Table of Contents
2024 VW Jetta SEL: Review, Specs, & Interior – The front-wheel-drive Jetta sedan is widely regarded as one of the greatest small cars now available on the market. Its exhilarating driving dynamics have earned it the nickname “the Volkswagen Golf with a trunk.” In addition to this, it is in excellent company, since its performance is comparable to that of other vehicles that are both newer and more powerful, such as the Honda Civic and the Mazda 3, both of which feature all-wheel drive.
The Jetta’s nimble handling and 158-horsepower turbocharged inline-four engine makes using the engine’s power a pleasurable experience. Turn to the 228-horsepower Jetta GLI, which was evaluated on its own, for more power and performance. The Jetta is equipped with a manual gearbox that has six gears as standard, but for a few hundred dollars more, buyers may upgrade to an automatic transmission that has eight gears. We would be remiss if we didn’t note that the most recent Jetta we drove earned an astounding 42 mpg on our real-world 75 mph highway fuel-economy test. The Jetta’s interior is filled with standard safety equipment and a number of superb multimedia capabilities.
The style of the Jetta had a significant update the year before last, but unless you are a true VW-phile with good eyes, it will be difficult for you to pinpoint precisely what was done differently. This is a pretty conservative design, much as Jettas have been for the past decade or so, and it appears a touch boring when compared to the more modern and daring style of the Civic and the more aggressive designs of the current Corolla, Elantra, and Kia Forte. The competition in this category is still won by the curvaceous lines of the Mazda.
The inside helps make up for some of the drab exteriors in terms of appearance. The cabin has a quality look and feel to it, which is consistent with a more affordable Audi A3, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, Hyundai, Honda, and notably Mazda continue to provide finer interiors in terms of design. The materials used in the Honda, however, are not nearly as excellent as those used in the Jetta.
The trunk space offered by the Volkswagen Jetta comes in at 14.1 cubic feet, which is just a hair less than what is offered by the Nissan Sentra (14.3), the Hyundai Elantra (14.2), and the category-leading Forte sedan (15.3). The Corolla comes in last with a score of 13.1. Both the Civic and the Mazda3 are available as hatchbacks, which provide much greater space for luggage. The hatchback version of the Civic has a load capacity of 24.5 cubic feet. The single body style available for the 2024 Subaru Impreza is a hatchback, which has a maximum cargo capacity of 20.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 56.0 cubic feet when those seats are folded down.
The Jetta’s interior has a feeling of high-end luxury, especially in its higher trim levels. Even in its most basic configuration, the materials are of satisfactory quality, and the assembly and finishing are well carried out. The newly standard digital cockpit as well as the redesigned steering wheel, which is shared with the Taos, both contribute to the interior having a more sophisticated feel than the ones found in the Forte or the Corolla.
Passengers in the front seats have plenty of legroom and headroom, but the rear seat is where these kinds of compact vehicles really shine or fail to shine. The legroom for passengers in the back seats is substantial, measuring 37.4 inches. That matches the score of the Civic sedan and comes very close to matching Elantra’s class-leading 38 points. The Corolla comes in last place with a rear legroom measurement of 34.8 inches for its sedan model, and its hatchback model is much worse with a measurement of only 29.9, which is a restriction that prevents some adults from being able to sit in the back.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) both gave the Jetta a rating of five stars overall and a series of “Good” ratings. However, the IIHS did not give the Jetta the “top safety pick” distinction. Although the Jetta received a significant boost with the introduction of frontal collision warnings, automatic emergency braking, and blind spot monitoring as standard equipment, these features are still not as advanced as those found in the Honda Civic and the Subaru Impreza.
If the IQ.SAFETY suite, which includes lane assist, front assist, adaptive cruise control, active blind spot monitoring, rear traffic alert, emergency help, and travel assist, were standard equipment, the Jetta’s ranking in this category would increase. At the moment, it is not even an available option on the S model’s basic trim, and it is only available on the Jetta Sport as an expensive add-on option. Particularly noteworthy is the fact that it is available on manual Sport variants, which is not often the case on other cars with manual transmissions.
The cabin of the Jetta is characterized by an elegant design and a spacious feel for its occupants. Although the available amenities get more appealing with each higher trim level, every cabin caters to the driver and offers good outward sight. This is true even if the available features become more desired with each higher trim level. The most costly variants are the only ones that come with premium features including a programmable ambient lighting system, wireless charging for electronic devices, and front seats with ventilation.
Unexpectedly, the Jetta has a larger capacity for carry-on luggage than the standard Golf hatchback. The trunk of the sedan had enough for seven pieces of luggage, in contrast to the Golf’s back seat area, which could only accommodate five bags. When both sets of rear seats were folded down, the Jetta had a total capacity of 18 bags, which was three more than the Golf. The Jetta’s cabin has plenty of cubby storage space, including convenient door pockets and a large bin located in the center console.
Every Jetta comes standard with a user-friendly touchscreen infotainment system that is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Car-Net device has conventional volume and tuning knobs in addition to gesture controls such as swiping and pinching to zoom in and out of content. In a similar vein, every Volkswagen Jetta comes equipped with a mobile hotspot for those who are prepared to pay for a data plan that is based on a subscription. The top two trim levels both come equipped with wireless charging capabilities.
As soon as you step into the 2023 Volkswagen Jetta, you are greeted with an elegant cabin. When the temperature outside begins to drop, you and your co-pilot will be glad that the front seats are heated. The Volkswagen Digital Cockpit’s 8-inch display makes it easy to keep tabs on all the latest vehicle information. Additional interior and technological elements for the 2023 Volkswagen Jetta include the following:
Seating surfaces may be made of cloth, V-Tex leatherette, or leather.
- Leather upholstery on the steering wheel
- 6.5-inch touchscreen information and entertainment system
- AM/FM radio
- Streaming of music through Bluetooth® and App-Connect
- Keyless entry and a start button are standard features.
- Remote engine start
- Available touchscreen information and entertainment system measuring eight inches
- App-Connect wireless connectivity is also available, as is a BeatsAudio® sound system, and a 10.25-inch display. Volkswagen Digital Cockpit Pro
The front wheels of every Jetta are driven by a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. This engine is capable of producing 158 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The basic model comes with a manual gearbox that has six speeds as standard, while an automatic transmission with eight speeds is available as an option. Our latest automatic Jetta test car achieved 60 miles per hour in 7.1 seconds, which is 0.6 seconds quicker than the last automatic Jetta that we evaluated on our test track.
The Jetta’s performance up to a quarter mile is mostly unaffected when driven manually, and it reaches 100 miles per hour 0.6 seconds sooner than when driven by an eight-speed automatic transmission. The sedan has a smooth and quiet ride, but the steering is quite light and easy, and it doesn’t have the impression of accuracy that other vehicles have. while compared to competitors like the Mazda 3, the Jetta is not a roundabout racer; nonetheless, while traveling at speeds that are more than the legal speed limit, it leans into sharp bends. However, the calm atmosphere it exudes will appeal to those looking for a stress-free mode of transportation.
During our test of fuel efficiency at 75 miles per hour, a six-speed manual transmission helped the Volkswagen Jetta get an astounding 44 miles per gallon, which was better than the EPA’s estimate. During our test on the freeway, the Jetta achieved an excellent 42 miles per gallon of fuel economy when equipped with the eight-speed automatic transmission.
The EPA ratings for new Jettas equipped with either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic gearbox vary just a little from one another. However, the standard automatic transmission is the most efficient, with an estimated 31 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway. The EPA gives Jettas with three pedals a rating of 29 mpg in the city and 42 mpg on the highway. Due to the fact that they have significantly different equipment, the Jetta Sport, SE, and 2024 VW Jetta SEL trims have slightly lower ratings, with an EPA-estimated 29 mpg for city driving and 40 mpg for cruising on the highway.