Don’t be fooled by the 2022 Volkswagen Jetta’s compact classification, it’s a surprisingly refined and roomy small car. While the VW appears rather reserved compared with rivals such as the flashy Hyundai Elantra, it rides with a notable level of quietness and smoothness. Under the hood is a 158-hp turbo four that’s not likely to thrill, but it can be paired with a manual transmission, which offers some extra engagement. Those who want a spicier driving experience will appreciate the Jetta GLI, which we review separately. The regular Jetta enjoys a roster of popular infotainment and active safety features, however, the most desirable content requires shelling out more coin. The 2022 Jetta might not be the enthusiast’s first choice, but it should still satisfy most everyone else.
What’s New for 2022?
For 2022, the Jetta gets a mild makeover that includes tweaked exterior styling, new standard and optional features, and an engine upgrade from the VW Taos subcompact SUV. Replacing the Jetta’s old 147-hp 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is a 158-hp 1.5-liter turbo four. The lineup also replaces the R-Line trim with a sportier Sport model. Along with its own distinctive styling, it rides on 17-inch wheels and includes an electronically locking front differential. The base S model now comes with more standard features, too, including an 8.0-inch fully digital gauge cluster and driver assists such as automated emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring. The 2022 Jetta is expected to go on sale sometime this fall.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Every Jetta powers the front wheels with a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 158 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The base model has a standard six-speed manual transmission, but an eight-speed automatic is optional. We haven’t had the opportunity to test the Jetta’s updated engine, but once we do, we can compare its acceleration times with the outgoing motor. While the sedan has a comfortable and quiet ride, its light steering is effortless but lacks a feeling of precision. Compared with rivals such as the Mazda 3 , the Jetta is rarely fun to zip around roundabouts and leans into sharp corners when moving above the posted speed limit. Still, its serene nature will satisfy those who want complacent transportation.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Volkswagen hasn’t released fuel-economy ratings for the 2022 Jetta’s new engine. Once those figures are released, and we have the opportunity to test one our 75-mph fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, we can evaluate its real-world mpg. For more information about the Jetta’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Inside, the Jetta provides a sophisticated design and generous passenger space. Although the available features become more desirable with each higher trim, every cabin caters to the driver and boasts excellent outward visibility. Top content such as customizable ambient interior lighting, wireless device charging, and ventilated front seats are reserved for the most expensive models. Surprisingly, the Jetta held more carry-on bags than the regular Golf hatchback. The sedan held seven bags in its trunk, compared with the five that fit behind the Golf’s rear seat. Likewise, the Jetta held three extra bags more than the Golf (18 total) with the back seats folded. The Jetta’s interior cubby storage includes useful door pockets and a deep center-console bin.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Every Jetta has a responsive touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. Along with traditional volume and tuning knobs, the Car-Net unit allows gesture controls for swiping and pinch-to-zoom. Likewise, every Jetta has a mobile hotspot as long as people are willing to pay for a subscription-based data plan. Wireless charging is standard on the top two trim levels.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Even the entry-level Jetta comes with a handful of standard driver-assistance technology, and upgraded equipment such as adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist are all available. For more information about the Jetta’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
- Available adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go technology