2016 volkswagen jetta Model Overview
New for 2016
A new 150-hp 1.4-liter turbo I-4 has been added as the base engine for the 2016 Volkswagen Jetta, replacing the aging 2.0-liter I-4. A new infotainment system with a 6.3-inch touchscreen has been added on all but the base models. New safety aids including adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and autonomous emergency braking have been added. Automatic post-collision braking has been added to all Jetta models.
The 2016 Volkswagen Jetta is a front-drive compact sedan that slots under the midsize Passat and CC. A hybrid powertrain is available.
Four powertrain choices are available in the 2016 Jetta including three gas engines and a hybrid.
Model: Jetta 1.4T
Engine and Transmission: Turbocharged 1.4-liter I-4 – five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission
Power: 150 hp/184 lb-ft of torque
EPA-Rated Fuel Economy:
Model: Jetta 1.8T
Engine and Transmission: Turbocharged 1.8-liter I-4 – five-speed manual or six-speed automatic
Power: 170 hp/184 lb-ft
EPA-Rated Fuel Economy: 25/37 mpg city/highway (manual), 25/36 mpg (automatic)
Model: Jetta GLI
Engine: Turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 – six-speed manual or dual-clutch automatic
Power: 210 hp/207 lb-ft
EPA-Rated Fuel Economy 23/33 mpg (manual), 24/33 mpg (automatic)
Model: Jetta Hybrid
Engine: turbocharged 1.4-liter I-4 paired to an electric motor – seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
Power: 170 hp/184 lb-ft
EPA-Rated Fuel Economy: 42/48 mpg
For a compact sedan, the Jetta has a large trunk with 15.5 cubic feet of space that can be expanded thanks to the 60/40 split-folding rear seats. The Jetta Hybrid has less trunk capacity at 11.3 cubic feet due to the extra powertrain components taking up extra space. Although Jetta TDI diesels have been sold for years, as a result of Volkswagen’s EPA emissions cheating scandal, the diesels are not currently certified for sale until a suitable fix is found.
Standard safety features include dual front, front-side, and side curtain airbags. SEL and SEL Premium models can be had with the Driver Assistance package, which adds adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, and blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert.
The NHTSA gave the 2016 Jetta a five-star overall safety rating (out of a possible five stars). In IIHS testing, the car received a Top Safety Pick+ award after it got a Good score in all five crash tests (Good is the highest possible score) and an Advanced rating in the front prevention evaluation after it reduced the impact of a 12-mph collision by 9 mph (front crash prevention ratings include Basic, Advanced, and Superior).
Trims, Packages, and What’s Standard
Base Jetta models come standard with a five-inch infotainment touchscreen, 15-inch steel wheels with wheel covers, cloth upholstery, and Bluetooth connectivity. The Technology package adds a rearview camera a larger touchscreen, and an adjustable armrest. SE models add 16-inch alloy wheels, keyless start, heated front seats, a larger 6.3-inch touchscreen and a sunroof. Sport models come with 17-inch alloy wheels, navigation, two-tone leatherette upholstery, a sport-tuned suspension, a rear spoiler, fog lights, and interior ambient lighting. Range-topping SEL variants come with navigation, 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, leatherette upholstery, and a Fender audio system.
The performance-oriented Jetta GLI comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, a sunroof, a rearview camera, a Fender audio system, keyless entry/start, a 6.3-inch infotainment touchscreen, and rain-sensing wipers. Stepping up to the SEL trim adds navigation, corner-illuminating fog lights, HID headlights, and blind spot warning.
Sold as a single fully-loaded model, the Jetta Hybrid comes standard with a sunroof, navigation, rear parking sensors, HID headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry/start, blind spot warning, and a rearview camera.
What We Think
In a 2015 First Drive review, we said that the 1.8-liter turbo-four performed respectably, staying well balanced through corners and accelerating relatively quickly. Additionally, the car’s interior is spacious, comfortable, and solid with good quality materials. Steering feel, as we noted in a 2014 First Test review, is communicative, which makes it more fun to drive than more pedestrian rivals like the Toyota Corolla and Nissan Sentra. However, on cars with the 16-inch alloy wheels, the car’s acceleration is held back by its ability to put power down through the thin 205/55/16 tires. In a comparison test that also included the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Mazda3, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte and Dodge Dart, the Jetta placed sixth because of its unintuitive infotainment system that makes even pairing your phone via Bluetooth a chore.
In a 2013 Jetta Hybrid First Test review, we said that it has the most insulated cabin in the Jetta range while the suspension is compliant. Compared to other hybrids like the Toyota Prius, the Jetta Hybrid is dynamically superior, offering good handling and confidence-inspiring steering. However, in EV mode, the car tends to stumble when moving from a stop but the transition between the electric motor and gas engine is smooth and nearly undetectable.
The performance-oriented Jetta GLI, as we discovered in a 2012 First Test review, is competent and fun to drive, offering a nice balance of ride comfort and confident handling. There’s also plenty of standard equipment on the range-topping trim level, which makes it a good value. However, the electronic nannies do tend to be intrusive on the track, which can hinder the GLI’s performance capabilities.
- Available as a hybrid
- Handles well
- Spacious interior and trunk
You Won’t Like:
- Hybrid isn’t available with a lower trim level
- Unintuitive infotainment system
- Electronic nannies can get overly intrusive