In North America, Volkswagen
has always had a rather strong cult following, albiet with a somewhat soft mass market appeal. But with designs on becoming the world's largest automotive manufacturer by 2018, the VW Group needs more attractive cars that also offer something different than the average transportation appliance. Enter the totally new 2011 Volkswagen Jetta
No longer a VOLKSWAGEN GOLF
with a growth, the VOLKSWAGEN Jetta
is larger, sleeker and in several senses of the word, cheaper, than the car it replaces. VW intended this car to be a North American success from the outset, and so far, the signs are encouraging -- VOLKSWAGEN Jetta
sales are surging at the end of 2010.
The new VOLKSWAGEN Jetta
represents a bit of a flashback for VW. The car not only returns to some past technology, but also returns to the value based feel that VW moved away from over that past 18 years, starting with the MK3 cars in 1993. If you took this car back to 1992 and gave it to a VW fan from that time period, they'd probably feel right at home. That isn't to say the 2011 VOLKSWAGEN Jetta
feels outdated; it just feels like a direct descendant of one of those cars as opposed to a continuation of the softer, more isolated, outgoing MK5 Jetta.
The interior of the new VOLKSWAGEN Jetta
has been one of the sticking points for most VW enthusiasts and automotive media alike. While the new car features the comfort and ergonomics of past Jettas, it falls down some in other areas. Like many of its rivals, the new VOLKSWAGEN Jetta
now has a hard plastic dash, with matching hard plastic door panels. Fervent VW fans will likely find the changes unappealing, but the new buyers the brand is looking to attract will probably never notice.
The new Jetta's sheetmetal has also suffered from its share of criticism, a design penned under the direction of VW Group design chief Walter de' Silva. His signature look first achieved mainstream notoriety in 2004 on the Audi A6
and has included such recent design icons as the Audi A5
, R8, and TT as well as the VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT
CC and VOLKSWAGEN SCIROCCO
to name a few. While the base model looks a little lackluster with 15-inch wheel covers and black side mirrors, the higher spec models with 17-inch wheels and chrome trim have a classy if understated look.