

honestly, the exterior on the car = totally fine (even though its bland it looks more expensive than the bulk of the competition).

the interior = good enough to sell the vehicle to most people. how it wears over time is a different story.

when GM was doing bad interiors, it wasn't just crap plastic, it was everything they were doing bad. interior design, quality control, panel gaps, switches and controls, cheap gauge faces, crap seats.......

just judging from the looks, most everything should be fine inside that new Jetta, the exception is the plastic probably should have been nicer and some of the touch points should be nicer. Base steering wheel should be less obviously cheap too. gauges, switches, buttons, controls, while generic and bland look decent and high enough quality. can't wait to get inside.

The people who can barely afford $169 for a dresser from Ikea are the target market. Young, fabulous, and fabulously broke. $128,000 In debt with student loans and making 26K a year....sharing an aprtment with four friends...and about to be laid off.

VW knows their target market well.

you forgot, they own a macbook and an iphone too.

cruze looks like a more upbeat car overall. seeing the jetta REALLY makes me want to see the new Focus.

Edited by regfootball

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