What kind of vehicle is the 2022 Volkswagen Jetta? What does it compare to?
Compact cars are the most affordable cars to own, and the refreshed 2022 Volkswagen Jetta makes no exception. The five-seat Jetta and its sporty GLI counterpart compete in a shrinking but value-loaded compact sedan class along with the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Mazda 3 and other imports. There’s not a bad one in the bunch, and this year the Jetta adds more standard safety and convenience features to stay competitive.
Is the 2022 Volkswagen Jetta a good car?
Review continues below
We won’t judge it until we drive it, but historically the Jetta is easy to overlook but never bad, like the sandwich shop at the food court. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
What’s new for the 2022 Volkswagen Jetta?
Not too much on the outside except new front and rear lower bumpers, as well as standard LEDs on the headlights, taillights, and daytime running lights. Inside features a standard 8.0-inch digital instrument cluster, contrast stitching on the doors and armrests, new cloth or leather seat patterns. VW swaps out engines for a 1.5-liter turbo-4 used in the VW Taos small crossover. A new Sport trim steps between the S and SE trims to add flair and fun on a budget, with 17-inch alloy wheels, an electronic limited-slip front differential, and black trim elements.
The 2022 Jetta is a button-down shirt best left untucked. Get it in the right color, and the crisp lines might pop, but it’s designed more to fit in than stand out. The lower front and rear bumpers flare out to the edges this year to add visual width for a sportier, untucked look. The GLI has wider dual exhaust pipes, and when equipped with the available Black Package with 18-inch black alloy wheels and a black roof, the GLI transforms the Jetta into the shirt that can be worn to the club.
Sedate defines the interior design of both models, but there’s an alluring strength to that understated quality. The most daring interior feature—haptic touch controls on the steering wheel—calls to the thumbs, not the eyes
The pokey 147-hp 1.4-liter turbo-4 from last year’s model has been replaced by a perkier 1.5-liter turbo-4 with an output of 158 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque that maxes out as early as 1,500 rpm. Expect to hit 60 mph in about eight seconds, downhill with the wind at your back. The same EA211 engine is used in the heavier 2022 Volkswagen Taos small crossover, but the Jetta pairs its efficiency with fun and either a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission. Only the Subaru WRX and Mazda 3 hatch can be had with a manual in this class.
The front-wheel drive Jetta rides on a front struts and a torsion-beam rear axle, but the new Sport model adds the equivalent of an electronic limited-slip differential that promises to ease the understeer endemic to front-drive cars.
For more sport (and more money), the 2022 GLI aims for the Honda Civic Si with a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that produces 228 hp and 258 lb-ft. The 6-speed manual comes standard, or a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic is available. VW says it can hit 60 mph in less than 6 seconds, and the independent rear suspension with adaptive dampers justify it being called the GTI with a trunk. It uses the outgoing Golf R’s brakes, but it’ll likely come up short of the new GTI on performance and price.
Whether driven for thrills or to chill, the 2022 Jetta comes with standard driver-assist features to avoid or mitigate impacts of a crash. Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and blind-spot monitors come standard, while adaptive cruise control and active lane control can be fitted even on the base S.
How much does the 2022 Volkswagen Jetta cost?
Volkswagen streamlined the trim lines to S, Sport, SE, and SEL for 2022, while the GLI offers a Black Package instead of trim levels.
The base S costs $21,190, including destination, with the manual transmission. The 8-speed automatic costs an extra $800. It comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, cloth seats, 8.0-inch digital instrument cluster, wi-fi capability (requires a subscription), and the safety features mentioned above. The cramped 6.5-inch touchscreen carries over, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Every Jetta comes with a solid 4-year/50,000-mile warranty with the first two years of maintenance included.
In addition to the performance upgrades, the loaded GLI comes in one trim, Autobahn, and costs $31,990 with the manual. Upgrading to the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic also costs $800. GLI has 18-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry and start, a 10.0-inch digital instrument cluster with dynamic views and bold 3D maps, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, BeatsAudio, wireless smartphone charging, leather seats, a 6-way power driver’s seat, heated and cooled front seats, a sunroof, and 10-color ambient lighting.
Where is the 2022 Volkswagen Jetta made?
The Jetta is built in Puebla, Mexico, alongside the Volkswagen Taos small crossover.