Volkswagen has bold ambitions to dramatically increase its sales and market share in the US, and Jetta is one of the current weapons.

The 2011 Jetta rides on a longer wheelbase than the outgoing 2010 model, and its overall length is increased by 3.5 inches. About an inch wider and shorter, the new car has a different visual presence, and its interior claims a noticeable gain in legroom.

The survey, conducted in the April edition of the magazine, covered 11 small sedans. According to the magazine, in order to bring the Jetta’s starting price down, the carmaker had compromised on the quality of the interior and the suspension.

“The new Jetta is unimpressive,” said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center. “In an effort to bring the car’s starting price down, VW cheapened the previous Jetta’s interior and suspension, making it less sophisticated and compromising handling.”

Consumer Reports called the Jetta “a shadow of the agile, well-finished car it once was,” said the 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine is “coarse-sounding,” and that the six-speed automatic “can be slow to respond.”
In Europe, the Jetta is more upscale, albeit costlier, with a sophisticated four-link rear suspension system not offered in the United States.

The four-vehicle small sedan test group also featured two versions of the new Chevrolet Cruze — which Consumer Reports found light-years ahead of the crude Chevrolet Cobalt that it replaced — and the latest generation Hyundai Elantra. Elantra was the overall winner with CR’s official recommendation.


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