Review: When sedans become rare, Volkswagen believes in a Jetta

Review: When sedans become rare, Volkswagen believes in a Jetta

Volkswagen Jetta 2022.Emily Atkins/The Globe and Mail

In a world where most drivers choose SUVs over sedans, Volkswagen has recommitted to the Jetta. The 2022 compact sedan has been updated with a new design and new engine for the three TSI models.

Although the company has reduced its base production Golf hatchback, essentially replacing it with the Taos compact SUV, the Jetta remains. Volkswagen says the comfortable, fuel-efficient long-distance cruiser has been a popular model since it was introduced in Canada in 1980.

Golf was also popular, so why did one go and the other refreshed? It’s an economic issue, said Patrick Danielson, director of product planning at Volkswagen Canada. Jetta sales are up 19 percent in 2021. The car took a seven percent share of the 172,000 compact sedans sold in Canada last year, but it sold more than competitors including the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra and Kia Forte.

We don’t compromise on cars,” said Thomas Tetzlaff, director of public relations for Volkswagen Canada. “The public told us the golf cars they wanted were the GTI and the R, and that’s what they’re going to get.”

Review: The 2022 Volkswagen Golf R is a polished gem, even as Volkswagen drops base Golfs for SUVs

Jetta has a long history, with 40 years in Canada. It was introduced after the original golf game became popular. It was a “Golf with a box,” Danielson said, and the GLI Sport version was based on the Golf GTI.

Gita has always been asleep. With its elegant styling and strict interiors, it didn’t look like much, but fans have long known that it’s the most affordable German sedan on the market. In fact, with a starting price of $22,895, it’s less expensive than many of its Japanese competitors.

Now in its seventh generation – the Mk7 in VW-Speak – the Jetta is available in four models, Trendline, Comfortline, Highline and GLI and with a manual transmission option, in all but the Highline. “We still believe in cars…and we believe in manual transmissions,” Tzlaf said.

The update gives a sleeker, cleaner look and adds new technology to the Jetta. The new 1.5-liter engine in the lower trims is the same as that used on the Taos, and replaces the 1.4-liter. The new engine generates 158 horsepower, 11 more than before. Volkswagen has also added an optional Sport Package on its mid-level Comfort line, with larger wheels, a sporty suspension and unique decorative elements.

Volkswagen said the car is aimed at affluent suburban couples in their early forties, without children and a “sober” lifestyle. They care about the car for its performance, the fun factor in its driving, handling and riding.

They should be happy with what they find. Both the GLI and Trendline models we tested were easy and comfortable to drive. The controls are in the right places, connectivity is simple, visibility is great and both have excellent braking and safety features.

In the GLI, the larger 2-liter engine delivers satisfying throttle response, and smooth control through corners. It certainly has that stealthy sports sedan atmosphere that old-school Jetta fans will appreciate.

The less powerful Highline is a comfortable highway cruiser or grocer. With not a lot of torque and a little deceleration off the mark, it’s the quiet, understated sibling.

But Tetzlaff noted that the demographic looking to buy a Jetta likes the quieter vibe offered by the 1.5-liter models. He said the GLI’s sporty look is “too shiny” to some, which makes a regular Jetta a perfect fit.

The smaller engine also offers better fuel economy, something that has been on the minds of buyers lately. Additionally, the good news in this market is that there are quite a few Jettas available at a lot of dealers across the country.

For anyone – whether demure lifestyle or not – looking for an affordable, comfortable, well-designed sedan with German engineering and a stealthy line, the Jetta is worth a try.

The smaller Jetta engine also offers better fuel economy, which has been on the minds of many consumers with higher gas prices.Emily Atkins/The Globe and Mail

Technical Specifications

  • Base Price / As tested: $22895 / $29,895 Highline; GLI $31895
  • engine: 1.5 liter four-cylinder turbo engine / two-liter four-cylinder turbo engine
  • Transmission: Eight-speed automatic / six-speed manual
  • fuel economy: (liters per 100 kilometers, combined): 6.9 / 7.9
  • Alternatives: Toyota Corolla, Mazda 3, Kia Forte


The update brought a sportier look to the GLI and updated details over other models. It has come a long way from the obscure and out of style of the old Jetta. She might even collect some appreciative looks from passersby.

the interior

It’s still low-key, but the Jetta’s interior is well above its price point. Details such as the contrasting dot leather on the GLI and the two-tone seats in Trendline give the car the sophistication befitting a German sedan. The seats are comfortable and the back is spacious with heated rear seats.


The GLI Sport has plenty of grunt and is the way to go if you’re looking for a lively cruiser. If you want a quiet and compliant ride, one of the other three models is the way to go.

The larger 2-liter engine delivers satisfying throttle response, and smooth handling in corners.Emily Atkins/The Globe and Mail


The Jetta comes with Android and Apple wireless connectivity. This update also added the digital instrument cluster, which allows the driver to customize his display for vital functions such as speed, navigation, fuel economy, media and more.


The trunk of a Jetta is cavernous for a car of its size. With the seats folded down, the space expands to allow bulky items or even flat-packed furniture to be moved with ease.

The Jetta’s rear seats can be folded down to provide more cargo space.Emily Atkins/The Globe and Mail


Still a ghostly European sedan, the Jetta is a testament to Volkswagen’s ability to build quality, practical cars. And the fact that the Jetta is in fact a car that VW remains committed to producing may be the most remarkable thing about it.

The writer was a guest on the automaker. The content was not subject to approval.

Shopping for a new car? Check out what’s new Globe Drive build and price A tool to see the latest discounts, discounts and prices on new cars, trucks and SUVs. click here to get your price.

2022-05-06 18:09:38

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.